Speaking Fourth

July 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Originally a post to our Facebook friends…

HEY PEOPLE. Hope everyone is taking a little time this Independence Day to actually remember what this thing’s all about. I don’t wave flags; nowadays those are likely to be made in China. Anyway, it’s not about worshiping symbols, it’s about honoring the substance. Do enjoy the BBQing and fireworks, and if you are of age, have an adult beverage or two. It wouldn’t hurt to also look at the Declaration of Independence, and ask yourself if your country is moving toward the ideals declared, or away from them.

If you’re really keeping up with the news, you’ll be able to play the amusing game “Spot the Ominous Parallels” between the offenses the colonists decried in the Declaration of 1776, and those we submit to today in 2011.
You may want to reflect how America became driven more by fear than by the desire for freedom. A friend of mine has a song that mentions the so-called War on Terror. In the middle section she sings:

And innocent people gotta suffer

For all this ungodly fear…

Fear is ungodly — not to mention all the things it leads people to do.Fear leads us to submit ourselves, and our children, to strip-search via powerful x-ray, or sexual molestation in order to board an airplane. We’re told this is protecting us from terrorists. Yet, you are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. So what are we getting? More police and quasi-police – piles and piles of them – with more and more power to do outrageous things to us that would have enraged previous generations of Americans – or would have enraged most of us only 10 or 15 years ago.

Is fear of terrorism making us stupid?

This Independence Day is a good day to think about what our servants in Washington and elsewhere are doing with the money, power and prestige we lend them, supposedly for the purpose of serving us. As you get ready to party, are you wondering why your employees and contractors are busy occupying or bombing six (6) countries, and talking about going into yet others? That’s a whole different kind of fireworks show – one that’s definitely not fun for the kids, especially when the bombs are falling on them.

It’s not the easiest read for us 21st-century folks raised on MTV, but you might also want to check George Washington’s farewell speech, where he strongly warned against reckless wars, stupid alliances, and the many evils that come with them. The former commander and war hero realized that war against foreign enemies usually results in tyranny at home.

Political correctness trains us to say: “Well, those white men back in 1776 owned slaves and didn’t let women vote. What did they know?” It’s not about personal failures, bad compromises, or hypocrisies and blind spots of a particular era. We have plenty of our own, so we can’t exactly talk. It’s about a set of principles that stand even when people fail to uphold them.

We descendants of slaves have a special reason to cherish the ideas that brought us out of oppression. However tardy, America listened to her founding principles — the ones subscribed by those white men, including some slaveowners, on July 4, 1776. Having been admitted to the table of freedom so late in the banquet, we more than anyone should protest that the table is being cleared so soon. Freedom is being rolled back. The color of whatever figureheads happen to occupy political office at the moment doesn’t matter. Judge them not by the color of their skin, nor by their glowing promises and platitudes, but by the content of their character as reflected in their actions.

I don’t want to ramble too long. People got BBQ and things to enjoy. I just ask you to think a little more as you celebrate this Independence Day, while you still have something left to celebrate.

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