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Editorial: Should we even celebrate the 4th of July?

Last updated on 15 Jul 2020

(Photo Credit: Evan Vucci)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

What makes America so great?

Is it our economic success? America leads the world in gross domestic products making it the richest nation in the world. However, does that mean America was not great when its GDP was a fraction of the British GDP?

Is it our military? America’s 700 billion dollar military budget surpasses the next ten countries combined making it the most powerful military in the world. Again, does this mean America was not great before our tremendous military?

Or is it our culture? The culture that constantly persists on the message of freedom and equality. The culture that refers to the Bill of Rights when proposing a bill that seeks to expand government surveillance. The culture that questions the intentions of our politicians. The culture that renters the debate of liberty or safety. The culture that highlights the loss of freedom during a crisis.

Recently, I haven’t been feeling patriotic. That’s not because I suddenly believe America was never great or is not currently great. That’s also not because I am ashamed of the atrocities committed by past Americans. It’s because I fear we are losing our adherence to freedom.

How many people celebrated Independence day? Aside from the fact we are locked up, I can guarantee a lot of people treated this day like any normal day. However, it questions how many people actually believe in the creed of the Declaration or the principles enforced in the Constitution. Is the Fourth of July worth celebrating?

President Coolidge once said in a speech on the 150th anniversary of July 4th, “If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions.”

The most important words in that quote are the last ones. Like Jefferson, Lincoln, Douglass, and various political leaders, Coolidge believed that at the crux of prosperity was the freedom of man.

He then goes on to say, “We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them.”

While the Declaration is not a governing document, the virtues stated within its text set a foundation for the Bill of Rights and proceeding amendments. Within the short history of America, advancements have been made because of the Declaration.

It was the first amendment that granted Martin Luther King Junior the capacity to speak on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was the first amendment that allowed women to declare their rightful ballot. It was the fourth and fifth amendment that prevented excessive government overreach. It was the thirteenth amendment that abolished the grave sin of slavery. It was the nineteenth amendment that granted women the right to vote. It was the Declaration of Independence proclaiming all men are created equal.

Therefore, we should celebrate the 4th of July. A celebration of the 4th of July is not only a celebration of eventual freedom for all but of the potential prosperity achieved through freedom.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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