On this fourth of July Independence Day celebration we hear speech after speech extoling the virtues and advantages that we here in the USA enjoy.
We certainly are better off than 95.6% (my unofficial poll) of the people in the rest of the world. We are taught that we got here by being fiercely independant and willing to make great sacrifices to gain and to maintain this freedom.
Now if you listen to the political campaigners we find that, once again, this freedom is under attack. On one side we hear that we must keep our freedom To create and keep wealth, and to not be forced to pay for health insurance (among other things) while on the other side we hear that we must keep our freedom From lack of proper medical care, education, employment, and housing (again, among other things.)
We hear both sides claiming the high ground of constitutional rights and mandates. The US Supreme court makes decisions on current issues, usually with a split decision, sometimes with four judges on one side of an issue and five judges on the other.
If you review the campaign speeches of the last 150 years or so you hear the same repetitive slogans and rhetoric. We are always "on the cusp of calamity" according to those trying to get elected. I have often thought that the media only rehashes the same old material every election year.
If you want to see real independence, you might want to visit Afganistan. No one has been able to bring those people into any semblance of unity or order for thousands of years. Is this what we mean by independence?
What does independence mean to you? Should the accident of birth be the major determinate of future economic and social prospects? Are the children of less fortunate parents doomed to remain disadvantaged and free To miss out on the things that make "the pursuit of happiness" possible?
At what point does the concept of "equality" come into play?
As this political season plays itself out, I urge you to get past the rhetoric and mudslinging that surrounds us and take a hard look at what independence really means to you.
You will probably not learn much by listening to the political slogans.