Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4th: some perspective

I'm half watching, half listening to the History Channel's The Revolution as I write this. Taken in total, that our nation was ever able to be formed, much less succeed and prosper is an amazing thing, and shows divine intervention over and over again. In school, we get the textbook information of dates and names, which is boring. If I had been taught the truths of what was really going on, I would probably have a much, much different view of history in those days, and I would not have taken all these years to understand what was at stake.

The English felt that they were treating the Colonies fairly, and had just spent a whole bunch of money defending them by whuppin' the French in the French and Indian War. The Colonists, obviously, felt quite differently about it. They were being taxed without any representation in England for their concerns, problems, or grievances. The Colonists came to a place where they knew they were not going to have things getting better under the King of England, and they were being oppressed. They decided it was time to throw off that tyranny. As a kid, I remembered thinking, "Well, yeah. Of course they would. That's an easy choice". What they were really facing was much more grave than I was able to understand for a long, long time.

Simply by signing the Declaration of Independence, our Founders took their lives in their hands. Think about what was going on there: John Hancock, the first signer, put his name at the top, literally defiance writ large. The King will know his name and he's made himself a target. That doesn't just mean he can be arrested, although it includes that. No Miranda rights, no civil liberties being recognized. In addition to risking being killed, he also risked his family and friends. Mr. Hancock could have been tortured and maimed. Being declared guilty of sedition didn't mean they'd just haul you out and hang you or shoot you. Being executed didn't have to be quick and painless. It could be much worse than that. Given the rights we now enjoy because of the Framer's work, it's easy to neglect what a big deal that is. Try to imagine the consequences of what he was facing. If you don't at least think "wow", you're not grasping he situation.

But because he and the rest of the Founding Fathers knew what they were getting into and stood to anyway, we have the nation that we have now, the best place in the world to be. Don't let July 4th pass as just a day you grill some food and don't have to go to work. It is that, and I have cherished memories of celebrating the 4th with friends and family, but it is so much more. It is a day in which we must, as American citizens, citizens of the greatest nation ever to exist on the planet, reflect on what we've been given and what was risked to make it happen.

God Bless America.

2 comments:

DirtCrashr said...

She's quite a hottie!

Haji said...

And she has a wonderful voice. Martina McBride rocks!