photo credit: Camera Slayer
Regardless of how much some people may talk about the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States during their celebrations on the fourth day of July each year, and despite reports suggesting that participation in such celebrations makes children more likely to identify politically as Republicans, it seems obvious to me, based on the situations that we currently face as a nation and the fact that they have been steadily building under the leadership of both major parties, that what is really being celebrated on this day is fireworks.
Certainly some are celebrating as much as fireworks, parades, and traditional American cuisine all at once, but none of this constitutes a celebration of American independence, of our nation, or of our system of government. True celebrations of these things may only take place in the most insignificant of ways on this national holiday. Some may argue that a real celebration of our nation’s independence and of our system of government takes place at the polls each November. I would agree that voting is a real form of such a celebration, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.
Only those who do as the generation of Americans who actually won our independence and established the foundation of our government can truly be said to celebrate our independence. That requires days, weeks, and even months over the course of each year. It means getting informed about the issues of the day. It requires participating in civil, if spirited, debates about the proper solutions to the challenges that are most pressing. It means helping family, friends, and neighbors to also understand the issues and participate in the debates. Of course it includes carefully choosing the people who will represent us in the various offices of government for which we are able to vote. It also means raising the next generation with an understanding of what we have been given and the continual effort it takes to keep our citizen-driven government operating.
The only place fireworks factors into any of those things is in possibly capturing the imagination of our children with the opportunity to connect that excitement with the type of government we have now. While there is apparently some evidence to suggest that these displays of pyrotechnics tend to coax children toward the conservative regions of the political landscape there is no evidence to suggest that they help the children to understand and appreciate the realities of government and what it takes to preserve the liberty that our nation was built to preserve.
In short, the true celebration of our independence is in the perpetuation of that independence.