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Saturday, July 4, 2009

This American Revolution: Thoughts on What’s Really American or UnAmerican!

On this Independence Day while most people are thinking of BBQ's and fireworks, I am asking you to think about what your personal freedom means to you. This an excellent assay, except the part about being a proud "Democracy". This nation was founded as a Constitutional REPUBLIC and NOT a democracy, but it was changed to a representative democracy under FDR leaving the power with politicians instead of the people.

A timely essay to forward and share with folks of all walks:
This American Revolution
Thoughts on What’s Really American or UnAmerican!
by Jesse Hardin
Whether you love the spirit of it or hate its martial airs,  the 4th of July is one of the most meaningful of holidays, commemorating as it does a time when an empowered populous chose freedom and regional self determination over the rules and benefits of the British empire, when mostly good and brave hearted people opted to be outlaws rather than kowtow to what they saw as intrusive and unjust regulation from afar.  1776 was a time of revolutionary ideas, personal courage and individual liberty, a true high mark that we have slipped further away from every decade since.
This country was founded in the spirit of acting on one’s personal conscience.  Belief in oneself, taking care of the family, love of the land, loyalty to one’s place.  Personal initiative, willing risk, daring adventure, and attempting the seemingly impossible.  Regionalism, self sufficiency and home rule.  While I am distinctly a Libertarian not a nationalist, I must point out to every proud flag-waver that it is characteristically American and wholly patriotic to question, provoke and resist authority.  To stand out from the crowd, dare to look or act different from the prevailing trend or fads.  To listen and respond to the needs of our hearts.  To heed not rules and orders so much as what we instinctively know to be right and wrong.  To choose freedom and opportunity over “security” and regulation.  To mouth off and make waves.  To prefer disorganized, ineffectual and contending political interests over uni-body, uni-voice, all powerful, uncontested government.   To do whatever the hell we want, so long as it does not harm or impinge upon the freedoms of others.  To be compassionate but firm, peaceful by nature but fierce when defending what matters, deeply loving yet impressively strong.
And while I get sick and tired of hearing people, groups and ideas conveniently labeled “UnAmerican” all the time, I must say that if anything it is UnAmerican to conform, blend in or lay-back.  To acquiesce, surrender, or compromise our core personal beliefs.  To give up our dreams in order to make life easier for us, or change who we really are in order to be accepted by anybody or anything.  To believe everything we read or automatically assume the media or government know best.  To buckle under pressure, be blindly obedient or bow to vested authorities when when we know they have it wrong.  While we are a proud democracy, it is nonetheless patently UnAmerican for us to assume the opinions of the majority are necessarily correct, or that “going with the flow” is always the best way to go.  And while we honor the rule of law, we must still choose doing right even it means being labeled outlaws.
When Thomas Jefferson spoke about the need for a new revolution every generation, he was not talking about revolutionary technological leaps, “revolutionary legislation,” a “revolutionary new administration” or “revolutionary new prices.”  He was pointing to no less than the periodic overturning of established political interests, preventing the solidification of power in the hands of any special interest group, making sure that national or global interests never run roughshod over local communities and concerns, ensuring that conscience and not finance be the primary determining factor in deciding the direction this country goes.  He saw the benefits of fractious discourse and stalled regulation, disagreement and dissension.  And he was also aware of the danger of monolithic systems as well as elite amalgams such as the largest international corporations have become.
By Thomas’ measure, we are several generations late in doing the work of revolution: reconfiguring, re-evolving, reinventing, recreating, and making real again.  He knew this was not a matter of shifting trends so much as becoming new and honest over and over again, through the sacrifices and efforts of wild eyed patriots as we have always been called, and even if it means the shedding our American blood.  Resistance and rethinking are not simply tales of history that we wax nostalgic about, it is our patriotic calling.  While enjoying the festivities of July 4th, let us hear in the explosions of fireworks the thunder that awakens, and recognize in the colorful displays the infinite possibilities that await.
(share as you will… and always act on your conscience)

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