Independence Day – we like to call it “The 4th of July” – we celebrate it with family cook-outs with hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and close the day out with sparklers and fireworks. But, when was the last time you or I really stopped to consider the deeper meanings of this day? What too many of us don’t know is that July 4, 1776 wasn’t the day we gained our Independence from English rule – it was the day we declared (and knew that we must fight for the right to have) our freedom. Too many of us have become so separated from our nation’s historical origins that we only know July 4th as an extra day off from work, when in fact it was the day that our Forefathers set out to do the hardest, most perilous, and dangerously life-threatening work.
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So, why did our Forefathers take these measures. What does it mean to be independent and free? Let’s step into the way-back machine and imagine a time when the citizens were being taxed and oppressed in order to finance a group of self-important elites who lived the high life on the backs of ordinary people – just like us – workers, farmers, shopkeepers and tradesmen and women. The powerful attempting to make the power-less even ever more-so.
When the citizens complained, the ruling class replied with more oppressive laws. When the people requested relief, the rulers handed down crushing taxation. In desperation the citizens pressed back with pleas for mercy, the rulers, fearing an uprising of backlash, began stripping the citizens of the tools they needed to survive – their firearms. Firearms were (and are) integral to daily life – the ability to hunt for food, defend homes, and protect the lives of loved ones from both four-legged and two legged predators.
Those who sat in lofty seats of power and prestige became convinced that they, their lives and their families were more important than those of the citizens. They believed that these people held only enough value as they could supply the Kings with labor and tax dollars to finance the whims and wants of these rulers.
Come to think of it…maybe we don’t have to get into the way back machine to see how it was for these people. Maybe we have allowed ourselves to be much less independent than what our Forefathers intended. We just might have slipped back, one little step at a time, to being servants being crushed under the feet of tyrants.
One political party or the other thinks up some “Common-Sensy” sounding idea, that requires we “all do our part” to give up “just a little bit of our personal freedoms” for “the greater good” – the media knits together a pretty little noose of fancy words, and then we – without even thinking about what so many fought for, slip the noose around our own necks…one compromise at a time. I can only imagine how frustrated with us our Founders would be if they knew how often we take comfort over Constitutional Principles. How ready we are to throw away and ignore all that they and generations of soldiers and families sacrificed because some politician somewhere manufactured a few fake tears while the cameras were rolling.
The Rights-Restrictors are counting on the fact that we don’t know our history. They are gleefully Pied-Pipering the new generation of voters down streets built on shifting sands of lies and policies that have been shown to be the ruin of nations as far back as humans have been recording history. They want so much for Independence Day to be simply The 4th of July, and to distract us with bright shiny sparklers and fireworks.
Now, I love fireworks and sparklers! And I say, yes, let’s enjoy the time we have been given with our families, and wonder at the spectacle of celebration, but do so with the knowledge that those fireworks and celebrations were earned by people who experienced explosive battles and hand to hand combat and near starvation in order to win our right to even have the rights that are spelled out in our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights.
So, how do we do that? Do just one thing differently this Independence Day. If you’ve never invested the hour it will take to read our Constitution – do that with your morning coffee. If all you know about George Washington is that he supposedly chopped down a cherry tree – grab a few minutes reading a reputable biography on this man, who with all of his accomplishments, really saw himself as a farmer who wanted so much to have spent more time at his beloved Mount Vernon home. If you haven’t been to a museum of American History – take your family and arrange for a guided tour. Our history is complicated, it is messy, and it isn’t always pretty – but it is a history like no other nation ever has or likely ever will be – it is ours – and it is worthy of our time and attention. And, once you have learned something new, I pray it will ignite a fire in you and create a hunger for more knowledge that will forever realign the way you and your family think about and appreciate Independence Day.
Cheryl Todd, owner of AZFirearms.com and cohost of Gun Freedom Radio, has more than 30 years of experience in the firearms industry. She holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, which allows her to bring a unique voice to the gun world. View all posts by Cheryl Todd