Many people are taking the time today to write about freedom. The Fourth of July tends to spark our need to be patriotic. We’ll rail against this or that policy from our government’s offering plate throughout the year, but come July, patriotism sails ahead of other concerns to act as the flagship for our lives.
Me, not so much. From the time I was a child I considered myself a citizen of the world. I’ve never truly understood the need to wave flags, banners, and rhetoric about national patriotism.
It’s not that I have anything against it. I just don’t understand it and probably never will. But then, I don’t understand why any two or more groups of people find it necessary to kill thousands of others to prove a point. It’s always been my philosophy that some tribes had it right. Choose one or two champions for each group and let them have at it. The champion(s) that comes out on top wins, everyone agrees that the matter’s closed and has a feast to celebrate the end of the disagreement. Now, that’s civilized.
I wanted to talk for a bit about a different kind of freedom, though. It’s the freedom we have to CHOOSE.
Come on now, you say. That’s what Fourth of July is all about. And that’s where everyone makes their mistake.
Our forefathers had the right to choose whether they wanted to be under the thumb of King George, and they made their choice: rebellion. They chose to fight for their independence. They chose not to back down. They chose the kind of government—a republic rather than monarchy—that would rule the country.
Those are all choices they made. Those that came after chose to continue the tradition until the Civil War era. Then a few chose to leave the “Union” and become their own people. That idea got squashed because those in Washington D.C. chose to retaliate and teach the South a lesson.
Besides, there was that unsavory little social habit the South fostered called slavery. It seemed far better to eliminate both problems at once.
You see what I mean. All those choices made those events possible.
Each day we choose what words we use and what actions we take. We each have that freedom, given to us when Free Will was passed out. We all know where that came from.
For myself, I choose to watch the fireworks displays and think about how we got where we are and who made sure that I get to keep my freedom to choose. I also think about all of those choices that still lie ahead of us and speculate on which ones will float to the top for use.
My wish for everyone is that they enjoy this day. It represents more hard choices made by more people than we can wrap our heads around. Pay whatever homage is your choice and reflect on how you will use your freedom in the future.