Friday, July 4, 2014

In Pursuit of the Self-Evident Truth

The United States of America is celebrating its birthday today.  Two hundred and thirty-eight years old.  As nations go we are not very old at all.  That explains perhaps why, relatively speaking, we still look pretty good for our age.  Happy Birthday to her and to all of us. 

I suppose that most of your Independence Day shall be spent in a vein similar to mine, which is to say relaxing in the company of family and friends.  I hope that it shall.  And I hope that however and wherever you spend it, it is not only an enjoyable day but a safe one as well. 

But permit yourself on this day - even if for just a moment - to remember that the 4th of July is Independence Day and remind yourself just what that means.  Remember that the Declaration of Independence is a document that was created and signed NOT when times were good and the living was easy in the nascent existence of our nation.  Rather it was created and signed not too long after the commencement of hostilities with the world's #1 and only superpower and seven long years before Cornwallis would surrender at Yorktown.  It took balls the size of the Liberty Bell to do what the signers of the Declaration of Independence did.  Had the American Revolution ended in a British defeat, all of its signatories would likely have been hanged (not hung) for treason.  John Hancock would have been hanged twice.  

I mention that for this reason.  Here in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, living a life of relative ease and comfort (as many of us are), it behooves all of us to ask ourselves every now and again just how far removed we are from those men who signed the Declaration of Independence.  We should ask ourselves whether we have traded independence for expedience and whether the truths we now hold to be self-evident is that we would all like to have as much as we can get while getting it with as little discomfort as possible.  

Independence is not a moment.  It is a work in progress.   That is, after all, the American way.  Only Americans could declare it in the summer of '76 and then spend seven long years thereafter making it so.  Almost two and one half centuries further on up the road from the Summer of '76 it serves all of us well to remember that I think.  What we fought for then we need to keep fighting for today.  And tomorrow. And the day after that as well.  

The enemy of independence is not tyranny.  It is complacency...

...same as it ever was.  


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