Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

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Like so many of us, I'm taking the occasion of our nation's birthday to express my gratitude. What better way to show our appreciation for our freedom than by heading outdoors and relaxing with friends and family, maybe gathering to watch fireworks.

It's been a rough year, but Americans are a positive people. We make the best of both gray and sunny days.

Our founding fathers probably did too good of a job in securing freedom for us. They forged the most significant national documents in the history of civilization, laying the groundwork for the United States of America to arise and lead the world in strength, freedom, and opportunity. We have always taken these documents seriously, and built our nation upon them.

Not that we didn’t have some painful lessons to learn along the way. We would falter painfully. We weren’t always kind and tolerant of one another, and still are not fully beyond these problems. But we learn from our mistakes, seek with earnest enthusiasm to right our wrongs, and with this philosophy firmly in place have slowly but surely assumed our legitimate place as the world’s beacon of hope.

Much of the rest of the world limps along under varying levels of tyranny, or stagnates under various forms of statism, and shivers fearfully under the watchful eye of restrictive government. But here, we can still speak out, we can still assemble. We have had dark moments, but we have never seen our streets bloodied like Tehran has recently seen. We do not drive tanks over citizens or gun them down in churches, or strap bombs to children. While the UN gets together for wine and cheese and tsk-tsks nations for breeches of human rights, we’ve stepped up and helped people around the world with manpower, money, goods, leadership, and military help. We've done this again and again.

Here in the US, we champion anyone who wants to make something of himself, so much so that it is a key element of our national identity. Success stories abound across race and gender, and we assume our children will have at least the opportunities we did.

This is why it is hard for many Americans to see just how bad things are getting. We know the situation is grim, but somehow can’t believe an economic downturn can be any worse than anything we’ve endured in the past. We speak of pendulums swinging, of tough times and recoveries, of periodic shifts from liberal to conservative leadership. We think despite some serious setbacks, everything is eventually-- automatically-- going to be just fine. We don't quite see how the very ground is slipping away under our feet. It seems impossible that the leaders of the free world aren't acting in our best interest and upholding our most precious documents.

But never has it been truer than it now is: freedom is never free.

You are good, honest, trusting people.

But if someone you know and love is urging you to look at how bad things are getting, give them an ear. Thoughtful citizens are seeing some alarming unprecedented choices being made right under our noses.

The people sounding the alarm go to work every day (or are looking for work) and are keeping up their homes, just like you are. In their spare time, they’re digging to find accurate news information so they can piece together the truth- a truth that's hard to face. They're writing letters, signing petitions, calling Congressmen and women, writing blogs, handing out fliers- even the quiet introverts (like me) who would far rather be doing something else entirely.

They're not trying for sainthood or trying to be better than anyone else. They're just trying to keep misguided and deadly forces right here on our own soil from ruining our country.

They’re not trying to ruin your day. Please give them a listen.

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Everyone please enjoy the blessings of our independence this Independence Day.



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