It seems funny that I should feel compelled to comment on the 4th of July – Independence Day – because everybody I know is aware of exactly what it means: Separation from England; becoming a completely new country; apart from ownership or control by any other entity; answerable for our actions and responsible only to ourselves for the course and conduct of our business. That’s what we were declaring those 240 years ago. We all get it.
But that’s not the end of it. For example, we celebrated the 4th early, yesterday, with a close and much-loved couple that we seldom get to spend time with because of the distance we live from each other. In a much broader vein, our country is in constant contact with allies like England, Japan, Israel, and countless others. We also keep close ties with not-so-close countries such as China, Russia, Syria, etc. We are independent but not closed-off from others. We celebrate our independence, and sometimes make foolish claims of total separation from the others on our world, but in reality we can do almost nothing independently of the rest of the world.
And I guess that suggests the point of all this: We’ve been subjected to endless months of political nonsense trying to whittle down a large and amazingly varied field of candidates for the presidency of this country. And it would be sad enough if that was the end / object of the circus. But it’s NOT. We are about to elect a new leader of the majority of the “free” world (by our standards), and our choice will effect the entire world for 4 years or more. And with the laughable choices we.ve left ourselves, I can see no other option than to spend the next four years – or longer – apologizing to the world for our silly misunderstanding of the word “Independence”.
“Independence” does not mean isolation; or the freedom to conduct ourselves or our affairs with total disregard for their consequences on anyone else. It implies a maturity and dedication to our country that takes responsibility for ourselves as a nation and includes the care and wellbeing of those we hold dear. Just as we delighted in sharing our meal and warm feelings with friends and family yesterday, this country’s independence means it will embrace and hold close those countries in this world that assist and support us, as well as those who might be swayed by example to join with us in the conduct of our daily lives. (God this sounds “preachy”!) How truly sad that we now face the virtual certainty of failing in our obligations to OURSELVES first, and to the rest of the world by virtue of the simple fact of our independent place in it.