The Fourth of July is on the horizon this week, and with all the tumult that goes on during an election year, perhaps it is helpful to remember why 1776 still reverberates with us as Americans. Independence Day really is a watermark for when our country sought freedom from the tyranny that was England. We are one of the world's oldest democracies, yet what makes our country and our people unique from others? Commentators throughout the years look at our freedoms as the lynch pin for our country. We have so many freedoms today, that sometimes we grow a bit lazy embracing these freedoms and, forget how precious these freedoms are.
The recent tirade over the ruling on "Obamacare," shows that Americans want their independence, but it is from a new tyrant, their own government. Government has gotten too big and has been wounded by the capitalism that made it great as we are in a Recession due to unbridled greed that threatens the fabric of our economy, including medical care. Chief Justice Roberts saw this as a historical issue and bent over to find a way to constitutionally justify health coverage.
The framers of the Constitution certainly had little idea that our country would expand from coast to coast, or that you could step on a plane and traverse the country in a few hours, or press a button and be linked into the rest of the world, receiving information and news within milliseconds. Jefferson saw the Constitution as a breathing document, suggesting a constitutional convention every 99 years or so to update the document. Democracies grow and change with the advent of time, yet our democracy imbued with all these freedoms still survives despite the gridlocking Congress and a "house," much more divided that existed in 1860. It would seem that since we all would like to be labeled as patriots, that the freedoms that are our ideal would catapult us forward past these deadlocks which seem to draw us down like an anchor. It is time to remember that we are the United States of America and that being free comes with a price and an agreement that certain laws and institutions must exist for the common good. This thought is where the ideal of maintaining our freedoms perhaps is conditioned about doing what is best for our country in 2012. It seems we all have a deep contempt for our leaders who also seem not to be patriots in office for the betterment of our country. We should remind them that July 4 is more than fireworks and displaying red, white, and blue clothing. July 4 is our annual calling to review ourselves as Americans, akin to how Jews treat Yom Kippur, to assess our standing as Americans, and as the defenders of freedom here and abroad. Freedom does come with a price and the price includes the obligation to get our country out of the doldrums of economic malaise and to again hoist the flag, not of a house divided or a snake to be tread upon, but to hoist a banner where freedom is also the ability to live in a country where it is one for all and all for one.