Hope everyone is having a relaxing and enjoyable Independence Day holiday and week. Holidays seem to be an appropriate time to reflect on their significance, aside from a work escape. July 4th is Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed and the American colonies started down the road to becoming a separate nation. That document is one of the most monumental human achievements; one of the first clear statements regarding the right of all humans to participate in self-government and to have extensive freedom, unbridled by governments, or really, the other people who were running governments. It is still hard for me not to read the Declaration of Independence and get a lump in my throat. As the country has grown more and more complex, the ideals reflected in that document have gotten more distant. We forget that a government is just the people who hold positions in it, and we have allowed those people to exercise increasing, and excessive, control over many aspects of our lives. As in any country, we have a segment of the population who believe they are smarter than everyone else and therefore entitled to foist their ideas, almost always untested and illogical ideas, on the rest of us. That must be resisted.
A country is a geographic area, but those boundaries are arbitrary. What a country really is is a shared set of values that people are governed and live by. The United States has been generally fortunate in its recognition of the rights of the individual and the rule of law to protect those rights. We also see those being steadily eroded. We all need to work hard to stem that erosion, or will end up living in a country where we are each subject to the changing whims of whatever group of people, or person, is in charge. So reflect on that while you are relaxing, and think about what kind of nation you want to live in.