I’m feeling groggy after having my sleep interrupted by two weeks of people shooting off fire crackers and fireworks. While trying to drop off to sleep yesterday, the resentment built up over the few people who felt free to disturb the peace without any consideration of their fellow citizens’ need for rest. I’m all for the enjoyment of fireworks, but folks should respect the rights of people who need their sleep. There is also the problem of wildlife and pets being traumatized by the barrage of booms, pops, crackles, and flashes of light.
Thankfully, a city ordinance prohibits the firing of fireworks after midnight and will prohibit all fireworks from July 5th until two weeks before the next Independence Day.
July 5th will be an Independence Day of sorts from the anxiety-producing noise of the past two weeks and the added intensity of it tonight.
Most Americans understand the significance of the Fourth of July and the Declaration of Independence from the British Empire. It began with the truth that a people desire and deserve freedom and liberty. There was also the wish to level the playing field between the Empire and the American Colonies. The time had come for the collection of colonies to become a fledgling nation. Independence represented the desire for freedom and liberty. Ideally, it also implied freedom and liberty for all.
When we review the history of Americans’ freedom, we remember that at first, full freedom and representation was limited to land-owning Caucasian males, then soon included all Caucasian males. Women, enslaved peoples, and native Americans’ freedoms were expanded later after many prolonged, painful struggles. People of minority ancestries and nationalities have continued to strive for equality and freedom. The same can be said about people who belong to minority sexualities and choices of religions.
“This country will remain the place that is known for the free just inasmuch as it is the home of the overcome.”–Elmer Davis
Today, the nation and the rest of the world are witnessing the rolling back of liberty and attempts to abridge the freedoms of minority persons and people affiliated with minority religions. Indeed, the very integrity of our nation has been greatly compromised. There is even an organized, concerted effort to re-draft the Constitution.
Without equal opportunity, nobody’s freedom is guaranteed. In our democratic republic, the freedom and liberty of all the residents is implied. Ideally, those freedoms are enhanced and validated by statute, judicial review, or Constitutional Amendment. Unfortunately, mass movements can also influence statutes, judicial selection, and Constitutional Amendment to abridge and invalidate hard-won freedoms and rights. Freedom and liberty for all is a very fragile, vulnerable concept.
Our nation’s integrity and potential for great freedom is often threatened by those who wish to hoard liberties for themselves alone. Our collective and individual independence and interdependence rest on freedom and liberty for all. Independence requires constant vigilance or else it may permanently slip away.
I wish for every American to enjoy full-measures of freedom and liberty on this and every Fourth of July. That includes the freedom to shoot fireworks today.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes President Abraham Lincoln. “It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence.”