Independence Day Event
Ambassador Brewer Remarks
Thursday, June 16, 2022
Please allow me to pay my respects to:
His Majesty King Letsie III,
The Right Honorable the Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro,
Honorable President of the Senate,
Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly,
His Lordship the Chief Justice,
Honorable Deputy Prime Minister,
Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers, in particular the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Honorable Matsepo Molise – Ramakoae
His Lordship the President of the Court of Appeal,
Honorable Members of the Council of State,
Honorable Leader of the Opposition in Parliament,
Their Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations,
Honorable Members of the Senate and the National Assembly
Senior Government Officials,
Members of the Private Sector,
All protocols observed.
I welcome you all, our friends and colleagues, in joining us to celebrate America’s Independence Day.
It is right that, as close friends and strong partners, we celebrate together.
We are also joined by many of our diplomatic colleagues and development partners.
It is fitting that we also celebrate together, for we share a common vision for why we are in Lesotho – and that is to help the citizens of the Mountain Kingdom build a brighter future.
As the United States Ambassador, I represent my government’s strong interest in Lesotho’s future.
It is with true pride that Mark and Arina and I welcome you to our home for our national day celebration.
Soon, Americans will mark the 246th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence – my country’s first step toward freedom and democracy for our people.
Citizens of the United States revere the Declaration – for it establishes what independence means to an American.
- unalienable rights,
- life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and
- government powers derived by the consent of the governed.
These concepts form our essence – and they are as real today as they were 246 years ago.
We firmly believe that from freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, spring the dynamism and economic activity that can develop a nation, alongside the political and social stability that will secure it.
That is what we celebrate each year on America’s Independence Day.
Following our War for Independence, the founding fathers brought forth in 1787 our Constitution, as our legal and institutional foundation.
A broad and historic document revered by Americans and respected throughout the world, it is considered a model of self-government and the rule of law.
I want to highlight just a few words from its preamble.
Elaborating on the more specific objectives of justice, tranquility, defense, welfare, and liberty, the founders stated the broader aim was “to form a more perfect union.”
“In order to form a more perfect union. . .”
That was the goal of the founders, and that has remained the goal of Americans for over two and a half centuries.
It was not a statement of fact, and they were not claiming that the America of 1787 was perfect.
It was an aspiration.
Over two centuries later, America’s aim to form a more perfect union remains an aspiration.
We are far from perfect.
Cruelty, exploitation, inequity, and the violence of a nation insufficiently at peace with itself, stain the American fabric.
And yet, we continue to strive to form a more perfect union.
We recognize and teach our history, the good and the bad, hard as it may be sometimes.
When needed, we adjust our legal frameworks and societal norms, slow as that progress may be.
We continue to grow as a nation, welcoming others from across the globe, to join us in patching together the quilt that is America, even when that welcome seems overwhelmed with unmanageable demand.
Even with the challenges Americans have faced over our history. Even with the challenges we face today – and you can turn on the news to see them.
What keeps Americans focused on that more perfect union?
To answer that, I will point to three other words that are also lodged deep in the American soul.
They’re right here, on the front of the podium, on the Great Seal of the United States.
E Pluribus Unum.
Out of many, one.
We are one people, and one nation, built by those who came to America, from all over the world, striving together to build a more perfect union.
While our history lays bare our flaws, we learn from our past and we grow.
We struggle for improvement.
Yet, we still, and always will, aspire to be a more perfect union.
In that regard, today, we are not only celebrating America’s independence.
Indeed, ours is a nation built by those who chose to come to America.
It is also a nation built by those who did not choose to come to America, those who were cruelly uprooted from their communities in Africa, and viciously exploited, enslaved, and treated as less than human.
We fought a horrific civil war to end that terrible and inhumane system.
And it did end.
In three days, on June 19th, Americans will celebrate a federal holiday known as Juneteenth.
It is the day, on which we recognize the actual emancipation of enslaved African Americans.
We have made this a dual celebration – one for America’s independence and one for the emancipation of African Americans, without which America could never be truly free.
So yes, we are an imperfect nation. Tremendous challenges lay ahead.
But Americans are firm in their vision that a brighter future is on the horizon. Indeed, and hopefully, a more perfect union.
As Americans strive for a brighter future, so too do the citizens of Lesotho.
And I am proud that the United States is one of Lesotho’s oldest partners in achieving that future.
Together, we have already met with great success. That record will endure.
Our partnership rests on a rock-solid foundation of mutual respect and a common vision that Lesotho’s brighter future can be achieved through strong and sustainable democratic institutions, accountable and capable security services, economic opportunity available to everyone, free of corruption, and a population free from devastating health challenges.
In each of these areas, the United States stands with Lesotho – with the people and with the government.
Through the past and forthcoming Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts, a total U.S. Government investment of more than 600 million U.S. dollars, we stand with Lesotho.
Through the more than 15-year partnership under the PEPFAR program that has achieved historic success in reversing the devastation of HIV/AIDS, we stand with Lesotho.
Through the opportunity for economic growth through AGOA trade preferences and support for rural agricultural development, we stand with Lesotho.
Through the Peace Corps Volunteers who have shared their expertise and built lifelong relationships in communities across the Mountain Kingdom for over 50 years, we stand with Lesotho.
Through training and support under a growing law enforcement partnership with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, we stand with Lesotho.
Through our constant support and encouragement for the conduct of free and fair elections in October, one that is free of violence and reflects the genuine will of its citizens, we stand with Lesotho.
In all these areas, the United States stands side-by-side with Lesotho.
As friends and partners, we will continue to encourage change where we believe it serves the interests of the citizens of Lesotho.
- passing the Laws of Lerotholi Amendment bill to advance women’s economic rights and implementing the anti-Gender Based Violence Bill,
- holding security services accountable for extralegal and violent enforcement actions,
- expediting the passage and implementation of the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution Bill,
- helping the government reverse alarming health trends in basic reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health,
- supporting freedom of the press with journalists free of explicit or implicit threats from the powerful, and
- supporting the government’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons.
Most often, in these and other areas, our two governments are in close agreement in pressing for opportunities for positive change.
I will repeat.
Ours is a partnership built on mutual respect and a common vision.
And it is one that will endure.
As we celebrate today, America’s national independence alongside the independence of African Americans from enslavement, we also celebrate a remarkable partnership with the citizens and the Government of Lesotho.
For Americans, our founders stated it clearly, and to this day, we follow the course they laid – we respect and adhere to our Constitution in order to form a more perfect union.
The objective of the United States’ partnership with Lesotho is no less profound.
We work together, we strive together, we aspire together, to build a brighter future for Lesotho.
Thank you. Kea Leboha ha holo.
Khotso! Pula! Nala!
Now, please join me in a toast to His Majesty King Letsie III, to his good health, long life, and abiding love for the Kingdom of Lesotho.