John Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address, spoke words that could have just as easily been uttered on Independence Day. “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change.” He continued, “The world is very different now…And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
Two-hundred and thirty-eight years ago this day our Founding Fathers boldly announced our nation’s independence proclaiming, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
While we would like to think these truths, once proclaimed, would always be adhered to, the course of human history and our own nation’s experience tell a different story. Liberty is a fragile thing, and the price of preserving it is, as Jefferson reminds us, “eternal vigilance.”The trend-line is towards bigger, more intrusive government, unless the people take a stand. And the larger the government grows, the less freedom the people have.
Our own times have shown this to be true. Gallup released a poll this week finding a dramatic drop in the freedom Americans believe they have. It is no wonder with ObamaCare’s mandates, the surveillance state, higher taxes, the IRS targeting of political groups, and the myriad of other lawless acts of this Administration.
We can restore freedom, but it is going to take more than victory by the Republican Party this fall. If merely having the GOP in control were the answer, we would not have seen the largest expansion of the federal government in recent times (prior to Barack Obama), when the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the Presidency just this past decade for the first time since the 1950s.
Real victories in the cause of freedom in our country have come when a group of committed Americans have grabbed on to time-tested, eternally true principles and applied them to the challenges at hand. It was true in the Revolutionary War Era, the Civil War Era, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and more recently the Reagan Revolution. All were periods of fundamental recommitments to our Founding principles.
The answer for our day is no different than theirs. But just like those Americans who have gone before, we will need the courage to believe and to act. “With a firm reliance on divine Providence,” let’s pledge ourselves together to that task. I know we can do it! Happy Independence Day!