The Fourth of July is not usually a day of quiet reflection.
It’s a day of celebration, a day to revel in our independence from an oppressive monarchy and celebrate the start of 243 years of economic and social freedom.
So go ahead, enjoy it.
But if you do have a few minutes, take time to think of why this day exists and what it means.
The Declaration of Independence was just that — a declaration. It was, in effect, just a statement of rights, a list of grievances and a pledge to a cause.
It didn’t guarantee a thing.
It wasn’t until after 13 hard-fought years of war later did we finally gain the independence the Founders so bravely and eloquently declared on this date.
That fight continues every day in this country. And we, as the stewards of our Founders’ mission, have an obligation to all who fought and died for this nation to preserve what they created.
We no longer have to worry about fighting for independence. But we do have to worry about losing our rights.
The Declaration’s authors wrote that it was “self-evident” that all men are created equal. But every day in this country, men and women are not treated equally.
Many American citizens are wrongly deprived of the three unalienable rights articulated in the Declaration — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — through oppressive government intervention, discrimination, excessive force and deceit.
Since the time the Declaration was written, we’ve come far, extending rights to blacks, women and others who were not considered equal in the 18th century.
Even still, the government instituted among men with the consent of the governed isn’t always fair and just to all.
So we have to ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and equally. We have to make sure, as the Founders demanded from the king, that our trials are fairly conducted. In many cases, they are not.
We have to fight to keep the government from using the force of its power to deprive us of our own personal liberties and to keep it from trampling on our rights. Each day, we must identify attempts by others to seize upon our freedoms, and then act to stop them.
As our Founders did in 1776, we must stand up to injustices, not just those imposed on ourselves, but on others in our country and around the world.
We, the citizens of this great country, are the new guards of our future security.
If we don’t dedicate ourselves to preserving and protecting it, then who will?