I love the Fourth of July. It’s an annual reminder of the all we hold dear here in the USA. Last night, we were on our way back from taking our 8-year-old to see the The Last Airbender in 3D. As we pulled off the freeway, the local fireworks show was just beginning, so we pulled the car over just across the street from the high school football field where the show originates. He was blown away by the rockets and bursts of stars hundreds of feet up in the sky. He asked if they were “really bombs” – we said no, they are just fireworks. He wanted to know why we have fireworks on the Fourth of July. We told him the short version of how the Star Spangled Banner was written. He was probably too young to understand, but this old retired military type looked up and thought of the words
“And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…”
And I thought of the millions of men and women who sacrificed not only their lives, but their fortunes, for this idea called freedom. In his book Prophecy, Robert Kiyosaki is having a conversation with his Rich Dad about the difference between security and freedom. Rich Dad said they are opposites – that we dare not trade our freedom for security. He pointed out to Robert that the people who have the most security are those in prison – all their food, shelter, schedules, work is provided for them. But there is a reason we call them “maximum security” prisons. They have total security, but zero freedom.
I’m certainly concerned about the state of our country today – its massive debt, involvement in two long and expensive wars, the ridiculous political divisiveness. Our two dominant political parties seem more focused on blaming each other than on actually solving our nation’s problems. But what concerns me most is that our citizens consistently choose security over freedom. That’s a major part of the reasons for the debt. It’s what caused rioting in the streets of Athens when Greeks were told their government pensions might have to be cut. I fear that day is coming in America. What will Americans do when our own government finally reaches the limit on its credit cards? Will we come together and sacrifice for our collective freedom, or will we still be looking for the security blanket? Do we have the same grit as those who risked everything they owned to sign the Declaration of Independence, who endured hardship to expand the country to the West, who had the courage to end the practice of slavery, who fought in the worldwide war that stopped the tide of fascism? Or will we whine and cry about our missing checks? Will America still be
“the land of the free and the home of the brave“?
As we celebrate the nation’s 234th year of independence, maybe it’s something we should all be thinking about…