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Thinking about Independence, Tyranny, and Responsibility

Have you ever thought much about our independence other than what you learned in history class or celebrations of national import?

We hear about Constitutional rights and amendments that are guaranteed and protected - free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to vote, due process, and the right to representation in the government. 

But how did we get here - a government of, by, and for the people?

In a word, we rebelled. We took matters into our own hands and stood up to tyranny. 

What is tyranny? Tyranny is the cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control. But what does this look like? What form does it take?

Tyranny is a repeated pattern of injury and usurpation against a group of people. Laws for the common good are not passed. The power of the local government is opposed and threatened with dire consequences by tyrants. People are expected to forfeit their right to representation in the name of the greater good of the ONE. Expected protections are eroded or weakened. Prevents the naturalization of foreign-born citizens. Obstructs justice and threatens the independence of judges. Gives assent to legislative measures not following the laws of the land. Cuts off our trade with all parts of the world. Alters the fundamental forms of our government. Incites domestic insurrections among the people.

Such acts are unworthy of the head of a civilized nation, and such a person, whose character is marked by such acts of tyranny, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Such a person will have no qualms about removing the protections we are guaranteed, leaving us at the mercies of foreign threats.

Now in case you are wondering just where these thoughts have come from, I have a ready answer for you. These thoughts were taken from the Declaration of Independence, summarizing the explanation of why the American States could no longer submit themselves to the will of England and her king. 

When we think of the Fourth of July, what first comes to mind is freedom. After all, isn't that what independence is all about? But with freedom and independence comes greater responsibility. Some liberties are limited for our own good - with age, we have a better understanding of what our own limitations are but not always. As we age, these rights and responsibilities grow. When we reach a certain age, we can drive, but there are rules and laws we must obey for the greater good and safety of all who share the road with us and to avoid an indiscernible pattern of chaos. When one lives in a country with others, people must work together, coming to a consensus on just how this freedom will take form. For us, this takes the form of elections. When we turn 18, we can vote, this gives us a voice in who represents us, on new laws, and measures of taxation. Sometimes one will have to give up something for the greater good of the whole, but we have so much to gain in the end. 

As we celebrate this Day of Independence, please give thought as to what this means in your life, community, state, and nation.

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