Independence Is A Choice, And One Constantly Renewed

July 4, 2013

Humor

Yesterday and today I’ve been offering a point/counterpoint with myself on my complicated feelings about Independence Day.  Yesterday: a story of what I can’t stand about it.  Today?  A little less lengthy, a little less funny, a lot less snarky.

Today: Why Independence Day is great.

I’m a fan of holidays in general.  I like having days that remind us to stop for a second and be grateful for things in our lives.  To remind us that our lives are gifts, not obligations.  So even when people scoff at Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark Holiday (and I’m not saying they’re wrong), I feel like, yeah, but a day marked for telling the people you care about how you feel can’t be an entirely negative thing (maybe you tell them by choice, or, if mandated, your entire 4th grade class – yes, young lady, including Jimmy, I don’t care that he never blinks).

And so while the execution of the holiday may often be less than graceful there are a things about celebrating independence that are important.  Truly important.

Oh, basically it just says, “Thanks for making it official, but we’ve already moved on.”

The main thing I really like is the date of our Independence.  On the 4th of July, 1776, the colonies declare their independence from England, after the war had begun, but far from when it ended. The war unofficially ends in 1781, and officially with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  But we don’t mark freedom with that date – the date we’re “granted” freedom and independence – we mark it with the moment we declare it to be true.  All one needs to be free is to assert it.  There may be a price, perhaps a terrible one, but that choice is always there.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The moment a slave decides he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall.”  And a day to remind ourselves of that is a great thing (in this, or any country).

Also, like Veteran’s Day, or Memorial Day, something to remind ourselves that the status quo only exists through the actions of people – and that those people include ourselves in the present tense, be it as soldiers, politicians, in the streets, or the ballot box, at the podium or in the media – is important.  The world is whatever we choose it to be.  Every day that there’s good and bad in our world, it is because we have, to some degree, chosen it to be so.  And if people are free, if people have liberty, then they can make anything happen.

It may not be quick, it may not be elegant, it may not be pretty, but it’s possible.

And so happy Independence Day to all my readers, be you American, English, Indian, South African, Indonesian, et cetera.  The day may commemorate a moment in history, but the story of humanity isn’t dates.  Not really.  It’s ideas, it’s actions, it’s our wills.  Every day we either choose our independence, or we forego it.  Every day we choose what the world will be and we build it anew.

And a day to stop and remember that has to matter.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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17 Comments on “Independence Is A Choice, And One Constantly Renewed”

  1. rossmurray1 Says:

    Eloquently put. Enjoy your day and embrace the amazingness of your country.

    Reply

  2. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Exactly! We’re all in this together.

    Reply

  3. Hippie Cahier Says:

    Beautifully said.
    I can’t think of a comment to do your words justice, but I am commenting anyway so an angel can get its wings. A wingless angel is a sad thing to behold.

    Reply

  4. BrainRants Says:

    I cannot agree more, my friend. I wish the ‘like’ button didn’t just toggle on and off.

    Reply

  5. Jackie Cangro Says:

    Well said. We shouldn’t take for granted what it means to declare your freedom.

    Reply

  6. stormy1812 Says:

    excellently stated! real freedom is based in the choices we make and it is a state of mind – this applies to many aspects in life. many hold themselves captive because of how they think, feel. happy fourth of july! and hopefully your neighbors are much more “eloquent” this year. 🙂

    Reply

  7. Elyse Says:

    Well said, B-man.

    Reply

  8. Sandy Sue Says:

    Nicely said, B-man.

    Reply

  9. Teepee12 Says:

    Eloquent and true, In any case, The treaty of Paris was an insincere effort on Great Britain’s side. The War of 1812 was part II of the Revolution. We lost when they burnr our capitol city to the ground. If you count the end of the revolution as the day when “All men are created equal” is a truth in these United States. none of us may live long enough for that one. Things are better, certainly, than they were as I was growing up, but now that I’m growing old, it often seems to be that the bad old days have come around again in many subtle and not so subtle ways.

    A street incident with my husband and two hostile strangers in a local town left a very ugly taste in our mouths and ruined much of the holiday for us. It has been a long time since anyone had attacked him because of his color … yet there we were in Grafton, just down the road and he was afraid it was going to become violent as they would not let him walk away.

    For all that, it’s better than the America of my childhood and his. We will never end bigotry. But if we don’t stop trying there’s a chance we’ll get a lot closer.

    Thanks for a thought provoking piece.

    Reply

  10. Brown Road Chronicles Says:

    I LOVE the part about the “date” the US declared independence. Never thought about it that way!

    Reply

  11. talesfromthemotherland Says:

    There’s a lot to be said for the Declaration. Great post.

    Reply

  12. dan4kent Says:

    While I applaud the accuracy of your back-story, it was the “choice”, constantly being renewed that is so remarkable! And each of us as the link between the original unveiling of the idea inside ‘declaration’ and those who will come after? Ammmmazing. Simply, sheerly amazing. Well done! Dan

    Reply

  13. thesinglecell Says:

    Very nice. Not only was our independence declared – it was stood for. Otherwise it would have been mere words on parchment. It took real bravery to hash out that declaration, even if some of what it says is either frightening or horribly and ironically ignorant.

    Reply

  14. Go Jules Go Says:

    Jolly good post, mate. And this is precisely why I chuck fireworks at my neighbor’s deck every 4th – to remind them they have something worth fighting for.

    Reply

  15. Andrea Says:

    The paragraph about our decision about independence really was powerful. I didn’t know those facts and the idea behind declaring our own freedom…wow. I’m hanging this on the wall at work.

    Reply

  16. eyeLaugh Says:

    Agreed. But Valentines Day sucks. Always.

    Reply

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  1. Happy Fourth of July Eve! | The Knee Deep Life - July 4, 2013

    […] Independence Is A Choice, And One Constantly Renewed […]

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