Fourth of July becoming a memorial
The Fourth of July is upon us again. In all the frantic preparations for this so-called “freedom celebration,” we mostly lose sight of what it is really supposed to be about.Getting the camper or the tent ready and selecting a campground in the mountains or on a lake occupies our time.
What was it that our ancestors understood as freedom, that was so precious to them that they left their ancestral homes and, at great risk and sacrifice, traveled to a new land?First and foremost, I believe it was freedom from.Freedom from excessive government control, freedom from excessive taxation and freedom from intrusive interference in their lives by a ruling class that thought they were omnipotent. Does any of that sound familiar?It seems that every society and culture is burdened with those who are sure that they alone know what is best for everyone.The assumption is made that the general population is too stupid to know what they need or else they are devious and up to something.Learning from experience is a thing of the past.
My dad used to say, “Count that day lost in which you don’t catch hell for something.” Basically, that meant that if you were really going to accomplish something, you needed to think and work outside of the box. Success was built on taking risks and learning from experience. The apostle Peter may have sunk, but he was the only one who got out of the boat.Dad also used to say, “I hope your first wreck doesn’t kill you.” That was rather rude, but he understood that no matter how skillful I was, there was some understanding that comes only from experience.How so many of us survived without mandatory crash tests, air bags and seat belts, I’ll never know. I’m surprised they don’t require seat belts for rodeos. Oops! Now they will make a new law. How about air bags on rodeo bulls?So much for freedom from. There was also the freedom to. Freedom to be creative, freedom to carve out a new life, freedom to cut down trees and build a home, freedom to prove your self-sufficiency and freedom to discover new places and new things. Finally, freedom to be your own person and not just be what some ruler thinks you should be.Many of us love to take risks. Just watch hang gliders or motorcycle stunt riders.The most exciting risk of all must have been the challenge of traveling to a new land and building a new country and building a new life, while at the same time proving yourself. Those who succeeded knew a deep satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that we will never know.
With the civil war, we lost states’ rights. With increasing government control, we are losing personal rights. We are just like the frog in the pot that doesn’t realize what the rising temperature means until he is boiling. On a scale of 32 to 212 degrees, we are at about 180.It’s pretty tough to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. In today’s culture, you must mortgage your soul to pay for the boots and then you must hire a trained, government licensed strap-puller. That is assuming that you have all the permits in order and have proof of insurance.”Free from” is now virtually impossible. “Free to” is becoming more and more difficult.I’m afraid that the Fourth of July freedom celebration is rapidly becoming a memorial service. Oh well, I’m sure that the government will borrow money from China to pay for our burial. Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.
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