When we decide to share thoughts, we seem to have two options. The first is uncreative and many times uninspiring. It is a simple relay of information from one person to another for informational purposes. The second is creative and hopes to inspire thought. It is an oration (or a potential oration) that people will most times interpret according to their own presuppositions and, depending on how it is interpreted by the reader, may inspire a deeper well of thought. Such was the case with my latest invocation of American independence. Of course the danger is that someone might project certain viewpoints onto the writer. Instead of asking: What do I think when I read this; some ask: Why does the author hold this viewpoint? Then they proceed to attach a viewpoint to a writer that is not his. With Independence Day nearing, though, I thought I might offer my interpretation of my own poetic provocation.

“Independence Day is nigh! It is the day that we celebrate the American colonies winning independence from Britain, and we assume to still have such independence, but there is distaste. What was honey to the lips might turn sour as it enters the stomach.

First of all, I might point out that it was suggested by one reader that the use of the terms “nigh” and “behold” is a use of odd syntax. I will admit that the terms are antiquated. Then, I might also ask whether or not the use of a older term might be significant in a free-formation that does refer to American independence, which was declared in 1776. American independence itself seems to be a concept that is somewhat old, and yet still wholly alive in the hearts of the American people. In fact, it is so alive that most Americans still assume to have the same level of independence as the people of this nation after the United States was founded as a country.

Yet, there does seem to be some sort of distaste. Everyday someone seems to complain about some Government regulation or lack thereof. It was James Madison who said, “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power.” What was honey to the lips, a sweet declaration of independence, might turn sour in the stomach.

My hope is that the reader pays close attention here. “Might” is not synonymous with “has.” Might is a word that indicates there may be but also may not be some dissatisfactions with American independence, or America’s liberty from other nations, or America’s republican freedom.

Behold American Independence that provides its people with welfare and healthcare forcing them to submit under the guise of progress while waging a false war on poverty.

To “behold” is to see or observe something. My plea here is that the reader would observe American independence. It is not to observe my idea of American independence, but instead to observe American independence as it is, especially comparing it to the newfound independence of the colonies following the declaration. This should not be misunderstood as a proposition about any specific act or bill in the United States. In fact, it is not a proposition at all. It is a plea.

The government has been providing welfare and healthcare for decades. This is not new with President Obama. While I truly don’t agree with the existence of the Affordable Care Act as it is, no statement was made here concerning such an act or the reasons for any view I might have concerning such an act. It would be foolish to put such words into my mouth, though I do hope that my plea leads people to think about any act or bill concerning welfare and healthcare.

If I did want to make a proposition, which I did not want to do, it would be that the poverty rate has not significantly changed (in fact it has increased slightly) since 2008. It was significantly lower in 2007. Since the population is higher in number, though, this means that there are a significantly higher number of people living in poverty now than there were even during the great recession in the 50’s.[1] Added to this is the fact that the median income across the nation has been consistent for men while it has increased for women.[2] This number is reflective of only those who are employed and suggests that the job market actually works for those who do secure jobs. I do not say this to comment on those who are not employed, but rather to suggest that some, if not most, instances of poverty can be fixed through the market of employment rather than through the welfare and healthcare system. Again, I will not make a statement about the rightness or wrongness of the welfare and healthcare system here in the States, but it seems inconsequential when seeking to solve the problem of poverty because the changes that have been made have not impacted poverty levels significantly one way or the other.

Though this great nation seems to claim that it is doing what it can to deplete poverty status, it seems that no real progress has been made. For some reason, there are many who are so conditioned by the world that they believe progress is actually being made because they have been told or because it is the popular belief of those who hold the same glorified view of socialization. I fear that even a socialized economy will not significantly help those in poverty as it promises to do, but I have not made any proposition concerning socialization.

Keeping in mind the opening words of the poem, we might then, compare this to the founding of the United States. It was perceived in the minds of many colonists that too much had been imposed upon them by the crown.[3] Here we are, many perceiving that the government has imposed too much on them. Whether or not I think it has, I will not say. Such was not the purpose of my poetic prose. It might be stated, though, that to interpret something well, the interpreter must consider every line together and in context. Such is the case when we read, cite from or even criticize any work of any sort. As Robert Frost suggests, we might not try to determine exactly what is meant by a poem, but instead ask: What is he up to? Then allow our own thoughts to run deeply.

Behold American Independence, which tries to keep its citizens from bearing arms that it might impose its will upon them without accountability.

Next, I hoped to implore the reader to consider the second amendment.[4] Some seem to suggest that the creation of the second amendment was so that the citizens of this country would have leverage against their government. My purpose here is not to give my stance on this, but I might point out that the Bill of Rights was ratified by the first congress of the newly formed United States in 1789 (13 years after the Declaration of Independence). Part of the imposition mentioned in the Declaration was the harsh conditions brought about by the king’s army in the colonies. In fact, it was mentioned more than once.

As a result, there are many people who want the freedom to bear arms in order that tyranny might be prevented. I remember a line from The Patriot spoken by the character Benjamin Martin, who is played by Mel Gibson, “Why should I agree to swap one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?” Of course, the inspiration behind this line was a quote by a true historical figure, Byles Mather, “Which is better – to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?” Mather was a Loyalist, meaning that he was loyal to the Crown whatever his reasons might have been.

I am glad that the United States government is not tyrannical, but the admission must be made that any government of any type is in danger of become so. Thus, it seems to me that any attempt to remove perhaps the only means of accountability, or even to limit lawful citizens from owning any firearm which can be used as a tool for accountability, will be perceived by some (if not many) as the same type of imposition as the king’s army in the days of the colonies.

My fear is that liberty might one day be traded for supposed safety. With this safety (which may or may not actually work)[5] comes a greater danger that tyranny will ensue. So, the perception of the Patriots and the perception of some (if not many) today may be very similar. While I will not directly share my views on gun laws in the states here, for that was not the purpose, I hope that thoughts are invoked regarding the freedom we have to keep and bear arms.

Behold American Independence that keeps small business owners and pharmacists from choosing what they will provide or what drugs they will keep in stock or who they will serve.

Another complaint that the colonists had against the king was that he had imposed outlandish taxes and taken control of the trade market. These complaints can be seen directly on the Declaration if Independence. Similar complaints are issued by many small business owners today. Hospitals are being closed at an alarming rate. The last increase in the number of hospitals nation-wide was in 2007-2008. Since then, the number of hospital closures has been increasing regularly.[6] While the cause is not stated and it would be wrong of me to assume a cause for the closures, I might suggest that some declare the cause to be stricter government regulation and the existence of the Affordable Care Act. This means that the perception is there in the minds of American citizens. Some, if not many, seem to feel as though government regulation impedes on the ability of small business owners to actually earn a living. This is relevant especially to the conversation on poverty. There are also some requirements in the drug and medical industries forcing business owners to deny their own religious convictions. This may be reminiscent of some frustrations mentioned in the Declaration and affirmed in the first amendment.

While I made no propositions here about the freedom of businesses to refuse service, I might now suggest that a business that does not have the right to choose its clients is a business that is hindered by some type of regulation. The perception of some, if not many, might be similar to the patriots who believed the crown had too much control over trade in the 70’s (that’s the 1770’s).

Behold American Independence that forces its views of political correctness on the people.

I say all this at the risk of giving away some of the information in my latest book, Be We Free? Nonetheless it became necessary for me to explain my thoughts, at least the thoughts I had as I wrote this formulation. It might seem to some that any view of political correctness, that is what is correct politically in case it might be difficult to understand, is and must be extremely biased. There can be no such thing as a neutral government. Often what is termed as “politically correct” fits the agenda of current leadership. What I am not claiming here, in fact no proposition was made, is that these biases or notions of political correctness are bad. They will, though, change as we progress through time. The law is formed according to what, at any given time, is considered by those who lead to be politically correct; be it right or wrong. This means, necessarily, that views of political correctness will always be forced on the people while there is a government. Laws are formed and bills passed and enactments made based on whatever contemporary view a government has of what is correct. This is the simplest way I might explain it, but it is sufficient for my purposes in this brief explanation. This means that the government is always forcing its views on the people, be they right or wrong.

If we are to keep with the purpose and format of this formulation, then we might recognize many colonists were weary of the political views of the crown. In fact, it is among the first complaints against the king in the Declaration.

I thought we might be independent. Perhaps these forced views can be tossed in the harbor next to that bitter leaf. Surely ‘they mock the independence and the intellect of the entire nation.’ Instead of fighting to keep people free, American Independence now caves in every time someone whines about not getting what they want, except for those who fight for independence. As a result, American Independents must think a certain way and are free to make only the decisions approved.

While at first Americans are quick to claim their independence and republican freedom. These thoughts might lead the reader to realize that, like the colonists, today there seems to exist, at least for some, the same complaints and the same aggravations. This thought is portrayed by the reference to the Boston Tea Party and augmented with a line from one of the characters in my book, Be We Free? This aggravation is felt by some, if not many, and causes the feeling that the movements of today subject those who desire independence while those who desire government providence are praised.

I should not have to point this out, but I will. Decision leads to action. Law exists that does limit the action (at least from a legal standpoint) of every person. It is the nature of law that it provides a frame for negative freedom and that allows only the approved decisions to be made. Decisions that lead to unlawful actions submit the perpetrator to the consequences of the law. So this statement is true of any earthly government and should be common sense to us. Yet it is an aggravation for some, if not many.

Behold American Independence as it hides the constitution and tricks the American public into thinking that it is free… At least I can still say these words,” the American mind stirred.

Because this ‘behold’ is separated from the above ‘beholds,’ it can be understood as an amalgam of the others. All of the above perceptions by some, if not many, might be reignited in the thought of the reader here. Following the behold statement are the words, “At least I can still say these words,” indicating that there is some level of freedom. In fact, perhaps that is the point. At risk of giving away something in my book, Be We Free?, it seems that negative liberty in the United States, along with independence and republican freedom, always has a place on a scale of gradation. It seems to adjust as we move through time according to what might be interpreted as political correctness by the leaders of a nation.

The quotation marks and the character portrayed as the American mind should point to the idea that these statements are but the perceptions of some Americans, if not many, and should not be misconstrued to be direct propositions made by me about any number of issues, especially those that are not mentioned at all and especially since no propositions were made by this point in the formulation. I chose not to share my direct thoughts purposefully. Great humility is required as we read anything that anyone else writes, and I might point out that it is much more important for us to seek understanding first rather than misunderstanding and making a mistake against another person. Else we might be perceived as foolish by our own readers, listeners and friends.

Be we free? Be we free to engage in the pursuits of this life without restriction? Be we free to hold our government accountable, or will it get away with murder: the murder of American Independence? Doth the state control its people slyly, hiding behind the façade of progress and equality?

“Be we free?” is a question for the reader and not a proposition of any kind. I might admit that it is also a shameless plug for my latest book (have I mentioned it yet?). It is a plea for the reader to consider whether or not he or she is actually free. Does our government currently restrict us unreasonably? Is it sly in controlling its people or is it straight forward with its agenda? No propositions were made and no answers given. I will not give them here. My desire is for the reader to think on these things for him or herself. My goal is never to tell people what to think, but instead to inspire people to think for themselves. After all, we have the freedom to do so!

There is only one way people can truly be free and that freedom is not available by the ways of this world:

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Because of the nature of law and government, it seems that people can never have absolute negative freedom in this world. Indeed there must be protections in place to guard liberty and in guarding liberty there are necessary restrictions that do so restrict the positive freedom some have to limit the negative freedom of others on this earth. Absolute freedom, in any sense of the word, seems to be an illusion. This, along with all of the perceived aggravations mentioned above, are used to segue into a provocation to thoughts about spiritual freedom in Christ.

Indeed here I make my one and only proposition: this spiritual freedom is not found by the ways of this world, as thoughts about the above perception might suggest to the reader. No more is claimed than that and the reader is left to think upon what the actual source of freedom is, if indeed, it cannot be found by the ways of this world.

Behold American Independence in the land that I love.

Then behold it in God’s courts above.

Finally, and remembering that to behold something is to see it or observe it. The reader is implored to observe first the independence (including the forms of freedom) in America, or the land that I love; then to observe the independence (including the forms of freedom) in God’s courts above, though no details are given about what independence and liberty actually might be in God’s courts.

The one thought I hoped my readers would arrive at for themselves is this: that our desire for freedom on this earth might be representative of the notion that God has created us to be free. It is not a guaranteed outcome because my poetic prose was not specific on purpose, but it was my hope. As for now, though, I will not give away any more than this. 

Thank you all for reading. I hope your thoughts are stirred this Independence Day.

 

 

[1] http://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/visualizations/p60/252/figure4.pdf

[2] http://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/p60/252/table5.pdf

[3] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

[4] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

[5] https://christoa.com/2016/06/30/are-you-superior-in-every-way-praying-for-istanbul/

[6] http://www.statista.com/statistics/185843/number-of-all-hospitals-in-the-us-since-2001/

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