How far can you see?
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Last line of the Declaration of Independence
Would we make the same choice again?
In the last line of the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers pledged everything, to include their lives, to the idea of establishing a free nation of their own. Their commitment was put to the test as 5 were tortured and died, 9 were killed in battle, 12 had all their property confiscated and destroyed, and others lived on the run and had family members die during the evasion or in British captivity.
Would we make the same choice again?
On America’s 239th birthday where we celebrate not only the declaration of our freedom but the moral courage of free people to pledge all to something larger than themselves, it’s appropriate to examine our own love of this great nation and whether we would take the same risk again under the same dire circumstances.
Many pundits say no. They point to the rancor and divisiveness played out in the media on issues of national importance. They point to a growing sense of entitlement and less pride in self-reliance (no doubt, a valid concern). The evidence, according to the intellectual and political elites, points to irreversible decay rather than an opening window of great opportunity. They say the best days are behind us and heroes are only characters in history.
On that point I say they’re dead wrong…and Independence Day is a great day for a reminder and a resounding wakeup call.
Since the dawn of our American experience, history shows that if anything, democracy is messy. If fosters diversity of thought that inevitably pitches ideas and people one against the other. The conflict that arises from a clash of ideas sometimes makes us uncomfortable and makes us question how tightly bound is the fabric of our nation.
The founding fathers wrestled with this 239 years ago. It was messy, it was divisive, it was passionate, it was at times uncomfortable, it was unsettling and a little scary to those who watched, and it was necessary to forming a consensus that has stood the test of time for over two centuries. It produced an economic and social order of unprecedented prosperity that has not been duplicated anywhere…which brings us to today, and the question of whether we would make the same choice again.
I have a challenge for you on our 239th Independence Day. The challenge is to simply tune out the merchants of cynicism and sarcasm and tune in your own love of our great nation. While you’re enjoying the holiday, carve out some time to reflect upon why you love this great nation…with all the lumps, bumps and bruises that comes with the evolvement of a national consensus through open debate.
We still have heroes around us, even if the experts don’t know where to look. I see them in a generation that has volunteered to faithfully defend us since 9-11, I see them in communities taking care of each other, I see them rebuilding a shaken but unbroken economy…I see a hero in you.
The philosopher Voltaire once said “God gave us the gift of life. It is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” If nothing else, we’ve been true to this idea as every generation has answered the call, in their own way, to purchase freedom for the next. Every expert that has predicted otherwise in the last 239 years has been wrong; they still are today. Would we make the same choice again? Yes, we would.
Enjoy a great Independence Day…let freedom ring!
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