Happy Independence Day! Remember and honor those who declared and fought for our liberty – even if misguided in many things, incomplete in their understanding, and unable to actually achieve all that was needed. At least by our lights, looking back with perfect 20-20 hindsight.
More than two decades ago, my family started “celebrating” the “real” Independence Day – the 2nd of July, AD 1776. That was the day the Continental Congress took the bold step of accepting and approving the Declaration of Independence. As recorded by several members. It was a Congress entirely made up of men (human males), but supported and clearly approved of by their wives, their families, and at least enough of their communities (men and women) to fight for seven long years to win that independence.
We don’t really “celebrate” it with the fireworks and flag waving and picnics and speechafying – we do that on the 3rd or 4th or 5th: duty and work and travel in consideration. What we do actually is spend time contemplating, studying, discussing, and trying to better understand what independence – community and individual – means. And those closely related concepts of liberty, freedom, responsibility, and accountability. And the objective of having those things, of being independent and free.
We also spend time in thanksgiving for what the people of 1776 and since did, to establish (and regain) liberty, freedom, and more. And for the blessings we and our ancestors (and our descendants) have as a result of their efforts. And for the providence which they were graced with.
We recognize that they, like all men and women, are fallible, prone to many sins and many, many mistakes, and did things which we know (and probably which they too knew) were wrong – even evil.
But we believe that the blessings we, the people of the Fifty States, and for that matter, the people of the world, have in the past and now, are greater than the wrongs and the evils caused by their actions.
This year, as you might imagine, our discussions and studies and even our prayers, are highly influenced by the catastrophe of this year of our Lord 2020. Not just the events which triggered this dire circumstance, but the actions and words which led to those events.
We are in a civil war both in the Fifty States and across many of the world’s nations. It is not a “war between the States” as America suffered in 1861-65. It is not a war of independence as Americans endured from 1776-1783, or as the peoples of Latin America lived through in the first several decades of the Nineteenth Century. It is closer to what the Russians and other peoples of their empire suffered 1917-1925. Or the French people (and eventually most of the people of Europe) had to live through between 1787 and 1815.
It is not yet “very” bloody – although it is certainly causing a considerable number of casualties, if we include not just those who have died from actual violence or the COVID-19 pandemic, but those who have died, been injured and crippled (physically – and mentally) from the actions taken by stupid people for stupid reasons and in fear and panic.
Although both of these are “black swan events” in the ideas and words of too many politicians, “leaders,” and media of all types, there are those of us who have this nagging feeling that these things, if not intentionally triggered by some group, are planned to take advantage of these events when they inevitably happened.
And especially we pray and discuss what will eventually come of these things. Not just these events (the Pandemic Panic and Twenty-Dollar Rebellion, as we call them). But the NEXT events – accidental or purposeful – now that it has been demonstrated that so much can be done with these things as excuses.
Inevitably, we ask ourselves, is this the LAST Independence Day? Not that this is the last year that people will celebrate Independence Day or the “Fourth of July.” No doubt there will be many who continue to do so with picnics and parades and fireworks and stirring music and speeches and videos and the like. But will their celebrations be as meaningless as most people’s celebrations of other holiday? (Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day and Labor Day all come to mind.) And the same claims of the importance of those events 244 years ago will continue to be proclaimed, no doubt.
But they will be as meaningless as it would be for Americans to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday, or for us to celebrate the founding of Rome, or the last day of the Reconquista of Spain in 1492. For what those actions led to: independence, freedom, liberty, and prosperity, will have largely disappeared. Not just from this land, but perhaps much or all of the earth. And may never be taken to space.
Just something to think about on this 2nd of July, A.L. (Anno Libertatus) 244, A.D. (Anno Domini) 2020.