July 4th gives us a time to reflect on our freedoms. They certainly aren’t what they used to be and we seen them eroding away on an almost daily basis.
Our country today is certainly not what our forefathers envisioned. In fact, I believe they would be horrified and feel total shame at what we’ve become. That’s not to say that America isn’t still the greatest country in the world, because it is and we should have pride in it.
While we think we are still free, in many ways we truly are, but in other ways not so much.
Freedom, I realize, means different things to different people and that meaning seems to have changed over the history of our country.
It has changed as people have lost site of what our founding fathers set out to do. Most people don’t even know what kind of country America is and would say we are a democracy. Truth is, we are a constitutional republic. Our Constitution is a thing of beauty which stands the test of time, no matter what politicians may say.
The Puritans came to America to find freedom to practice their faith. They wanted independence from British rule because they were having to pay taxes but had no say in how the taxes were used.
In spite of what some say, “In God We Trust” has been a constant throughout our history. But how people view God has also changed.
Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” I agree with him wholeheartedly and think our history is based on the development of peoples’ relationship to God. That relationship in today’s society is a far cry from what it was when our country was founded.
If you think about all that is happening, such godlessness in the world, we see things deteriorating. When God is prevalent in our country, we prosper; it is the same with our lives.
There are many today, though they do not always call it by the name, who want socialism in our country. I daresay had someone else been elected president, we would be well on our way down that road. Should America move toward a more socialist government, the whole world economy would be hurt. It would damage the system that has created the most prosperous and freest nation ever. It would also take away our basic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We would also become less equal in that we wouldn’t all have the ability to be the best that we can be like we have now. Equality gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, not that each of us would be given all the exact same things. It’s up to each of us in what we achieve and how we succeed, but socialism takes that away.
The incentives we have in our country to be as successful as possible and create something people want and need, makes people successful and creates wealth. The Puritans discovered this first hand after a period of doing things differently for a period of time.
The Mayflower compact was the first real government document in America, written by people of the Mayflower. When arriving here they set up a system of government which could be compared to a commune. Everyone got a piece of land and they all would farm their land, raise livestock, provide other items and put it all into a communal store. Everyone would then split up what the community had evenly. This system only lasted two years for obvious reasons.
If a family grew 100 bushels of grain and another only grew half that much, they would each get 75. This meant there was no incentive to do any better. So, seeing the system for what it was, they did away with it and allowed people to grow whatever they could and produce what they could. They would then trade for what they needed.
The Colonists began to produce much, much more because they could trade for extra things they needed or wanted by being better and growing more. This was the beginning of capitalism.
If someone was having a hard time, everyone would help them if they needed something or just needed help. It worked and so it continued. It still works today though there are those who would take from the wealthy or the most prosperous and give to those who did not work for it and did not even try. That is not freedom.
Freedom is working hard and if you are able and choose to, you help the less fortunate. That’s something we’ve gotten away from and it’s a shame.
Reagan also said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. That’s very true and I wonder how many more years we will be able to enjoy some of our freedoms.
The government already tried to force us to buy health insurance and penalized you if you didn’t; that is not freedom. Controlling the health care system meant they could control many aspects of our lives, including whether we got treatment, etc. Thank goodness that is changing. However, it’s the whole insurance system that needs an overhaul, not just health care itself.
People today take the freedom of speech too far. You see with freedom comes responsibility and people don’t get that at all. We have the freedom to keep our mouth shuts when opening it will not serve the greater good or will cause further strife.
We lose freedom when we don’t think for ourselves. We are not free when we take whatever is said as a grain of truth instead of finding out the truth. In doing this, we become like sheep, certainly not free. That’s what happens when we accept fake news as truth.
Our government double taxes us without our say so and we have no control over it. Certainly not what our forefathers intended. They tax everything and raise it when they can’t meet their budgets.
Being addicted to drugs, alcohol, social media or our cell phones, is not freedom. Far from it. And if you don’t think you are being tracked, I feel sorry for you. Our cars know where we are, as do our phones and computers.
We must hold on to our freedoms and embrace what the founding fathers intended. They knew what they were talking about and it still holds up under close scrutiny today. Reflect on your freedoms this Fourth of July and remember what made our country so great in the first place. Freedom is not free and our men and women in the military have fought and some paid with their lives for it. Happy and Safe Fourth!!
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org