INDEPENDENCE Day. See my emphasis on Independence? Yeah. YEAH.

While I’m usually pretty proud and patriotic on July 4th, (and Flag Day, and Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day) I can’t help but feel a disconnect this year.
I’m not so proud of America and the steps its taken in the last six months or so. I feel like we’re more divided than ever. More willing to help ourselves than to help our neighbor. More willing to protect our rights to have guns than to protect our children in our neighborhoods from hunger and unsafe homes.
I feel like every opportunity we’ve been given to show compassion and understanding towards one another, we have been choosing the opposite.
Some of you may say, “that doesn’t apply to me, I’m not like that,” or “I’m staying out of this since I am not directly impacted by this specific issue.” We are all impacted in some way or another.
But more importantly, I feel like we are losing the meaning of Independence Day, which is the actual name of the holiday we celebrate which happens to land on the fourth of July.
Sure you get a day off of work. Sure you get to drink beer and watch parades and do some barbecuing and blow up fireworks with your friends and family. Some have associated this bit of comradery with the true purpose of this holiday.
And I’m sorry, but you are wrong. The fourth of July is not about fireworks and beer and ‘Merica. It’s much deeper than that, and I hope you, dear American, realize this.
Independence Day was the day we adopted the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and its Empire back in 1776 (do the math, that’s 241 years ago. Two-hundred-and-fourty-one-years-ago!!)
A bunch of old white dudes, 56 of them to be exact, some of who you know by name but a majority I’m sure you may not know, came together and said they were declaring that the thirteen original American colonies were regarding themselves as a new nation. A new nation with the title of the “United States of America.”
Some of you may recall the Declaration of Independence from your history classes. Some of you may not. For those of you who may need a refresher, I’ll summarize for you.
The Declaration of Independence states that when any form of government becomes destructive to the rights of man, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new Government.
And I am in complete agreement with our Founding Fathers.
They go on to specify what the King of England has done to suppress the progress made in the thirteen colonies and request…nay, demand independence.
That takes a lot of bravery, know-how, and…for lack of a better term, cohones to stand up to the King. And the king didn’t like it, either!
The declaration says, “We have reminded them (England) of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.”
It’s basically saying they knew what was at stake, but thought the King was wrong and were going to seek independence from him and his “tyrannous” ideals. Even if it meant saying goodbye to their family and friends in England. Even if it meant war. Our founding fathers could not fathom another minute under the king’s rule.
So they sought independence. And gained it.
And here we are.
But I have to admit, some of the portions of the declaration when describing the king of England sounds…familiar, and I’ll just leave it at that.
I guess my long-winded point is this: I think it is important to realize that our 241-year-old declaration may need to be reassessed. Maybe our whole government needs to be reassessed. All I can see, at this point, is poverty, civil unrest, and plenty of criminals getting away with too much and too many innocent civilians dying at the hands of their protectors.
Something needs to give.
We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Not the land of the oppressed and the home of the bullied-into-silence.

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