Friday, July 3, 2009

The Farce of July

I love my country and I love July 4. Maybe that's why I get dispirited every year in the run-up to the big day. It's great that people get together with family and friends, BBQ, go to the beach, watch fireworks, etc. It's a holiday. It's also a badly need day off for some who work too hard and too much.

All those things should be secondary byproducts of the holiday. The 4th is not about picnics and being out in the sun. It's about remembering the sacrifices that were made to make this country our own, to govern ourselves, to be free of the arbitrary decisions of a crazy (literally) king halfway on the other side of the Atlantic.

Just stop to consider what guts it took for the Founding Fathers to declare independence. Many of them were landed gentry. They were set. British practices, no doubt, were in some cases taking money out of their pockets. But I've not seen evidence that any of them were turned to paupers because of English taxation or the like.

The decision to split from mother England was largely made on principle. The risk: their lives. Back then, treason was punishable by death. It was certainly treasonous to attempt to oust the Kingdom of Great Britain from America. After all, this was a British colony. The reminder of the risks taken by the signators to the Declaration of Independence is stated plainly in the last sentence of that great document:
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
It's not my place to tell you how to celebrate this great holiday. This certainly should not be understood as condemning or judging folks who try to make the holiday a celebration of family or friends or just a fun day off work. I just hope that the "true meaning" of the celebration does not get lost in all the fun.

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