The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration

As America celebrates Freedom today, here are some thoughts on what freedom means:

And some thoughts on what it means to be an American.

An American is English…or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them choose. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

One more: Thoughts on what we are fighting for, from Buffy St. Marie, in the early 60's:

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an athiest, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

Happy Independence Day! May tolerance and freedom reign supreme. We have nothing but praise for those who have served in Iraq, but may the principles of our revolutionary forefathers and common sense bring them home soon.

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    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    William Pitt failed to predict "sneak and peak." All of our protection from unreasonable search and seizures, the work of brave souls for the past few centuries are given away in the patriot act. It's a good day to think about what freedom means. It used to include the freedom from unwarranted search and seizure.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    Being a free American means, to me, that I have the obligation to engage in constant self-examination as a citizen, and that we all have a collective obligation to do so as a nation. Is this possible in the bought-and-paid-world of 21st century American politics? I still think it is, though it requires exponentially more passion and imagination that we currently have on display. Hell, we can't even seriously reimagine our energy policy on a national level. How to BioFuel the Nation

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    I love my country. Most of my ancestors were living here before the Europeans came, so I feel a special kinship with the land. The majesty of beautiful and lush forests, mountain ranges, green valleys, lakes and rivers and mountain springs. I wish the people would care for these things, these places I love. I would like them to be here 100, 200 yrs. from now. I don't know why others don't love this land like I do.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    i wonder how many american indians, decendents of our slaves will be out waving their made in china american flags today?

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    My favorite patriotic quotes... Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. ~George Washington Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. ~James Madison What the people want is very simple - they want an America as good as its promise. ~Barbara Jordan

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#9)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    I feel very fortunate to have grown up in America when it was at its zenith. Having come of age in the 60's I felt hope, that although the country had difficulties, it was starting to face them. There was progress on race, on workers rights, on women's rights etc. Dadler as usual makes a very good point, the need for ongoing self examination by each of us and by the nation. A great country is not necessarily perfect and there should be a striving to continue to improve, not just maintain the status quo. If we truely lived up to the ideals upon which this country was supposedly founded then we would be a truely great country. As I have gotten older, I have become less prideful of the actions of our country precisely because they have strayed from the ideals we all hold as important. Expressing our ideals and demanding the rest of the world follow us to the higher ground while acting in secret in ways that completely betrays those ideals, for example in SA, is hypocritical. Words are cheap, actions are more important. I sit here in 2005 with 4 children one with a serious birth defect and look to their future with abject fear. The country has reversed course. We now have the coporation being more important than the worker, the rich getting much richer while the middle class and poor struggle more and more every day. We have more and more people being marginalized, less help for the disabled, less help for the mentally impaired, a real feeling of "evey man for themselves" the community be damned. And then you step back and look at the bigger picture and it gets scarier. We are spending ourselves bankrupt and allowing one of our main rivals for influence in the world to hold our economic future in their hands, we have globalization which levels the playing field taking away much of our advantage. We are no longer the sole source of hi tech innovation or well educated workers, peak oil is here and we will become increasingly dependent on oil from people who hate us more and more every day. Many of these challanges are indeed out of our control, but what should not be out of our control is how we respond and plan. The current administration acts like a bunch of looters who are trying to get theirs knowing that the whole structure is going to soon collapse. There is no energy plan, there is no plan to bring our economic house in order (despite the best protestations of the right there will be no free lunch), there is no plan to minimize the effects of globalization on our standard of living, there is no plan to minimize the effects of climate change, their idea of foreign policy is to act like a bully on steroids. America has been a great country. But unless some realism enters the equation combined with a close examinination of the ideals we profess to hold then we will be in textbooks as they discuss the fall of once great countries and empires. We are a great country and are capable of remaining so, but we live in a world with other people, other countries. We need to re-examine how much the rest of the world really needs us as opposed to us needing them. And when you get most of your oil from other countries you need them. So on this July 4th i ask everyone to examine the ideals we hold dear and important and ask whether we are living up to those ideals as well as we can taking into account we are not only citizens of a great country but citizens of an interconnected world.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    Very well said, Soccerdad. I consider myself a patriot; not of the America of today, but of the America we were promised so many years ago by our founding fathers. It's really such a shame that 200+ years later, we STILL can't get our act together and create our founding fathers' America. I guess it's true what they say about greed and ego; they are the destruction of all good things and good intentions.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#11)
    by john horse on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    From the Declaration of Independence
    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes...
    Now compare this with the reasons revealed in the Downing Street Memos for invading Iraq.
    the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy...the case was thin...since regime change was illegal, it was 'necessary to create the conditions' which would make it legal
    Isn't it unpatriotic to ask our young men and women to fight and die for "light and transient" reasons?

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    "At least Thomas Jefferson is still alive." -- John Adams, deathbed, July 4, 1825 (he wasn't, which makes JA's sentiment even more poignant). But Thomas Jefferson IS still alive and well in protester hearts, even if Hamilton's money-grubbing descendents are raving lunatics who LOSE the Constitution whenever it interferes with their corrupt plans. Use it, don't lose it. ""The essential principles of our Government... form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps...and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety." --1st Inaugural Address, 1801.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    Jefferson was talking about the Patriot Act, er, the Alien & Sedition Act, that grave error that ruined John Adams' career. 600 pages written overnight on Sep. 12, 2001, produced before the Congress without allowing time for reading it, with an enforced vote in an atmosphere of duress and scapegoating. How busy the Plague pathogen is, once it infects its victim. It produces buboes and pustules and, opens outward its flowers of diseased flesh, each evil victory searching out more victims, to toss into the maw of its disastrous appetite.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:52 PM EST
    "There is something terribly wrong here when a person born & raised in this country takes a back seat to people here (in many cases) illegally.... Don't you agree?" Lovely, BB, how you turn a discussion about independence day into a diatribe against immigrants. WHY is your sister on welfare??? As for your claims that the people in line ahead of her are illegals, PROVE IT. You have an excellent case for promoting your own bigoted ideas right there where she lives. And as for 'doesn't speak the langugage,' I doubt that very seriously. The 'hispanic lady' who runs the thing for the state either speaks sufficient English to get the job or she doesn't. Again, another excellent test case into whether you're full of it or not. "The WOT is just another example (to us on the right) where we need to take care of our stuff (freedom)" by killing as many innocent people on false pretexts as possible. You and your pals are turning America into the thing that people ran from when they came.

    Re: The Fourth of July: A Day of Celebration (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:52 PM EST
    Many of you on the left want to make this situation even worse by opening the gates & letting as many in as possible. This would cause great harm to the poor Americans you cite...
    And yet the right tries it's devil best to ignore the fact that Bush and Fox have a long running agreement about loosening restrictions at the border and letting undocumented workers pour into the U.S. on so called "work visas" so that the big corporations (who, not surprisingly, contributed huge sums to Bush's campaigns) they go to work doing janitorial and such for can pay them minimum wage, or even lower if under the table, not declare them and pay no taxes on them, and not have to pay them any benefits at all. But it's all the left's fault, right? Could it be that if you were to REALLY take a hard look at Bush's view on illegal aliens, you might not revere him as you do, and then your little rightwing life would be ruined?