Today is a very special day for all Americans and for lovers of liberty around the world. Independence Day, better known as the 4th of July, is a celebration of the day that The American Colonies began that very frightening and dangerous step of severing ties with our Mother Country, Great Britain.
Its always scary when the kid leaves home and goes out on his or her own but when you write a bill of divorce from the most powerful Empire on Earth, it’s serious business and not to be taken lightly.
The very life of every signer of the Declaration of Independence was immediately forfeit according to British law. This was an act of TREASON against the Crown.
Can you imagine the intestinal fortitude (guts) it took for these wealthy and privileged men to put life, limb, family and property all on the line for an idea. A revolutionary idea that all men are created equal in the sight of God; that all blood was red, none blue?
Yes, the founders made one glaring exception and that was the Black men and women brought from Africa to work as slaves throughout the Colonies. A shameful omission seen through today’s eyes, but we must all judge our forefathers and mothers by the mores of their time.
In 1776 Europeans were just beginning to condemn the slave trade and slavery itself. (Britain would not outlaw slavery and the slave trade in the Empire until 1811) But like all moral leaps, abolition was in its infancy in 1776.
What are we really celebrating on this Tuesday, July 4, 2017?
We are celebrating liberty: The freedom to speak our minds, even unpleasantly and to defend the rights of others to do the same. If one person’s liberty is abridged, all liberty is abridged. Liberty has limits in that one cannot threaten murder or incite riot or rebellion. New limits on the cyber world are long over due but liberty must be the floor under all such reforms.
We celebrate a nation that is free of aristocracy and the idea that one class is higher born than another. No one is trapped in their social class in America unless he or she will not do the work needed to climb the social ladder. Not very long ago your race, religion, gender or national origin could bar you from advancement into the world of affluence and influence.
Today, Americans of all races, cultures, gender and religions sit at the table of power, both economic and political. Can we do more? Yes, a society can always do more and we are making great strides in breaking barriers that could not even be discussed in the world of my youth. This is sometimes a bit jarring to those of us born into the Post-War world but to my generation I say: GET OVER IT.
If you are a lover of liberty, as I am, you cannot cherish your freedom and deny the freedom of others.
The most important meaning of this Independence Day is that on this day of July 4th 1776, Americans lit a torch of freedom which changed the entire world. Within 20 years, France, Hungary, Britain and even Germany overthrew or liberalized repressive regimes.
The fact that Great Britain, the most powerful Empire on Earth at the time, was soundly defeated in a long and bloody war by farmers, merchants, freed slaves, immigrants, merchant seaman, planters, tailors, cobblers and men of all classes and occupations. Every one risked his life, his fortune and his family in the cause of liberty.
Can we do less today in 2017. Let’s come together as Americans. Let’s bury our differences, learn to listen to each other (we just might learn something) let’s make a Declaration of Interdependence, a manifesto of common values of civility if not always agreement, of love, light liberty, and justice for all.
Let us all pledge to defend, to the death, the freedom and personal liberty that our forefathers risked all to obtain. Especially the liberty of those with which we disagree. Abridge one person’s liberty, all liberty is at risk.
Let’s make this July 4th 2017, the Day we re-united as Americans. Make this Interdependence Day, for in truth we are all interdependent, all part of the whole.
Rev. Dore’ Patlian, Sarasota, FL I Am a Religious Scientist! Learn more at CSL.org