It’s the 4th of July. Known also to most of us in this country as Independence Day.
And no, I’m not talking about the 1996 movie in which aliens invaded the earth to destroy it. Although sometimes I do wonder if we have some aliens here already masquerading as politicians, but that’s a debate for another time.
Today for most people in our country is a day off. A day we use to celebrate with cook outs, beach or pool or other backyard parties, flying the American flag if we have one, and then ending the day either setting off fireworks or crowding into parks and other areas to watch firework displays put on by whichever city or town we live in.
Sometimes we even remember why we celebrate this day.
But I don’t think enough of us, and I’ll include myself, really stop to think why we recognize this day as being important in the history of our nation. Because we’ve known nothing but freedom in this country for our entire lives. We don’t stop to think about how hard fought that freedom really was.
Our nation was founded on a concept of freedom from tyranny, from another country that wanted to make those who came to these shores to begin a new life continue to live their lives under that country’s rule.
And after a while, the colonists decided they’d had enough, and it was time to separate and form a new country. And they did. They risked their lives to start this country, to set in motion their dreams for a better life for their families and future generations. And they succeeded.
Now here we are today, some 247 long and challenging years later.
And I wonder what the men who started that revolution, who dared to defy a then-mighty country who controlled those 13 little colonies…I wonder just what they’d have to say about our country today.
I dare say they wouldn’t begin to recognize what we’ve become. A nation united now becoming more and more strongly divided between two political parties. Between two sets of ideas for what this country should be, each side with basically no respect for the other. And sadly now, a nation beginning to see an erosion of many of our basic rights and freedoms for certain people, women especially, in a growing number of states. And it’s most likely not going to end there,
In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Most likely they’d say our government has become too powerful; too over-reaching into our daily lives, and trying to control too much of what we do and how we do it. There are too many laws, both federal and state, which attempt to restrict the freedoms they fought so hard for.
And definitely too many politicians running the governments who are only out for themselves instead of the people who voted them into office. Too many egos saying what people want to hear, getting into elected office, and then going along with whoever can help them make the most money and get re-elected.
I think the founding fathers would be appalled. And I wonder if they wouldn’t try to maybe start another revolution of some sort to get us back on the right track?
Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than most of the others. Many other countries have nowhere near the freedoms we have, and if their citizens dare to assert their rights to individual freedom they are many times arrested and thrown into jail…or worse.
We’re allowed to speak our minds when we don’t like what’s happening; many other countries don’t have that luxury. But we don’t have the right to riot, burn businesses, and use guns to kill those who disagree. Which is now happening far too often. And we don’t have the right to go to a crowded club, musical event, or other celebration, or to a school where the future generation of Americans are trying to learn, and shoot them randomly. While politicians sit back and do nothing because we have “freedom” to have guns.
What would the founding fathers think of us now? They didn’t envision people owning assault weapons and other firearms in order to go shoot other people. They envisioned law abiding citizens having weapons to defend themselves from tyranny and attacks; not to attack others just because they have the weapons to do it. They didn’t envision career politicians running this great land. They wanted everyday people to make those decisions. And that’s not happening now.
Today let’s take a bit of time to reflect on what this day means, and what we can help do to get back to some of the basic ideas this country was founded on.
I don’t know exactly how, but if all of us actually start to take the time to think about it, maybe we can accomplish something…at least for our children and grandchildren and all of the other future generations.
Thank about it. And have a safe and happy Independence Day!