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Cross posted at Notes on a Theory

My hope for Independence Day is that we can start with the small step of calling this day Independence Day, not Fourth of July. It strikes me how odd it is to refer to the day by its date. I suspect it’s partly because of its political content - like so much political language, this seems to be an example of "blunt[ing] the too sharply pointed."

From there, I hope that we can reconnect with the meaning of today and other holidays - like Martin Luther King Day and Labor Day. Perhaps we might also use this day as a chance to think about the ways we have yet to root out royalism / aristocracy in our culture - whether that be the way we treat presidents, senators, celebrities, or the rich.  If we get past the fireworks and barbecue, we often just lionize the people at the top of the American Revolution (who did not make the Revolution, they were only a part of it.)  It’s also worth remembering that those who made the Revolution were putting principle over their loyalty to the country—those who chose the opposite path were not called patriots, they were called loyalists.

It's not just about our country, it's about each one of us and about people around the globe - who have every right to self-determination that our political ancestors had.  Merely using the name Independence Day rather than 4th of July is a small step - thinking and talking about what independence is about today, for all of us, is the key.

The authors of the U.S. Constitution, which arrived some years after the day we celebrate as our nation's birthday, considered their document a living one (which is not the same as indeterminate), one that would safeguard freedom while providing plenty of room for change in future circumstances. They, like those who made the Revolution, knew that the only source of legitimate power was the people, and that government was made for the people, not the other way around. This is, incidentally, precisely why they were wrong to exclude many people from the protections of the Constitution, something we have made great progress on in the interim despite the great deal of work that remains to be done.

In other words, every generation carries the heavy responsibility of founding America anew. Let that sink in.

And today we might also remember that independence, like freedom, doesn’t exist if it can be taken away by your employer or some other non-governmental authority.

Or perhaps maybe (it's a small thing, I know), I could go to the grocery store and not have to see magazines detailing the lives of British princes.

Happy Independence Day.

Posted slightly early due to my own lack of independence from the energy oligopoly. Variations on this rumination have appeared elsewhere in previous years.

Originally posted to David Kaib on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. Notes on a Theory

    by David Kaib on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:56:46 AM PDT

  •  Thanks. (4+ / 0-)

    Here is a comment I made in another diary Sunday evening:

    I'd also like to ask that everyone take a moment as we moved toward Independence Day, and consider what that means both historically and as we look forward. WE as a nation cannot be independent anymore, and we as individuals cannot, either. We ARE connected.

    I don't have some great philosophical summary or conclusion on this. But personally, I need to think about this. Son is entering the Air Force in December and I need to spend time considering how his service, as well as that of millions of others, contributes to OUR well-being as a nation and MY well-being personally.

    We ARE connected, not independent. We need each other, even when we would rather not. We need the helpless as much as they need us. We are connected.

    things to think about this week...

    Tell the people you love that you love them when you can. You don't always get another chance.

    by Melanie in IA on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:14:58 PM PDT

    •  I don't understand 'independence' (4+ / 0-)

      in a way that opposes it to interdependence.  We are interdependent, as Americans with each other, and as a country with the rest of the world.

      I think the Revolution was about ending dependence, a hierarchical relationship, but that meant ensuring interdependence - the states on their own would never have been able to resist Britain.

      We are all connected.  I think MLK put it best:

      We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. Notes on a Theory

      by David Kaib on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:46:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Happy Independence Day, David. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo, David Kaib

    Great diary. Thank you.

    My wife and I ate at an English Pub this evening in San Pedro near the new home of the USS Iowa.

    Tomorrow we will have grits for breakfast.

    I suggest that this will symbolize our throwing off the chains of monarchy.

    (But maybe it was just dinner, then breakfast)

    We enjoy a freedom undreampt of in so many societies.
    We should enjoy them and be proud.

    Please Vote for the Democratic nominee for President in 2012.

    by mungley on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 11:50:56 PM PDT

  •  Have you checked the Google search page today? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib

    The hover message over the logo appears as "Happy 4th of July!" but the top link (as I post this) leads to "Independence Day" on Wikipedia, and the second is to "Fourth of July is Independence Day" at

    Plenty of informative links to follow from each.

    Note: Google's stylized "This Land Was Made For You and Me" logo today is portrayed in blue, red and white --- with blue on top!

    Good on 'em.

    As long as we still have red and blue states, let's hope we can keep the emphasis on the blue for the United States, eh?

    And Happy Independence Day to all!  

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