July 4, 2010

An Important Day!

Stop celebrating the Fourth of July!

It's just another generic holiday. You know, an extra day off and a chance to party and set off fireworks that're illegal in more places than not. Celebrating the Fourth is like wishing someone "happy holidays" or "seasons greetings" instead of "merry Christmas." It has no meaning.

I'll bet a lot of folk don't even know why we observe the Fourth.

So, let's just throw out the date-name; don't use it any more. Let's call the holiday what it is: Independence Day! That, at least, says something! It reminds us that we're a free and independent people, not under the dominion of any other nation, confederation, kingdom, empire or political entity. And I believe we need that reminder more today than ever before.

You see, this may be the most dangerous time in our history. We have foreign enemies, some downright evil. We have serious internal difficulties. We have corruption among our leaders. And some would argue we have rampant incompetence at every level of government. They're all serious problems, granted. But as long as we the people remember why this nation was founded and what our Constitution really means to us, we'll be okay.

And that's what concerns me. I don't believe we the people remember, often don't even care. We keep electing the same self-aggrandizing leaders who are more worried about extending their time in office and leaving rich than in doing anything that actually might benefit the nation. We're so concerned with protecting an individual's ethnicity that we aren't passing democratic principles and traditions -- and responsibilities -- to our children. We're so focused on transferring wealth from the haves to the have-nots that we don't even consider the consequences of such actions.

So, we have a much more serious, more insidious, problem. It doesn't arise from our political, economic or ideological enemies. It's from us, we Americans. It's our apathy, our hopelessness, our lethargy, our irresponsibility, our lack of integrity, our immorality, even our lack of backbone.

We're reluctant to voice our opinions; to stand up for our beliefs. If by some miracle, we actually do speak up, we confront them and push our views up our opponents' noses and point our fingers pistol-like in a shrill blame game. It's such a wonderful example we're setting for those following us.

We want Uncle Sam to attend to our every desire. And if we don't get what we think we're entitled to, it's because we're victims of racism...or sexism...or homophobia, or whatever. Nothing unpleasant that happens to us may be even remotely due to something we may have done. (Yes, friends, that was sarcasm.)

Have we not learned anything from history? Apparently not. We don't seem to remember how lack of incentive melted the USSR's utopian promise into a stagnant, lifeless puddle? That's what redistributing the wealth can do.

Rather than resent some executive making "too big a salary," maybe we should aspire to achieving our own "too big a salary." If the guy is acting unethically or illegally, the law or God will get 'im. I, for one, don't feel I need to take his earnings for myself just because he has a big pile and I don't.

 I don't believe our Founding Fathers saw government's role as the income police, a babysitter or adjudicator of every detail of private citizen business and life. I certainly don't think they saw the government as the Emily Post of political correctness. If Jefferson, Adams, Paine, Wythe, Morris (framers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States) or Washington -- assuming they could wade through it -- came alive and read today's federal law, they'd probably laugh themselves back to death.

Our Founding Fathers did see, though, that Independence Day, July 4, was to be a very, very significant date in this nation's history. So, we must forever remember why we observe it and call it what it is:

Independence Day!

...Or maybe one day we won't be able to dance!