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As Long as We Remember...

July 5, 2007

The Freedoms We Enjoy

Chris Cavey

Last Saturday morning I rolled out of bed, walked out onto the lanai of a beachfront condo, stared out across beautiful white sand of Lido Beach at the calm blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and actually said aloud, "Americans are the luckiest people in the world."

From my fifth floor perch there was typical early morning beach activity. Some guy was fishing, half-a-dozen ladies walking the waterline hunting for shells, a few beach boys preparing the umbrellas and sand lounges for the day's patrons, all seemingly enjoying the morning before the heat arrives.

Fourth of July week in Sarasota, Florida, is Offshore Super Power Boat Racing Week, with the Gulf's normally waveless waters churning to lather just yards off the beaches of Lido and Siesta Keys as the racetrack. Thousands will crowd these small beaches for just one day to watch.

You may ask what this has to do with the typical political commentary spewed onto this website. Everything! This scene on the beach is the product of one hot summer in Philadelphia 231 years ago.a proclamation of freedom.

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

We forget the physical, emotional and economic risks our forefathers suffered to make such a bold statement to a monarch an ocean away. These patriots were rabble-rousers, considered traitors by many of their own family and neighbors. Economically they were sacrificing both trade and reputation; thus their incomes.

The result of their boldness and the physical sacrifices of those who arose as comrades in arms are the freedoms we have today. We, too, can arm ourselves, assemble in protest; educate ourselves as we see fit, worship where and when we wish, change the heads of our government, plus speak, think and share those ideas without fear of governmental tyranny.

It's easy to take for granted what we have. Doubtfully the ladies shelling on the beach were discussing the patriotic sacrifices of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence; however, their conversation easily could have been about their holiday plans, picnics or fireworks, each of which are our link to our forefather's deeds.

Everyone witnessed on the beach this morning shared, whether known to them or not, the political philosophy of liberty - a freedom to act on one's own will. They fished, worked and strolled without a thought of sacrifice of life, limb or economic well-being because it has been previously done for them.

I, too, was enjoying my freedoms: planning for a picnic on the beach, watching the lives of people enjoying the relaxing morning hours, writing my thoughts and thinking about the amazing political experiment we have in our government.

Thomas Jefferson summarized it with his thought: "The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits." Perhaps we should e-mail this to every elected official of every jurisdiction this would be a great thought to share on our nation's birthday.

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