Not a Particularly Happy Fourth of July Redux
Update July 4th, 2013 – I reread this post again and essentially nothing has changed. Oh sure, I could add details such as Syria, Snowden and the NSA, but the core of the 2010 post is untouched. Things have gotten worse and heads punch deeper into the sand.
Update – This post has gotten hits virtually every single day since it was posted. If you are reading this post, please consider commenting – I’d like to know what you think. And thank you for reading. – UR
Maybe it is the sullen windy day, but I am not feeling particularly independent or celebratory on this Fourth of July. I view with dismay and a sense of helplessness at the egregious behavior of the federal government and the open contempt of the very people and Constitution from which they draw their power. Or so it is written. Numerical superiority of citizens and Constitutional exhortations aside, we are not in charge, those we elect do not answer to us and clearly are above the laws they enact. This is not how it is supposed to be.
I am not sure that we can alter by so much as a few degrees the self-destructive course we are set on, so reversing it seems out of the question. Then the question one has to ask, reverse to what?
Rather than succumb to the hollow symbolic celebrations of a very real historical event, I highly recommend you read for yourself the text of the Declaration of Independence. Try to imagine yourself in the position of these men, read through the list of grievances cited and try to grasp to full meaning, the historically correct context, import and consequence of the these words. This is not an easy task in a world of CGI-assisted imaginations and reset buttons.
Sad to say, many, perhaps the majority of Americans will not know what they had even after it is gone, so detached that they are from the real world. What Americans have, barely, is opportunity. That has always been the real attraction of and to this country – opportunity. But with opportunity comes risk, something a relatively comfortable risk-averse society loses sight of – and we are apparently blind.
You as an American still have the opportunity to be honest with yourself and ask – am I really proud to be an American?
- Are you really proud of a government that defies the explicit and expressed majority of its citizens and spends hundreds of billions of public monies to bail out private banks?
- Are you really proud of a government that attacked and still occupies a sovereign nation under false pretenses?
- Are you really proud of a government that affords corporate business entities person-hood and most recently, the freedom of political speech to bolster the already considerable influence corporate lobbyists have in Congress?
- Are you really proud of a government that was likely complicit in the destruction billions of dollars middle-class wealth?
- Are you really proud of a government that continues to encumber the fruits of the labor of unborn generations to provide entitlements today?
- Are you really proud of a government that really doesn’t bother to try to hide the fact its disdain for the very people who foot the bill?
- Are you really proud of a government that criminalizes freedom of the press to protect the financial viability of a foreign corporation that, by all accounts, is at least civilly liable in the environmental destruction of public and private lands, waterways and fisheries and yet to be determined loss of commerce and livelihoods?
But that’s the government, you might protest. You can’t have it both ways. “[D]eriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” to me implies that the government does what we allow it to do, therefore we as citizens are culpable.
If the government is functioning without the consent of its citizens, we have a problem – it is no longer our government. If the current government IS functioning with the consent of its citizens, then we have an even bigger problem. Of all the freedoms we have lost and are poised to lose, two need to go away now – the freedom from thought and the freedom from responsibility. If there are freedoms any group might hate us for, those two are at the top of the list.
However you recognize this historic day, be safe.