Celebrating American Responsibility, Independence, and the Freedom to Step Away

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On this July 4th holiday, we feel compelled to celebrate two seemingly-disparate ideas, both of which were espoused by the revolutionists who founded this great country.

First, we want to celebrate – and by celebrate, we simply mean to acknowledge…to pay a little bit of attention to – the idea that we live in historic, world-changing times. But then, doesn’t everyone? It is each generation’s responsibility, after all, to take the baton passed to them from the one before. To draw from the wellspring of all those great writers and thinkers and fighters and leaders who laid the groundwork. To solidify the foundation of the United States of America by cherishing that which came before. To apply those principles to the present, so that your generation can be remembered as worthy of the blessings you were so fortunate to be born into. It is the torch of freedom we all carry, and we all must do our part to ensure that it is not extinguished on our watch.

“May you live in interesting times,” says the old proverb, and an American could scarcely hope for more interesting times than these. On some days, it feels like our entire system of democracy hangs in the balance. On others, it feels as though all is right with the world. That no matter what some fringe leftist is doing in San Francisco or Hawaii or Washington, D.C., our grand experiment in human liberty will shine on and on for a millennia. And on certain days – the Fourth being one of them – we realize deeply that both are true. That both will ALWAYS be true. That this country CAN achieve a kind of immortality in its greatness, but ONLY if each generation – including, most specifically, OUR generation – guards the gates against the many forces that threaten to tear it to shreds.

Of course, we cannot pretend that these are times of merely average threat, either. America is more divided than she has been in any of our short lifetimes. After one of the most consequential elections in this country’s history, supporters and detractors of the current administration have retreated into their separate corners, certain that there can be no truce. No quarter given. Our visions for the future have rarely ever been this far apart, and it’s clearer now than ever before that there is very little room for compromise.

But while we must ensure that our vision – the true vision – of America is the one that prevails, we should remember every once in a while to take a step back and appreciate what we inherited. What is the POINT, after all, of preserving this liberty – this FREEDOM – if we don’t enjoy it to the fullest? We can’t constantly be at war. We need not be. The battle will be there tomorrow and the day after. Every solider deserves his leave.

More than 200 years ago, John Adams wrote, “I must study politicks and war that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.”

There is more to being an American than fighting FOR your political values. Yes, it’s important to stay engaged. No, it doesn’t have to take over your entire life. Enjoy the FREEDOM to take a step back as you wish and when you wish. Smell the air. Play with your kids. Focus on your personal goals. Enjoy it.

That’s what it’s here for.