Human Interest


Americans recently celebrated the most patriotic holiday of them all, the 4th of July. It’s the day America celebrates her independence from the iron-handed rule of England and the British monarchy. Remember the phrase “taxation without representation”? Great Britain was taxing the American colonists for just about anything they could. 

For many years, Britain imposed law after law that taxed colonists for items they used in everyday life—newspapers, books, legal documents, sugar, coffee, lumber, and tea. The Stamp Act was particularly loathsome because it forced the new Americans to help the British pay down debt from the French and Indian War, a conflict in which Americans had no role. Additionally, Britain passed “the 5 Intolerable Acts,” one of which (the Quartering Act) forced colonists to quarter (house) British soldiers in their homes. These were the very soldiers sent to enforce the laws the colonists totally rejected. The colonists were not permitted to send representatives to Britain or have any say or objection to the taxation laws. Revolution ensued. 

Independence from British and monarchal control was declared in the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, a document drafted by the second Continental Congress. It marks the day when the United States of America officially declared itself a self-governed, independent nation. Annually, Americans remember why America exists and celebrate the events in the mid-1700’s that led to establishing the country we are blessed to live in today.

The 4th of July is a happy holiday. It’s a day of fun, family, country, and good will! Who doesn’t like picnics, backyard ball games, warm, sunshine-drenched summer days, a dip in the pool, or fireworks at dusk? Who doesn’t think America, specifically, the United States, is the best country in the world? Who doesn’t think our founding fathers were brilliant people who wanted a country with citizens free to live as they wanted and to govern themselves? 

Fortunately, the majority of Americans (probably 99.9%) still love America. They still have respect for our flag, our Constitution, our National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, and believe America is a force for good in the world. Unfortunately, a very loud, very angry, very jaded .1% of the population of the U.S. has attempted to exert their negative mindset on the rest of the nation. They very publicly say they hate the 4th of July and everything it represents. They hate America because the founding fathers were slave owners and stole land from native Americans (formerly called indians). They rail about America’s colonialism, nationalism, imperialism, and how we are destroying the environment and oppressing nations to follow a creed that is inherently evil. They rail about how we mistreated native Americans, forced African Americans into slavery, and became white supremacists; because of all our country’s faults, they claim we shouldn’t pay tribute to our independence. Our country does not deserve to be praised and revered. 

These “haters” spew animus and claim you are the hater if you praise those who committed atrocities. In their minds, they are atrocities by 21st century standards, but a cultural norm when they occurred in the 1770’s. What was considered acceptable in 1776 evolved over centuries into what is now considered despicable. Values change, behaviors change, norms change, and usually for the better. For these folks to now say America is evil because of what was culturally acceptable 250 years ago is wrong. To denigrate a whole nation, its entire past history, and its present day status because of behaviors that are now not acceptable is wrong. But I think these folks are ideologues who would hate America, regardless. 

Instead, they should acknowledge how America has progressed by ending slavery, preserving individual rights, allowing freedoms of speech, thought, religion, etc. to endure, and to correct the wrongs of the past. They should heap praise upon what America has become, not focus on what it was or where it has been. They should not erase the memory of the men who founded this country because in spite of cultural flaws, they were able to design the best system of government and society ever developed. 

July 4th is an important day in American history. It’s a day we all should be proud of because it told the world we have a new plan that’s better. We are our own country with our own organization, with individual freedoms, and opportunity for all. Those who focus on the negatives of 250 years ago are ignoring all the good America has accomplished since. The founding fathers owned slaves and displaced native Americans, true. But they also had the wisdom to say all men were created equal and have the right to live life, be free, and pursue happiness by any means. All men have those rights and given how America has changed over 250 years truly have more opportunities than other citizens anywhere. Changing the minds of those who can’t see the good in America is very difficult and makes one wonder what they see as good besides themselves—Probably nothing!

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  1. Let’s hope the world will be a better place for our kids, grandkids, and so on.
    I worry about their futures.
    Nice blog

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