From the Left- The Daily Commercial: Let freedom ring, and let us stand united as Americans

Mary Sharpe Columnist

Happy Independence Day, our annual loud celebration of our Declaration of Independence from British rule. Although we celebrate this as the day our freedoms began, it was only a declaration and it made King George really mad!

It also was the day that escalated an already brewing conflict with the Crown, the Revolutionary War. The bloody war of revenge against the signers of the declaration and those rebellious colonists would not end until September 1783 when Great Britain recognized our independence in the Treaty of Paris.

But because they did not have 24hour news on TV, the internet, or cell phones back then, the news was slow to reach the colonists until someone climbed a tower in Philadelphia and rang a bell until it cracked.

Actually, this is a very fractured version of the whole affair. There is no historical evidence that the Liberty Bell was rung on July 4, 1776. Or even when the Treaty of Paris was signed handing us our actual freedom seven years later. But it’s a good story and the myth is more fun than the actual reality, which was far more brutal.

We hear a lot of people nowadays just making things up, kinda like I just did with that Liberty Bell thing. They easily convince others, creating unfounded anger and resentment. Somehow Americans seem to be much more comfortable with the myth than the reality.

We have entered the most dangerous time in our country’s history. Our politics have become toxic. We have elected officials who have supported lies and deceit for their own ends. Blind ambition, idolatry, and induction to violence have infected our congress and our citizenry. We have witnessed an unparalleled assault on the rule of law in pursuit of unbridled power.

This July Fourth we find our democracy on life support. We have endured damage to the heart of our country, some of which may never be repaired. We’ve got problems that never crossed the minds of our forefathers. Our freedoms were hard-won and as such should be fiercely protected. Democracy as the Framers envisioned it wouldbe a continual fight.

They thought that we would cherish our freedoms as much as they did. Yet modern-day Americans are cavalier about them, that we are willing to cast them aside at the slightest whim.

We were devastated when we had to relinquish our freedom to eat out and travel because of a pandemic and we acted like spoiled children in the face of it. Some rebelled against doing anything for the common good and instead of fighting the virus, fought each other.

Yet we are silently relinquishing our sacred right to vote. Hundreds of voter suppression measures are entering into law across our country based on the myth that there is widespread voter fraud. One oppressive new law in the state of Georgia actually goes into effect on the very day that we celebrate our freedom.

We should be striving to honor the sacrifices of the signers by working to cure our ills. We are indeed in danger of losing our democracy. We have wandered off of our path, but we are still the beacon of hope and light in the world because they know what the alternative looks like. We must not continue to sabotage our democracy.

We must begin to heal our country and reunite as Americans. Instead of purging voters from the roles, we should be purging insurrectionists from our congress and our society. We should all be seeking to know the truth. Just like the colonists, the more we band together, the better chance we have of saving our country from peril.

Ben Franklin remarked in 1776 that the day we severed ties with Britain “should be a cause for celebration….with pomp and parades and illuminations …from this time forward”.

This year we are truly rediscovering our freedoms. President Joe Biden has declared this July Fourth as the target date to reunite as a country after surviving a deadly pandemic. We are all beginning to get back to normal. The reunification of America. This year, more than ever, we are all in need of fireworks.

As our society comes back together in gatherings all across America to celebrate our independence, we will not ask each other enjoying the fireworks if they are Republicans or Democrats. We are Americans. Reunited we stand.


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