Fireworks will glitter on the horizon all over this country tonight. The entire country will be blanketed with summer air that’s weighted down with the heavy scent of sulfurous emissions from the explosions overhead.
We will celebrate the 4th of July, the day we took our independence from an authority we had outgrown, and the birth of a new “us” that was free of the rule of a physically distant extortionist. We became America; the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Somehow the ingenuity of a group of men from a various backgrounds was enough to propel a change that has lasted over 200 years. But has this compelling desire to be our own bosses truly endured or has it simply been quietly seized and put into shackles while everyone was distracted?
We the people is supposed to apply to all of us. The idea of self-governance carries with it such a weighty responsibility that so many easily put aside. The manic pursuit of personal supremacy over anything or anyone foolish enough to tell you to save some for the next guy has ruined our moral compass.
Individuals naturally seek to improve their immediate situation, especially from a financial or domestic perspective. The snare is that so often we start to get a taste of plenty, and the rest of the world be damned! We’ve cleared that next tax bracket and it’s time to start spending more money to make ourselves feel better about the people in the world that suffer with so little – all the while pulling in our chips with both arms.
This lust for more is only matched by our lust for might. We have trained our children to see war as entertainment, violence as a fact of life, and environmental plundering as a God-given-right. Far too many have forgotten that we celebrate our independence by re-creating the battle that won us our freedom. Those displays of beautiful lights and ear-pounding booms, the oohs and the ahs that follow, are all meant to remind us that there is a time when war becomes necessary -if only to stop the wicked few from becoming powerful enough to hurt the many.
Ultimately, greed without empathy is the heartbeat of this problem. Our oceans (and even our plain-lands) are being irrevocably damaged by our perceived need for oil each year, as the technology we should have been transitioning to decades ago is finally coming down off American manufacturers’ dusty shelves. The industrial revolution should never be looked at as a mere moment in our history. Technological advancement has been corralled far too long by the industry that feeds fuel to our outdated internal-combustion engines.
When the rich use their resources to stop the forward progress of the greater good and contain the momentum of an industry that could save the planet, save us money, AND give us something to take pride in, something has got to change. This change is not going to be given to us by any one man or party.
Each and every one of us needs to start actively seeking accountability from our government and the powerful companies that bankroll it. The system has become so large, and so complicated, that no one operator could ever monitor all of it’s functions. The creation, interpretation and execution of our laws has become quite a bit like Wall Street. At times they seem to be the same person, leaving a room in one costume and coming back in wearing another.
Government has become so large we no longer see the edges of it, and nearly forget it’s there. It’s machinations, similar to the scrolling green streams of alpha-numerics on the monitors over the stock exchange selling floor, are like Greek to the average American. We understand what’s happening there, in a general sense, but the details of it are a leap-of-faith. We have little choice but to assume that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to and no one is allowed to tip the scales. There is always some choice, however, and more than a shadow of doubt about the balance.
If we take the time to question the roots and the fiber of our current socio-economic condition, one factor at a time, it would create a hope for change. It’s time to awaken the next sleeping giant: the American people. The small percentage of the powerful has had this game rigged for a long time. Some argue it has been from the beginning, and others are only starting to recognize the signs of something “fishy” in the subtext.
Whatever happens in the next election, the next few years, the next decade… we must awaken. There are still more of us than there are of them. We are a multitude splintered by the deception that we are as different from each other as we are from them. It is a lie. We may never agree to respect each other’s beliefs or lifestyles or activities… but don’t we all agree to our rights to have them? Isn’t that what this country was founded on, and what makes our chest swell up with pride when a flag goes by in the parade? The ideal that connects thousands of people in arenas and sporting events when the anthem is played?
Respect your neighbor, and have enough self-respect to sit up and take notice of your local governance. Change begins within each of us, and can only be spread if we’re willing to acknowledge it as at least one tie that binds us together as a people. Even if it’s the only one, it’s the one that keeps us all moving forward. It is this desire to change the odds, to take the yoke down off of our shoulders and grab the reins instead, that makes us one people.
My father was a patriot. He taught me that personal responsibility is a big part of life, freedom, and being a leader. Please remember this year, when you’re celebrating independence day with the people you care about, that living in a free country carries responsibility. We had all better sit up and take notice, or the freedoms we take for granted are going to fade away into the darkness of yesterday.
You don’t have to enjoy politics to live here, but you sure as hell better pay attention to the guys holding all the funds. They are looking to sell our future out from under us, and they’re already getting away with it. Be vigilant, be informed… and be a part of the new revolution.
Happy Independence Day.