… Meant Freedoms (Large & Small)
By Jeff Salter
I don’t care all that much for picnics or fireworks (though I have nothing in particular against them). I worry, however, that new generations think of July Fourth as merely a holiday with outdoor food and lots of noise.
But Independence Day is more … much, much more. Among a stretch of several years of growing pains for the British colonies in North America, the Declaration was an extreme turning point. No more ‘ownership’ by Britain, no more allegiance to the monarchy, no more obligation to follow British laws. Considered as outlaws and “traitors to the Crown,” those who assembled in Philadelphia in 1776 put their very lives on the line to imagine a new country, an independent nation … a free people.
This was no intellectual exercise … no thesis for political science majors. This was passionate commitment to an idea and ideal: a democratic republic. Local rule … representative government … individual rights.
Yes, it’s a blight on our nation’s history that Europeans slowly and steadily encroached upon and evicted – involving considerable bloodshed – the numerous Native American tribes. It’s tragic how callously those lands were expropriated and those cultures eradicated. It’s also horrific how the new America – along with many other nations – used and abused slave labor to accomplish goals (whether noble or ignoble). I cannot defend either of those means.
But whatever other negative observation which can be leveled against America, I believe this nation of ours is better than any other on the planet.
Are Americans perfect? No. Do we make mistakes? Yes … certainly.
Have we veered from the ideals for which our Founding Fathers devoted their very lives? Uh … yeah, we’ve strayed a LOT.
Sure, our country has drugs, violence, prejudice, crime, and many dishonest ‘leaders’ (at all levels of government). But we also have loving families, kindness, generosity, helpful neighbors, virtuous people, and beautiful harvests from God’s rich soil. We have varied natural resources and wild beauty (flora and fauna) … which rival that of any spot on the planet.
We have pro sports, the NCAA, and even NASCAR (for those who need it).
America is the place of freedoms. America is one of the very few countries that people in other nations want to come TO … if only they can get out of the place they’re currently in.
There are people in our country I wouldn’t care to know … and areas where I would not want to live. But, overall, I wouldn’t trade places with any citizen of any other nation … period. If I had a one-way ticket to anywhere else on this earth, I’d have to cash it in.
There’s a brief dialog between Sam Neill and Sean Connery in the terrific 1990 film Hunt for Red October. As they discuss what might happen after defecting to the U.S., Sam (Borodin) and Sean (Ramius) have this pertinent exchange:
Borodin: I will live in Montana. * * * And I will have a pickup truck … maybe even a recreational vehicle. And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Ramius: I suppose.
Borodin: No papers?
Ramius: No papers, state to state.
Borodin: Well then, in winter I will live in … Arizona.
Think about that. To me that’s a vital key: it’s one of the many ‘American’ aspects which makes this nation GREAT — we can come, we can go, we can quit this job, sell that house, move across the country. Need anybody’s permission? No. Need PAPERS to cross the border from Kentucky to Tennessee? Uh … nope. As long as you’re driving your own vehicle, you can go anywhere you want (except Area 51) … as far as your gas money will carry you. And if you later change your mind, you can return to where you came from … or travel to some other place! That’s the freedom almost no other earthlings have access to … and I love it.
To quote part of the famous and moving song: “God bless America, land that I love … stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above. From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam … God bless America, my home sweet home!”
Who signed that declaration?
Last year at this time, I summarized an excellent article from The Federalist – which discusses the awesome sacrifices made by most who signed the Declaration of Independence about 236 years ago. It’s extremely important for us to remember that many signers lost everything … and quite a few lost their families or their own lives. Please have a look at that eye-opening article from last year.
Which particular ‘freedom’ of America do YOU most appreciate?