The human race possesses infinite ingenuity, though some of it is of questionable utility. Take the matter of honesty, for example, where it seems that our capacity to lie to each other is exceeded only by our willingness to lie to ourselves. On July 4th, we celebrate what men such as Washington, Madison, Jefferson, and Franklin have bequeathed us. The fireworks will pop and the lights will dazzle, we will resurrect John Phillip Sousa and our tears will well up with Lee Greenwood. Veterans will come to attention, our hearts will swell with patriotic pride and our spines will stiffen as we boldly declare our “Independence.” And then, unarmed and obedient, we will drive home carefully avoiding high crime areas. We will humbly present our “papers” at police checkpoints, meekly submit to the indignities and intrusions of government authorities at airports before finally reaching home, where every water pipe, light bulb, and toilet meets government mandates. We will sort through our trash, placing plastic, paper, glass, and aluminum in the proper government-issued bin while placing other items in a container the city has foisted upon us and charged us to use. Then, with our feet propped up, we will relax and thank Providence that George III didn't prevail at Yorktown, and tell ourselves that we are “free.” As far as delusions go, this one is a thing of beauty.
Imagine the freedom and independence a 95 year-old cancer patient felt in an airport in northwest Florida recently. She was detained, as was her daughter, for 45 minutes and intimately inspected by TSA. You do remember that it was the Ft. Walton branch of Hell's Geriatrics who commandeered passenger airliners and flew them into buildings in 2001, right? Those Americans who might believe they can maintain their 4th Amendment rights by avoiding airports will be interested to know that TSA has announced an expansion of their inspection program to include unannounced checkpoints at bus terminals, railway stations, highways, and “security events.”
Still feeling “independent”? Try digging a pond and stocking it with fish on your own property. For that matter, try cutting down a tree, or building an addition to your home, or constructing a garage. The onslaught of inspectors, code enforcers, fee collectors, and license checkers should disabuse you of that notion pretty quickly.
And what of our young President who energetically leads the charge down the road to serfdom? This is a man who jets and copters about like no president before him, who vacations and relaxes, who golfs and shoots hoops, who throws lavish dinners and concerts, yet who on occasion manages to rouse himself and threatens to commit an act of governance against the lot of us. A head of state who remains a student of collectivist academic rubbish, he sees his people harassed and robbed by agents of the government over which he presides, and then goes straightaway to Martha's Vineyard. A contemporary potentate, he stuffs down a greasy cheeseburger while his executive agencies draft regulations ordering grocery manufacturers and restaurants to retool their recipes on everything from cereal to bagels, fruit juice to menu items, or face advertising restrictions that could have crippling ripple effects on a huge swath of the private sector.
He vilifies people who purchase and operate aircraft at their own expense while jetting from one vacation to the next at the expense of others. He labels as selfish those who resist his advances on their property, who work 70 hours a week providing goods, services, and jobs to their fellow citizens and who already pay over 50% of their earnings in federal, state, and local taxes. This little man whose Christmas tree sported a Chairman Mao ornament has spent money yet to be earned by people yet to be born, and yet his lust for still more money, more power, and more authority is never called selfish.
So what is this “independence” we celebrate today? It has become a rather fanciful thing, I think, possessing nothing of the robust spirit which the Founders envisioned. It seems a weak and shabby ghost of what once was. A country where the people issue the orders now has it all backwards. So forgive me if I don't share in the hoopla this year. Please understand if for the first time in my memory, I don't spend the day wishing others a “Happy Independence Day,” because we are no longer independent in any meaningful sense. I don't deny that others ought to celebrate if they wish. Grill the burgers, pop the firecrackers, and play that heart-stirring music. But perhaps at the end of the day, you might join me in quiet reflection of what we've lost and the realization that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence didn't spend the day tossing back a cold one and playing games. They were busy risking their very lives in the cause of Liberty.
I choose not to celebrate, but rather to commemorate. I choose to dedicate myself anew to the propositions contained in the Declaration and codified in the Constitution. This country is headed toward a cliff, and the guy behind the wheel is accelerating. From his onerous Individual Payment Advisory Board to his Environmental Protection Agency, to his Department of Education SWAT teams, he means to manage every facet of your life from your education to your job, from your property to how you will receive health care and what kind of care you will receive, if any. He and his ilk are hostile to the Constitution and they mean to undermine the work and sacrifice of the Founders and every good man and woman in uniform who has spilled their blood so that you could breathe the fresh air of freedom. The “fundamental transformation,” which in reality is nothing more than early 20th century authoritarianism, that this man has wreaked on this society may already be irreversible in some respects. If we don't get this turned around soon, you can kiss your “independence” good-bye, and that of your grandchildren as well. It's time to stand up to these ridiculous assaults and call them what they are. It's time to sort through the candidates and support the Constitutionalists among them. It's too late for half measures. We're either for liberty, or we might as well lower the flag and call it a day. This year, “Happy Independence Day” should be a call to action rather than an empty nod to what we once had.