When in the Course…

Centuries ago, my ancestors fled ‘the old world’ in search of a better life, often in flight of religious persecution. Many settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony or around New Amsterdam. Some were Huguenots fleeing France, others were Congregationalists. They sought to practice their religion without facing pressures by the government. They suffered many hardships, including one woman who was taken captive during the French Indian wars and later rescued.

Many years later, their colony was torn by political conflict. Was the Government of England still exerting too much influence over their lives? This was not as simple a question as some today like to portray it and the colony was divided. Some of my ancestors fought on the side of the colonists. Others fought on the side of the crown.

Even our Declaration of Independence talks a little of this.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

With this began our long, and mostly successful experiment with democracy. Yet even today there are people that speak of “Second Amendment Remedies”. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the one that talks about the rights and responsibilities of bearing arms. Throughout most of our history, people who talk about using arms to change our government would be arrested for sedition or terrorism. Yet we do have a tolerant Government, a government that our great leaders throughout the ages have spoken about as being “we, the people” and “of by and for the people”.

When some members of our country speak against the government, they need to remember that they are speaking against all of us, against we the people, indeed, against themselves.

Today, I will celebrate our countries independence in traditional ways. I will gather with friends from Church and eat potato salad. Later, I will watch fireworks with immigrants and offspring of immigrants, both recent and ancient. I will demonstrate my patriotism in the wise words of Erma Bombeck:

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

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