Latest posts by Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O'Neil (see all)
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As the 4th of July draws near, picnics, fireworks and parades will herald the day, but how many of us have forgotten the real meaning of the holiday, that July 4th is this nation’s birthday? Do we remember what this day represents, and why as a nation we have valued and celebrated the 4th? How many of us really value our liberties and freedoms, or have we begun to take them for granted? Our Founding Fathers knew the importance of those concepts, and they fought and died for them. What would they think of our current culture, when many think of the holiday as just a day off from work, an opportunity to party with family and friends? If the 4th of July no longer evokes patriotic pride, and if, as a nation, we lose the true meaning of the holiday, that is a sign Americans are in danger of losing much more.
There is an alarming trend of one-man rule in recent years. As said by F.H. Buckley in his book, The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America: “What we have today is ‘Crown government,’ the rule of an all-powerful president.” It is what founder George Mason called an “elective monarchy,” which Mason thought would be worse than the real thing.
It only took 10% of the colonists to spark the call for freedom from the tyranny of English rule and to set in motion the War for Independence. Fast forward to today, when many Americans have no idea what is happening to this nation, having not yet experienced the full effects of the unwise and lawless policies that have been initiated by a president who has usurped his Constitutional authority.
While political changes continue to occur, many of which are decided behind closed doors, it would be interesting to take a survey to discover how many 4th of July partiers are aware of how elected officials are watering down their very freedoms. Actually, it would be interesting to know how many people today even know the reason why we celebrate the 4th of July.
Why is there an apparent lack of patriotism today? One possibility is due to a group of world-wide leaders who have been advocating a “one-world government”. They have had an influence on our elected officials and population. They argue that national pride and respect for our nation’s sovereignty should not be emphasized. In preaching that opinion, they have gradually tempered some people’s enthusiasm for celebrating the birth of our nation as well as engaging in other patriotic practices, such as saluting our flag.
We know that colleges and universities throughout America are filled with liberal professors who also advocate less patriotism. In fact, the goal of many leaders, worldwide and here at home, is for a one-world government. Consider this quote from Robert Mueller, former Assistant Attorney General of the United Nation:
“We must move as quickly as possible to a one-world government, one-world religion, under a one-world leader.”
What about our American leaders, do they share that goal? Yes, many have bought into that agenda and have made similar statements. Unfortunately, many in the main stream media also support that philosophy President Obama alluded to it when he stated:
“All nations must come together to build a stronger global regime”.
Others have been more blatant, such as Henry Kissinger who proclaimed:
“Today America would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order.Tomorrow they will be grateful. In such a scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government”.
Kissinger’s statement would be fiercely disputed by the brave men and women in 1776. But then, unlike Americans today, our forefathers had a taste of tyranny, and spit it out in disgust. Patriots like Patrick Henry proclaimed: “give me liberty or give me death”. That is the passion many of our forefathers demonstrated.
The notion of a one-world government can be inviting, as it might encourage everyone to live in peace: no wars; no more political fights. Very inviting indeed. However, that idea presumes there could be a government free of corruption, void of all self-interests, one that would reflect only altruistic purposes, and be led by someone with super human powers of fairness and wisdom. Human nature has rarely, if ever, produced such a person and certainly not a group of them.
Sir John Acton in the 1500’s was a wise man and discerning of human nature. You might remember Acton by this famous quote: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Gambling on the premise there could be an incorruptible world governing board or person is too dangerous of an experiment to seriously consider. Yet it is most definitely being seriously discussed at the United Nations. United Nations Agenda 21 is their plan to implement a world-wide system of governing. It has already been approved by most every nation. Our own presidents signed on to it, and its hand prints can already be found in most every city government in America.
Maybe it is time for all Americans to remember how we gained our independence, and most important to learn why our forefathers fought so hard for it. Everyone should reflect on the wisdom and courage of our forefathers and how we, as Americans, have benefited from their actions through the centuries. It is quite a magnificent and amazing story, and well worth remembering.
The colonists, having grown strong in their new land, began to advance ideas of how they would like to shape their new world. However, the English King was using his power and exercising total tyranny over the colonies. He would not entertain any requests from the colonists regarding changing or creating any laws specific to their circumstances, causing them to resent his majesty’s stubborn rule, and creating a serious erosion in any and all bonds they had with England. The colonists yearned for independence. As their resentment grew, so did the number of great men who began to step forth to form a committee that would soon lead to their famous “Declaration of Independence.” In that document they outlined the many grievances they had previously stated to King George III, grievances which went completely unheeded by the King. That document was their desire for freedom, something every man craves, and ultimately it led to the formal declaration of their independence from England on July 4, 1776.
The brave men who signed that document faced grave danger, and they knew their fellow men would as well. The following bold, selfless statement provides a glimpse into the hearts of those who were signaling the end of their tolerance for tyranny and the birth of a nation:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
The war that followed the signing of the document was bloody and prolonged and would ultimately claim more than 27,000 American lives. Men, women, and children would die from horrific wounds, disease, or were declared forever “missing”. The leaders of the revolution were not immune to these hardships and disasters. Five were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons who were serving in the Army, another two had sons captured. Some had their properties looted and destroyed; one saw his wife jailed and watched her die within a few months. They all paid a heavy price for the freedom they sought and victory began to seem impossible. Yet, despite extraordinary odds, the American forces persevered. The British began suffering embarrassing defeats, and finally General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781.
How could the small, rather rag-tag militia defeat the strong British army? The Brits were the best trained, fully equipped, and most professional army in the world at that time. Their Royal Navy was the undisputed ruler of the High Seas. In complete contrast, the Colonists were not adequately trained or equipped, and not even completely unified. What the Colonists did have was a strong determination. They were fighting for their very land and freedom. They fought against oppression. They were battling for more than themselves, it was also for their families and the future of their fledgling country. The majority of them were god-fearing people who depended upon and credited God with their victory. Few could deny at the time that what had been accomplished was truly miraculous. The account of Washington and his rag-tag Continental Army crossing the Delaware on Christmas Eve speaks of great courage and determination in what seemed like insurmountable odds.
That was 238 years ago. Through the years American has had some high and lows, but the “Constitution” and “Bill of Rights” established by those brilliant and visionary men proved to be a profitable experiment beyond even their goals and imagination. However, there was a warning from Benjamin Franklin, as left the Constitutional Convention where he had been debating with other countrymen about what form of government would be best for their new country. Citizens had lined the streets anxiously waiting for the outcome of that secret meeting, when an excited woman in the crowd yelled to Franklin, asking him if the committee had yet decided whether their government would be a republic or a monarch. Franklin replied, “We have given you a Republic Madam, if you can keep it”. That warning must be heeded by all generations, because there will always be those who prefer another form of governing.
The warning from Franklin has stood the test of time. But, it would be a grave mistake for American citizens to take our Constitution for granted. Instead, it must be jealously guarded for any government leader or entity who might try to erode or change that magnificent document that has allowed freedom and prosperity for so long to so many.
The Fourth of July is a time we should all remind ourselves and others of the precious gift we all have been given. Being born in the United States has allowed its citizens freedom and the opportunity to prosper, and most have done just that. Our Constitution and form of government has propelled us into greatness. But, there is always that nagging question presented by Franklin: “Can we keep it?
The 4th of July is a perfect time to share the story of sacrifices of our forefathers throughout our history, and celebrate the unselfish altruism they exhibited. It would be appropriate to thank God for His protection upon our ancestors, and ask that His hand remain upon us. May our generation perpetuate the values and principles of all who went before us.
Make this 4th a special one. Celebrate it in a way that truly honors our forefathers and our country. Consider playing a game or engage your guests in conversations that allow all to learn our history and why we celebrate this important holiday. Let it be a time we all are reminded of why we enjoy our freedom and how we are able to pursue what has become known as “the American dream”. It is important because our children’s future depends upon our passion to keep it.
Many are now beginning to worry that America is broken. Hopefully there are enough true patriots who are willing to come forward and counter detractors in these unsettling times. A spark is definitely needed from today’s patriots to right the wrongs that plague this nation, not unlike those which aroused the colonists 238 years ago. The question is how many of us would be willing to take action today? Who among us would risk all to maintain our freedom and an independent nation. Hopefully, we will never need the answer to that question, but it is one we should look deep within ourselves for the answer. Just as men and women were forced to do July 4, 1776.
Originally published at Illinois Review.