This is the first July 4th I have celebrated in the United States for a long time. I forgot what a big holiday it is in this country. Although I live here and have for twenty years, I am a Canadian, and we are fortunate, as a family, to travel to Canada for the summer. We are leaving later this year as we just returned from a trip overseas and needed to touch down to regroup. As I turned on the television this morning, a man from India was being asked if he knew what holiday America was celebrating today, and he answered confidently, “Independence Day.” Probed further he was asked what that really meant. Equally confidently he responded, “Freedom.”
Freedom is a big word. One of the biggest words there is. Perhaps the most likely definition involves the concept of someone acting “according to his or her own will”, but the concept is so much bigger. It applies to both the individual and the collective. Freedom is good, but it is not all good. Without a rule of law or without a moral compass freedom enables horrible atrocities. Freedom without opportunity, specifically economic opportunity, may too result in horrible outcomes. Constrained freedom, enabled freedom, freedom for the greater good is what really should make us proud.
Does America represent the best that FREEDOM has to offer? I would say it comes pretty close. Certainly there are other countries that are up there with us, including my home country, but America is pretty, darn amazing.
Enjoy your July 4th holiday and celebrate with family, friends, neighbors and even strangers, the best that is America.