Remembering the Real Meaning of Independence Day
By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 4, 2007 5:00PM
Normally, this would be Kevin's territory, and he covered the reasons we're weighing in today at length yesterday. As we sit in front of a computer terminal in Wisconsin fresh from a bike ride to New Glarus, the sights of yellow "support our troops" ribbons, flags and jingoistic bumper stickers every quarter-mile along the route fresh in our mind, we felt the need to write.
Independence Day is more than just a time for fireworks, grilling, and a lazy day in the back yard, and John Phillip Sousa on the radio. It's about remembering and paying respect to the founding of this nation, its assets and its faults. It's about remembering the brave men and women who gave their lives so that we could live ours without fear of reprisal or consequence (if you've read our staff bio, you'll know we've walked that walk). It's about honoring the laws bestowed upon us by the Constitution of the United States, a revolutionary document in every sense of the word.
Democracy is hard work; our unique form of American democracy even more so. We've long subscribed to the rule "if you don't vote, don't bitch" and still believe in it to a large degree. We're not so starry-eyed, however, to think that simply voting is enough. The true struggle is in holding our elected representatives accountable for their actions and insistent they give voice to our concerns. To remind them, essentially, that they are not above the law and work for us.
The Constitution, in its third century of existence, was designed to evolve like the people it governs. To paraphrase Steve Earle, it is flexible enough to change with the times in order to meet the nation's challenges yet rigid enough to preserve the ideals that inspired its original articles and amendments. It can only do so, however, under the collective watchful eye of the people it governs. As long as we're willing to put in the work required to defend and nurture the Constitution, then it will continue to blossom and meet needs of the people. Without it, we get what we now have - an Executive Branch of the Federal Government that acts as though it is both the law and above the law. As a nation under whatever God in which you may or may not believe, we can only hear the catchphrases of this administration (9/11, we're fighting them over there so we don't fight them over here, etc.) for so long before we become numb to what's going on around us. This is what they want. Without the vigilance of the people, the Constitution becomes nothing more than another piece of paper that eventually turns to dust. Call us naive if you wish - and we're certain some of you will - but we believe in this document and in defending it. You should, as well.
Image Courtesy of www.totalfanshop.com.