Thursday, July 4, 2013

An Idea, Not a Place.

Today is July 4th, the day we celebrate our independence; and if you’re like most Americans, you’ll celebrate it in similar fashion: burgers and beer, boating and the beach, bar-b-que, and of course, fireworks. But what are you really celebrating? I’m challenging you to think about what all this means a little more today...

On a hot July day in 1776, a group of men, the Continental  Congress, finished and signed a document that would change the course of history. In one swift move, and under penalty of certain death, they gave the most powerful man on the planet, King George, the finger. They informed him, and the rest of the world, in no uncertain terms that they were starting a new nation, based on some very basic principles:

  1. People have the right to express themselves, worship their personal God, and live without fear of government.
  2. Said people also have the right to fair treatment if they screw up, and have the right to keep the government at bay with the use of deadly force. 

There, I’ve summed up the declaration of independence and constitution in four lines. 

But what does it really mean?

It means that America isn’t a place. It’s an idea. America is about freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. The American ideal says “we don’t need the government to take care of us, we can do it ourselves”. Today, I fear some of that is lost, which is were I get to the most important part of this blog: You.

What are you willing to do to preserve the American ideal? If we don’t keep it alive and defend it, those men did that work for nothing. 

If we don’t defend it, then the soldiers who fought in Pennsylvania 150 years ago this week, did it for nothing. 

And if we don’t defend it, then the thousands of young men who grew up in the depression, and traveled half a world a way to storm beaches in France and on Iwo Jima, they too, did it for nothing.

So here’s what I’m asking: As you flip burgers, or crack open another beer, or take another lap around the lake, ask yourself:

What am I willing to lay before the alter of Freedom to ensure this idea lives on?

If we are willing to sacrifice, in some way, then this Great Nation of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not parish from the earth.

Happy fourth of July everyone.