July 4, 2017: Independence Day

It’s so obvious. I should write about Independence Day. No big angst about what my topic should be today!

Independence. What does it mean? I’ll throw out a few examples of what I think it means to me. I’m free to write whatever I want here short of libel. I’m free to hold whatever opinion I care to, and can express it without fear of the government knocking on my door to tell me to stop. Not everyone on our planet can say that. I’m free to consume whatever media I want, regardless of it’s political affiliation. It’s my choice to ignore whatever media I choose too. I’m free to work where I choose, or not at all. I’m free to go to whatever church I want, or not at all. I’m free to travel where I’d like in the United States, or not. There may be some consequences to my choices, but government does not dictate these choices for me.

Some will argue that not everyone in our society is as free as I am, that I am privileged. We’re not a perfect society. It is more difficult for a black man to feel free to choose his work, or free to speak up, or free to travel freely. I acknowledge that and those things should be fixed – now. We need to live up to our ideal as expressed in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It’s shameful that this did not apply to everyone equally from the very beginning, but surely there is no excuse for unequal treatment in 2017. Even given that we’re not perfect, we’re pretty darn free to do as we please here and for that we should be grateful.