Hooray for Independence Day?

This morning I was eating breakfast with my beautiful family and I started to think about the weight of Independence Day and how misused our freedom has become.  I had these fleeting thoughts about how the founding fathers didn’t break away from tyranny so that we could be a nation of sue-happy whining babies, or how their intentions didn’t include a country full of people who think everything should be handed to them and who take no responsibility for themselves.  I thought about how far we’ve strayed from the founding ideals inherent in our nation’s birth.  What a shame.  But then it hit me like a train! This is exactly what they set into motion with the Declaration of Independence.

Each year on July fourth, legions of Americans casually discuss the meaning of the anniversary of our declaration to England that we would be free of their oppression.  The unfortunate truth, however, is that Americans did not want to break free of oppression; they wanted, rather, to crawl out from beneath the boot and step on others with it.

We love to celebrate the Founding Fathers as if they were infallible gods, but their biggest claim—that all men are created equal—is a significant reason why our nation has become such a joke.  The idea that we’re all equal was immediately undermined by those same founders’ inability to live by their own words!  Following that statement, it took nearly a century for slavery to be abolished!  All men are created equal?  Why say such a thing if you won’t stand by it? 

American independence was about becoming powerful and holding others down.  To this day, people who look, think, act, talk, or love differently than the norm are persecuted.  Some are mistreated on a personal level, as is the case with bullying, while others are held down by church groups or other organizations.  Another entire sect of people—namely members of the LGBT community—are still oppressed on a federal level by the United States Government.  The idea of equality in America is a farce.

Another problem with the Declaration manifests itself in the unfortunate tendency of humans to take things to extremes.  Entitlement thinking has its roots in the idea that the pursuit of happiness doesn’t necessarily assume a work ethic, or any effort at all.  Modern Americans have removed “pursuit of” from the equation.  At this point, everyone seems to just expect “happiness” right out of the gate.  There is no longer a correlation between “earning” and “deserving.”  With such a crippling disconnect, it’s really no surprise that frivolous lawsuits and whiney babies have become easier to find than an honest day’s work or a politician with integrity.

Hooray for Independence Day – the celebration of our freedom to scoff at, bully, or even criminalize people who are different, and the freedom to sit on our hands and wait for the fruits of someone else’s—anyone else’s—labor.

-J

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~ by hamiltonjacobs on July 4, 2013.

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