Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day: What it is and what it isn't.

Independence Day in the US. What will be celebrated today? The flag of the US, our "patriotism", allegiance to the country, support for the US military and maybe the police. Fireworks, grilling burgers, hanging out with friends and family. Some celebrations might even include discussions on how our government, annoying as it may be, is still among the best in the world. Our "freedom" will be celebrated.

I would not begrudge anyone their own version of celebration today. You're free to do as you wish (somewhat). But we really need to understand what happened today in 1776 and what led to it, as well as the bloody conflict that followed. This isn't a day about celebrating being part of a country or having your own government or thanking a military member (though as a combat veteran and reserve member, I appreciate the gesture).

Today is a day that commemorates a rising up of an oppressed people, angry enough at the actions of their government that they take up arms and turn them against them. Poverty and violence was inflicted on them by their government and unfair laws were laid on them in order to keep them in subservience.

The people decided to dissolve those political ties. We have the freedom to associate (or not to associate) with any groups or people we choose, do we not? Do we not have the freedom to leave a club? A company? A mailing list? Do we not have the freedom to leave an organization? What has elevated a government to the point where we no longer have the choice to leave it? If we have the right to choose the leaders of our government, then logic dictates we have the right to choose "none". We have the right to say "I don't want any of it, and I don't want any that will come after."

The colonists of Britain in the New World chose "none", and we celebrate that. We celebrate the turning of private arms against a military that many of the People had been veterans of. We celebrate the People taking down their flag (at the time, British flag) and burning it, tearing it apart and creating a new one. We celebrate the People's RIGHT to choose a dissolution of the bonds to their government.

So what about today? Talk of secession today brings ridicule. Talk of taking Arms brings derision. "Why do you need that AR-15? Are you building an ARSENAL or something?" Talk of states' rights makes people roll their eyes.

We celebrate today, but do we even know what today is? This is not a call to secession. It's a reminder of what makes a People free. First, you have the freedom of association, to associate, and NOT associate, with whatever people you wish, for whatever reason you wish. Government is not above that. They and their agents are not divine. Do not worship them today, or ever. You are free. Or you are supposed to be.

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