Most know the story of the Declaration of Independence signed in 1776 in Philadelphia, PA. Many use this date, two hundred and thirty-five years ago, as a measure of the longevity and strength of this powerful nation. Still many look at that day, July 4, 1776, as a day the country became independent and others lost their freedom. Over the centuries and decades, many groups took it upon themselves to follow in the spirit of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Those groups fought wars for freedom. Whether those wars were battles of will, economy, or unto death. Warring for freedom and justice is what is understood and expected for those within the United States borders.
Looking back one can see that the groups which persevered ultimately gained the freedoms they sought. The groups which empowered not only their generation, but the generations which would reap the full benefit, were ultimately successful. Whether it be civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, or, yes, gay rights, the groups which held steady to the course won their reward. That is the legacy the founding fathers of this nation left…the desire to be free.
The constant restlessness within the gates of the United States is hereditary. Since inception, citizens (recognized or not) have struggled to win or maintain certain freedoms. In addition to those listed above, the mentally ill, disabled, and elderly had to prove their right to maintain rights. It seems that the more rights others gain, there is an exposure of injustices to other classes and groups of people. Minorities, women, children, those in GLBT community, religious participants, and others all seek one thing liberty and justice. They seek this in hopes that the phrase “Liberty and Justice for all” truly applies to “ALL”.
As this great nation celebrates two hundred and thirty-five years of freedom, of independence, the question must be asked and answered: Are you, we, really free? The answer could be as simple as: We are free to fight for freedom. But, when will the fighting stop. Are we but greedy individuals who want it all and appreciate nothing? Are we taking the liberties and justice we have for granted and only them using to obtain more? Those answers change as quickly as the headlines in the news.
Are you, we, really free? This question requires you to look at every aspect of your life and decide your level of freedom to do the things your heart desires. You must assess your goals and hold them to the light seeing whether liberty and justice has aided you or hindered you. Far too many feel the injustices in this country. Far too many still cry for freedom from economic oppression and betrayal. Far too many still stand and fight to exercise the rights they were told they already have yet have not been given access. Still too many seek equality of education. But, their freedom is not measured by what they have yet to obtain or achieve. Their freedom is measured by the broadness of their mind and their ability to see beyond the lack, oppressions, and injustices. Their freedom is measured by their own hand.
Are you, we, really free? That is a personal question. There is no law that can free you from yourself. There is no country that can declare you free to love. There is no nation which can liberate you from hatred. There is no president which can push a policy for your own personal success. Your freedom is up to you. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed as a show to the world. The signing of the document was a show that the minds, religion, and economy of a group cannot be restrained once they recognized their own strength. The challenge: Write your own declaration of independence. Declare to the world that you stand and are willing to fight. Declare that while you are strong alone, you recognize that there are others which are willing to fight with you and together you are made the better. Are you, we, really free? Only if you declare yourself to be so.