Melissa Harris-Perry | July 01, 2012
>>> wednesday is the 4th of july . grilling over an open flame, fireworks in the summer sky. patriotic parades down main street usa , and one overriding theme. freedom. but independence day is ? morass pa -- more aspirational than actual. we have longed for a car to take the vacation in and if we measure the dream by acquisitions, we're this trouble. national unemployment remains above 8%. wages have dropped, and the?i median net worth of american families plummeted by almost 40%. financial security is important, but it's only an outward manifestation of the american dream . freedom itself is both more elusive and complicated. our founding is not an acquisition and merger story, at least not solely that, our founding is an unlikely narrative of young men, so inspired by an age of ideas that they threw off the yoke of colonialism and founded a free nation . men who were embarrassingly imperfect. the land on which they formed this union was stolen. the hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. the women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class, but all of this is our story, each of us benefits from the residuals of oppression and each of success harmed by the realities of inequality. this is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we've torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it but it's ours, all of it. the genocide and the slavery but also the hope and the belief that best days lie ahead of us. the favorite independence day story this week is about a group that is not technically ?free. a class of 27 inmates who received their geds tuesday at the correctional facility on rikers island . they hold fast to the optimistic belief that education, hard work and second chances are the stuff of america. and that they have a right to take part in the dream. of the graduation, corrections department commissioner said we are about rebuilding the past and building futures. so on the 4th of july , i'm going to think of the rikers island graduates, and i'm going to wave a flag without hesitation, not because i've forgotten my nation's many wrongs, because i remember them. and i am nonetheless proud of my country, not because of perfection, because the alter alternative is too graeme. all deserve freedom, and all have the right to pursue happiness. that is a dream worth celebrating, with fireworks and that's our show for today. thank you to karen finney, katina vanden heuvel and igor volsley. coming up, "weekends with alex witt ."