Sadly, some Americans seem to be unaware what we are celebrating.
photo by Robert Bartz
A couple days ago I saw a video in which random people on their way to the beach were interviewed about Independence Day. Some of the "highlights":
Question: Who did we gain our independence from?
- I don't know.
- The South. - At the end of the Civil War? - Yes, from the South.
- Those countries.
And my personal favorite:
- From California. (oh yeah, baby)
Question: Who signed the Declaration of Independence?
- I don't know. Abraham Lincoln? - And when was that? - 1964? - 19... - 1984! (Perhaps it was George Orwell then....)
Question: Who were the Founding Fathers of our country?
Where the Declaration of Independence was written. Photo by Robert Bartz
While reading this, you probably cringe just as I did when I watched that video. And of course this is not representative for all Americans. But it made me wonder why I as an immigrant have to pass the citizenship test when I wish to become a US citizen. Perhaps natural born Americans should take that test as well.
Especially politicians. No, I am not elaborating on this. You certainly have made up your mind about that and so have I.
Gaining independence is a huge step for any country. For me, the most important part of independence is freedom. Let freedom ring - but so often I feel it's the freedom for one group, but not for the other. Freedom ends where it limits the freedom of others. That is a given. Freedom involves responsibility - a lot of it. Freedom without responsibility is not freedom for all, but just freedom for "Me". Freedom is something we have to work for every single day - by giving it to others and keeping it for ourselves.
Freedom is something wonderful that we so often take for granted. It is the greatest good in our country - and many others. Truly a reason to celebrate.