As was always intended, even from 1776, July 4th is a day of celebration. John Adams, in a letter to his wife said, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” And we do. Neighborhood parties, family reunions, ball games, fireworks – we celebrate in many ways, as Adams suggested that we should do, we do celebrate. I’m just cynical enough to believe that the vast majority of us use this as an excuse to party more than a celebration of our independence.
What is this we celebrate? What was the cause for the split from England? Why did the Colonists so want to be independent from the British?
The Declaration of Independence poses many reasons justifying the split from the King and Parliament. In my view, the key reason for wanting to part ways with Britain and form a new government was:
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
Let that sink in for a bit….. I would suggest that our current government is guilty of this and more. Many liken our current President to the King of England and see his abuses and those of the Congress like the King and Parliament from which we split some 237 years ago.
My belief is that the Independence our nation’s founders sought was from the meddling of a big government, far away, seen to be using the colonies as a tool rather than being a tool of the citizens. Today’s situation is similar in many ways. Our government in Washington, D.C., seems quite detached from the people that it is sworn to serve. We have a President and Congress who both treat the people in a condescending manner, at the least, and, it seems to me, with a total lack of respect. We are looked down upon as if we were too stupid to get out of the rain and only with the gracious help of the Federal Government can we even pass successfully through life. Proof of this lies in the fact that survey after survey, poll after poll show that the populous does not want “Obamacare,” thinks the recently passed Senate Immigration Bill is very badly written, and that efforts by many politicians to control guns will do little if anything to slow gun violence but will win votes in some areas, etc. In other words the politicians are doing what is good for them, not their constituents.
On top of all this, today most citizens don’t trust the FBI. or the IRS, or the State Department, and the list is growing. A recent Gallup Poll (June 1-4, 2013) concluded that 65% of Americans had confidence in Small Business, 57% had confidence in the Police, 36% had confidence in the Presidency, 34% had confidence in the Supreme Court, 20% had confidence in Organized Labor and only 10% had confidence in Congress. See the poll summary here. To me, this is a sad commentary and paints our government institutions in a very bad light.
Maybe most telling thing is that politically unaligned or independent voters, by a margin of two to one think the President is responsible for, at least in part, and has not told the truth about the Benghazi attack and the IRS targeting of Right wing groups. And, the Justice Department’s ‘tracking of reporters’ is deemed appropriate by less than a third of those polled.
I will celebrate our Independence Day on the 4th but wonder if we don’t now, as much as in 1776, need independence from a distant government which “….has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
Added July 1, 2013 – If you liked this at all, you will enjoy my post from 3 years ago on Independence Day.