It’s July already. Next up is the 4th.  Independence Day.  What is commemorated on the fourth of July was so long ago that I suspect few of us can actually conjure up what the feeling was like that inspired the “colonials” to rebel and declare their independence from England.  They were an articulate bunch.  Hardly a more inspiring and well written document exists anywhere than the American Declaration of Independence.  Almost makes you wish you had been there.  Almost.

Independence – an interesting concept.  Look it up.  You will uncover things like self-rule, home rule, separation, self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, freedom and liberty.

We all grew up with these precepts of the American catechism instilled in our minds as indelible compass points for the pursuit of happiness.  They were the principles of that entitlement that is the core of American Citizenship.  “Proud to be an American” was less a political statement than it was the simple truth.  It felt good, deep, sanctioned by the highest authority.

I can remember feeling that I was the primary unit of this democracy.  Whatever democracy meant, it boiled down to me. and it meant independence.
Celebrating our nation’s independence and celebrating the 4th of July are often unrelated events during these latter days.  I seem to get dozens of emails from various friends and organizations extolling the glories of Independence Day.  Just about everyone of these communications have to do with either memorializing our fallen service men and women or talking up a strong military.  Few, if any, say much about our nationhood – the unique blessings and responsibilities of being an American.  There will be a parade and a footrace on the 4th.  There will be marching bands, young soldiers and old soldiers.  There will be more fire trucks than anyone ever dreamed of.  

There will be beach time, beer, hotdogs, barbecue and hardly any thought about the dominance of England or that band of eloquent, brave fledgling Americans upon whose effort we stand.  It’s quite a stretch from Minutemen to ICBM loaded submarines with the power to turn the planet into a crisp.  But that is the perspective we deal with these days. 

I’m not too worried about the dominance of England anymore.  There are other tyrants nowadays who are more insidious and no less determined to dominate the people of this nation and bend them (us) to their purposes.  And they are already within our gates.  They occupy the halls of congress and the various state houses across the country.  They are the power and the money behind the lovely logos on the boxes you buy at the market.  They are chess masters who know the end move from the beginning.  We all go to the polls and vote while the ultra rich and powerful just right out a check for whatever an election costs and preach one man one vote.  These people twist the intent of our founding documents and strange meanings to old and familiar terms.

Something is wrong, folks, and all the flag waiving and pontificating and fire trucks with sirens blasting are not going to change a thing.  Independence is like a daylily – every day is a new one.  As we fire up the grill let us also fire up our resolve that, as stated in the preamble to our constitution that it is “We the People”, not we the corporations,  or we the very rich, or even we the states, whose will it is to promote “a more perfect Union”, and “Justice”, and “the common Defense”. and “the general Welfare”, and ” the Blessings of Liberty for us all.


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