Are We Truly Worthy of Our Freedoms?
Reflections on the 245th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Independence Day, July 4th, is the day countless millions of Americans celebrate our independence and honor those brave men who fought valiantly, and shed their blood, to secure the blessings of Liberty for themselves and their posterity.
Or do we? Honor them, we mean.
Our forefathers believed so deeply in the cause of Liberty that they, a rag-tag band of ill-equipped, untrained, out-gunned, out-manned farmers, merchants, blacksmiths, and tradesmen, took on the mightiest military force the world had ever seen.
At Breed’s Hill, a small band of colonial soldiers, running low on gunpowder and ammunition, heeded Col. William Prescott’s famous command to not fire upon the advancing Redcoats until they saw “the whites of their eyes.” At Valley Forge, these same soldiers suffered months of disease, deprivation, and starvation, enduring the cruel, bitterly cold winter, many without shoes or coats, sleeping on the frozen ground, going days without food, dying by the hundreds of smallpox, dysentery, and typhoid fever.
They went months without pay, on meager rations, knowing their wives and children were left home to fend for themselves against the wanton savagery of the British soldiers and the American loyalists to King George.
They did all of this because they believed in the revolutionary idea that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
No longer were we as Americans to be subjects of a tyrannical king, but instead, we would form a new government where the people, as children of God, are the sovereigns, and where government is subject to us.
We can’t help but wonder what our Founding Fathers, who sacrificed so much, would think of their posterity. Americans in 1775 were so outraged over a three pence tax on tea, and the attempt of British soldiers to confiscate their muskets, that they went to war!
Today, millions of Americans meekly submit to the tyrannical dictates of a government that tells us we can’t go out in public without a mask, or gather in groups of more than four or five (which is smaller than many families!), and that we must stay six feet away from everyone else. We are being threatened with restrictions on travel unless we submit to being injected with a vaccine.
Where we once went to war over a tea tax, today Americans compliantly allow government to confiscate roughly half (or more) of our earnings in the form of federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, unemployment taxes, property taxes, vehicle taxes, sales taxes, SPLOSTs, corporate taxes, death/inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes, retirement taxes, etc. And that doesn’t even include the litany of fees we are forced to pay on top of these taxes.
To make it worse, government then seeks to control every single aspect of our lives, no matter how inconsequential or arbitrary. Government controls how much water can flow through our toilets, how much salt can be in our foods, whether we can clear brush from our land, where we can send our children to be educated, how we save for our retirement, and what kind of health insurance we are allowed to have.
In public schools and on college campuses, we now have “free speech zones,” small spaces where those who want to espouse conservative and religious speech are allowed to engage with their fellow students and the public. Students are threatened with suspension for handing out copies of the Constitution, and mainstream religious beliefs are now treated as “hate speech” and prohibited.
So, we ask again, are we truly honoring the sacrifices of our Founding Fathers, and the subsequent generations of Patriots, who died to secure and protect these liberties? Or have we taken them for granted so long that we are now at risk of losing our liberties without a fight, and with little more than a whimper?
On April 17, 1776, Founding Father John Adams, writing to his wife Abigail, declared: “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”
But perhaps even more applicable in our day are the words of his cousin, Samuel Adams, who with the Sons of Liberty, protested unjust taxation by throwing an entire shipload of tea into the Boston Harbor in what came to be known as the Boston Tea Party.
Of those who would meekly submit to tyranny, rather than stand up again fight against oppression, he said: “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, ‘What should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
So on this 245th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we must each look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Am I worthy of the sacrifices of my forefathers? Or have I allowed their blood to be shed in vain?”
Our government has far exceeded the constitutional limits of its power, and has become little different from, and in many cases worse than, the tyrannical rule of the government of King George, against whom we rebelled.
It is still within our power to peacefully restore our government as a servant of, rather than the master, of We the People. But it takes each of us becoming educated on the Constitution and founding principles of freedom, and engaging in the return of government to its proper boundaries. It will take effort, and there will be resistance from those who enjoy the reins and perks of power.
But the memory of our forefathers, and the future of our children and our children’s children, demands no less.
Will you rise to the challenge of our day?
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