As the parades march down the roads of towns and villages across the county, as we prepare cookouts, and then wander down to our parks for the fireworks it is easy to get caught up in the festivities, our families and our communities. We may sing some songs, we will drink some beer, and we will wave some flags, but will we spend any time considering how we became a nation and the courage the founding fathers showed?
We get all caught up in the politics of today with distinctions between liberal, progressive and conservative. I am not sure the meanings we use today would match the definitions used in the past, but I think one thing is unmistakable. The men who joined together to alter the path of empire, and the individuals in the country who joined with them were bound by a vision of the future we can only envy today. They were progressive beyond anything we are willing to accept in their willingness to challenge the norm. They were liberal in a way we cannot conceive where the ideas a new way were debated. Where tolerance for opposing ideas were shown in every debate and everything was challenged and minds changed in debate as we faced a common hardship.
The one thing they were not was conservative in their views of government, but they bent to accommodate those who were, recognizing that change is only institutionalized if the majority agrees. The religious differences were as strong then as today, but they recognized that to survive and prosper civil government and the church must be separate.
Today those have issue with the churches seek to use the government as a bludgeon against those institutions.
So what do we celebrate this Independence Day? Is it a time to reflect on our commonality, or demand we recognize our differences? If we focus on the later, then I am afraid the number of future Independence Day celebrations will be limited.