I'm on the last leg of a three-week trip through the northeast which has included visits to the birthplace of America (Williamsburg, VA), the birthplace of liberty (Boston, MA), the birthplace of the constitution (Philadelphia, PA), and the place where liberty and the constitution and the nation as we know it are dying a slow and tortured death (Washingotn, DC). We've just been in Maine where aberrant Democrats in the state government are massively cutting taxes to stimulate their economy, and are spending the night of the Fourth of July in Lexington where the first shots of the revolution were fired. There are tea parties and protests scheduled all around us, but they seem futile against the entropic force of the tide of history.
Although our primary purpose has been vacationing and visiting colleges with my teenage daughter, we've walked in the footsteps of history the whole way, in the classrooms where Jefferson studied and on a campus common where Franklin used to take a daily walk, through mountains where Ethan Allen stalked the redcoats and beside a canal whose route was planned by George Washington. On the Fourth there may not be parades or fireworks because the unusually wet weather and reduced city budgets have taken a harsh toll on the festivities. And it may be that people aren't really in a mood to celebrate in a country where the very idea of independence has become devalued. As our legislators consider massive tax expansions and cradle-to-grave state mandated health care, it's easy to believe that the people who inhabit this land today are not even the descendants of the heroes who fought and died for liberty and to remain independent.
The pilgrims, the pioneers, and the minutemen who created this nation prized independence, responsibility, and self-determination above everything else. They didn't want a far off church or government or its minions to tell them what to do or how to live or provide them with services they never asked for. They didn't even want their neighbors to be too close and thought government was best when it was small and far away. They moved west generation by generation to stay out of the close reach of government. They thought this was an important enough issue to risk their lives, uproot their families, and ultimately go to war over.