Don't stall. Don't commiserate. Pray boldly. The battle is still in front of you.

What Does Independence Mean to America?

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

Independent:  Not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous. (Dictionary.com)

 

Signing of the Declaration of Independence Engraved vignette of John Trumbull's painting Bureau of Engraving and Printing, public domain

Signing of the Declaration of Independence
Engraved vignette of John Trumbull’s painting
Bureau of Engraving and Printing, public domain

 

Independence Day, July 4th, is the anniversary of the day when Americans declared that we would no longer depend on England for our governance and order, and, therefore, we would no longer be subject to her jurisdiction. We would be autonomous.

One important step in our autonomy was accepting responsibility for our own survival.

To do that, we stopped purchasing English products. Everything from farm implements to textiles to tea. We became self-sufficient, or, in other words, responsible for ourselves and our own needs. It wasn’t easy, but our founders believed that freedom was worth some sacrifice, and sacrifice, by its very definition, is not easy.

This responsibility and sacrifice is still key to all who are free, from the animal in the wild that learns to hunt for itself or die, to the children in our homes struggling to break away from the time-honored, “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll follow my rules.” That’s because there is no true freedom without a corresponding responsibility.

When America declared its independence from England, it took responsibility for its own governance and its own survival on the world map. Below is a reading of our Declaration of Independence, which includes our reasons for “growing up” as an autonomous country and accepting responsibility for our future — reasons worth remembering so that we don’t find ourselves on the other side of a history repeated.

 

 

“It is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government.” In other words, our government and our freedom are what we take the responsibility to create.

Happy Independence Day!

 

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23 thoughts on “ What Does Independence Mean to America?

  1. on ,
    Texanne said:


    Independence. By the time I was born, generations of scared voters and opportunistic governments had eroded our independence and all but stifled individual freedom, and since my birth, the destruction has only quickened its pace.

    The remaining independence of our country and the remaining shreds of personal freedom will also slide into the abyss unless the majority of voters shake off the habit of intellectual indolence, the comfort of entitlements, and the bliss of willful ignorance. I do not feel hopeful for today’s children who will grow up under the unblinking eyes of millions of surveillance cameras and the admonition “if you see something, say something.”

    We have relinquished our freedom for the sake of “safety.” I can not respect that.

    Sorry to say, Independence means about the same thing to me as King Arthur’s court. Nice idea, but where did it go?

    You always make me think.

    I shut the video off after the first round of speakers because the irony of having that document read by those particular people was just too burdensome for me.

    Happy Independence Day.

    Texanne

    • bit of a bleak outlook, Tex, and i empathize with those feelings. but the U.S. has an uncanny ability to correct itself, and go the other way. our 4th amendment right to free of unreasonable search and seizure, indeed not only our places but our PERSONS are included in that right… will in fact be infringed upon, and it is when the populace realizes it that it will rebel against those ideas, and swing the other way… some states still refuse to give the police the right to pull you over for seat belts violations… this gives them much to leeway to pull just about anyone over… they already have computers in their cars…and yes, under the guise of protecting us from terrorists, they can tap our phones and put up cameras on our streets.

      start a petition, write about it, fan the flames of democracy and protest what you see as injustices, and take back your patch of freedom and waken others to what you see as wrong. that is your right. and given enough time and persistence, you may peel back the layers of government intrusion into our lives.

    • Well said, Texanne. I couldn’t agree with you more. I am constantly asking myself what I can do to change this headlong slide into every violation we fought against in the past as a nation. As dangerous as the desire for the illusion of “safety” is the lazy preference for convenience over privacy that is amplified by the “ease” of electronic recordkeeping on the internet. I look at all of the freedoms and dignities we have lost as a society since I was a child, and I am appalled that my children will never know what they are missing. That ignorance in our younger generations is the greatest tragedy and the greatest threat to our future as a nation.

      Personally, I think this has a great deal with the enormous increase in immigration, particularly from third world countries and dictatorships. The new American citizens I know who were born and raised in places like Iran, Mexico, communist block countries, and China have no concept or expectation of privacy or respect from governments, and they make up more and more of our citizenship. They have always been abused by government, and they think I am radical to expect otherwise. They have never known what we once had, and such things as the TSA searches and domestic surveillance are nothing people should be upset about to them. It’s very sad to me.

      In the long run, though, I am optimistic about the human spirit and the way pendulums tend to swing. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  2. i used to chat in a stockpicking/finance room on eTrade chat with a gentleman who has since died…. he used to say: Geo Washington was a traitor to his country… and he was right. i don’t know if he did it to provoke thought, or to get a rise outa ppl but ol DougStock (nickname) was quite the character himself, and he could care less what others thought of him.

    this country as all countries which have gone through revolutions at some point go thru a stage where the participants ARE Traitors if you will, at least until the participants win!! if they lose, and are caught, we don’t often remember them as much, as they are executed, or die trying to overthrow a regime.

    our freedom was bought and paid for in lives, fortunes, and reputations, and we take so much for granted. it is sad to think that some people think July 4th is about hotdogs and fireworks, and don’t even know what it means.

    our forebears pledged their lives and yes, their fortunes to be free of tyranny, and to overthrow one person rule. raised and reared to representative democracy through town meetings, legislative wings like the House of Burgesses here in Virginia, the cat was out of the bag. the colonists had already had upwards of a hundred years of democracy before they struck out against britain.

    freedom for me is the ability to think and say out loud what I feel or argue and nobody … not an individual or institution can stop me… i can print what I want, do as I want, and as long as I don’t violate any laws, nobody can stifle my opinion.

    to me, that is the essence of freedom.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Sammy. People remember Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and a few others and forget that the majority of the people who signed the Declaration gave everything from their fortunes to their lives to their families to this dream. It ‘s those forgotten people on this Declaration who we need to remember. They are the ones who paid most for our opportunities.

      And you hit on an essential. Freedom of speech. Freedom to express ourselves whatever our opinions may be. I would not want to live in a world where people and ferrets could not say and do what they please, even if it means I have to count my socks on a regular basis. With the current administration doing everything it can to control the internet and put its own fifty-centers in place, which, no doubt, every administration in the future will take the same advantage of, today I will enjoy the free speech I still have to post this discussion. Thank you for stopping by and contributing.

      Happy Independence Day.

  3. Piper, thanks for this post. You make great points about personal responsibility. I actually saw this video on Friday (I think Sam Clemons had a link on Twitter). Very powerful, so glad you included it!

    Happy Independence Day!

  4. on ,
    Dave said:


    These are very thoughtful comments. The desire to live in a perfectly secure and risk-free world deals freedom the death of a thousand cuts.

    “Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither”
    – Benjamin Franklin

  5. First step to reclaiming our freedom is accepting our responsibilities. We need to reverse this thinking that everything is society’s fault and individuals are not responsible for anything.

    Thanks for the post, Piper.

    • Thinking everything is society’s fault and that individuals are not responsible is a type of legal and political Tragedy of the Commons. For those who don’t know, the “tragedy of the commons” often occurs when property is held in common ownership, and, therfore, people do not take personal responsibility for its upkeep. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. on ,
    kadja1 said:


    I agree that those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. What we have now is a 2 party system similar to the Politburo back in 1960’s Russia, I think. It is time to change up the dynamic and give 3rd parties a shot since the only solutions our government seem to offer are only for the benefit of concentrating their power and the nation’s resources into the hands of a bureaucratic, yet powerful few and our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves at the thought of what is coming down the pipe.

    “Our government” hasn’t been our own for some time now because we’ve allowed them too much power. It is time to vote ’em all out and put fresh thinkers in there. When you have the TSA, the Dept. of Energy, the NEA, the DOE (meaning the Dept. of Education) and FEMA wielding as much power as they do, it is time to fix the country before they destroy it. They work for the people. We do not work for them–yet. Sorry but that is how I feel about it. We still have a shot at keeping our autonomy as a nation, but we have to fix the issues created by the above agencies to get back on the right path.

    • No apologies necessary. You make some good points, and I’m with you that the bureaucracies our government has created treat us like we exist to serve them rather than vice verce. As far as I’m concerned, we would do better off without them or at least with minimizing them. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  7. Well, my favorite quote, “Those who would sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither and will lose both,” has already been used, so I will use another favorite:

    My brethren and countrymen, if you cherish freedom and liberty, you are going to have to learn how to fart. You are going to have to get the point where the comforts and securities of life are no longer sufficient exchange for your loss of freedom. Stop running to the government to protect you from every possible calamity. Take on the responsibilities of human living for yourself, and tell the government to get out of your life! ~ Benjamin Franklin, Fart Proudly

    This, Piper is what independence means to me. Today, let’s all fart proudly. Thanks for a great, thought provoking post.

    • I love this Franklin quote. I hadn’t heard it before. I believe it should be printed on roadsigns throughout America, especially those outside of certain flavors of ethnic restaurants. Today, I shall eat beans and onions with my BBQ and celebrate my rights to their fullest. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  8. Freedom and Independence are linked concepts. I do not believe that one can be independent without freedom nor is anyone free that refuses to take responsibility for their own path, i.e. be independent.

    Choice is a human right. While some may not think that way or take measures to manipulate the choices of others in order to gain their own objectives, in the end, each individual has the right to choose. Being free, to me at least, means making my own choices. When I choose wisely there is a benefit and when I choose poorly there is a price to pay. The sacrifice in this is that there is no one else to blame, but me, and the price for a poor choice is always mine. I’m okay with that, because it makes me independent and free.

    Wonderfully written post Piper.

    • Freedom is such an elusive concept. I remember when we went into Iraq, a Shi’ite cleric was elated, telling the reporter, “We are free! Now we can ban television. We can ban music, and make the women cover up… ” One problem with introducing “freedom” to other cultures and countries is that they have no concept of what that might look like.

      I love your position that choice is a human right, and that the consequences for our choices are ours, as well. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  9. on ,
    Clay said:


    Nice Piper. Self govt was built into this part of the world from the time the English showed up. Maybe freedom was inevitable. As Thomas Paine asked, how can an island control a continent?

  10. If only the majority share the same sentiment of our founding fathers. However, there’s a “fourth” branch of the government: the media. Somehow, this “branch” makes us cower in fear or get so angry that we attack another country without enough evidence. Somehow, this “fourth branch” is the invisible branch of the government which twists our attention away from the real issues.

    • Interesting that you should label the media as the “fourth branch.” I will have to think on that. Thank you for your comment and for stopping by.

  11. on ,
    kadja1 said:


    Hey guys! I have a novel idea! Let’s make “Thomas Paine’s” works required reading for grades 4 on up from now on!

    • That might amount to education, which is strictly forbidden on account that it might offend someone who disagrees with the notion of acquiring knowledge. Thanks for stopping by!

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