On the drive home from Maine the other day, the gas station TV had a clip from Robin Meade wishing well to all service members no matter where they are on this 4th of July. It got me to thinking, is the 4th really a day for the Military?
Veterans day is for active duty and past service members, while Memorial day is for those that gave the supreme sacrifice in the defense of our country. But the 4th, otherwise known as “Independence Day” celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that identifies the reasons for the founding philosophies of why this nation should exist separate from the English monarchy. I really don’t think it has anything to do with war, defense, the military or anything combative. While we celebrate with fireworks, and that is a nice touch probably commemorating the “rockets red glare” as sung in the National Anthem, that actually has nothing to do with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
In fact, the Document was a specific product of a bunch of citizen diplomats who self-organized and formed an intellectual and philosophical argument for a political position. It was SPECIFICALLY political: “…it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have…” How amazing a time must it have been when politicians actually formed arguments to support a position and even wrote them out and published them? I have seen “positions” on web sites, but they are all just a bunch of mom and apple-pie goals and no rationale on how to get there. I miss logic. I miss philosophy. I miss reason. I am sick of the political climate that just yells at each other with half-truths citing fake-news (the original term, not what that a-hole has stolen it for) stories shared from a FB or Twitter post. Candidate Trump’s health care policy philosophy? “I won’t let people die in the streets.” As if others actually advocated for death. What does that even mean? What is the argument for it? What are the action steps?
I’ve given up on the idea of running for office. My brand of formulating an idea and building an argument around it, just doesn’t play in the reality TV world of politics these days. I don’t form alliances. There is no drama. I don’t hate the person because they argue for an opposing position. I could care less about “winning” as a goal. But what I love about Declaration Day, is the notion that this country was founded by people who felt strongly enough about an idea that they formulated a rationale for a new way of thinking and wanted to engage in discourse about all of their supporting points. They didn’t spout off about a wall of naval mines around the east coast to prevent the British ships from landing. For me, this day will celebrate those of us that use our hearts, emotions and spiritual connection to the world to influence thoughts in our mind that we cogently share with others in the hope that we influence others to think about things in new ways or new directions. Maybe they agree with us, maybe we see validity in their counter-points. Maybe we work together to find a common ground whose sum total is more than either argument in isolation. My political hopes may be dead, but I will never give up on the notion of creating and sharing ideas.
While we were theoretically “independent” as of the 4th (or the 2nd, read the story), celebrating something that is theoretical seems to cheapen the day for me. I prefer to celebrate the declaration, the sharing of ideas. That was the monumental achievement of the day. For those of you producing new content, new ideas, fact-based analysis, waxing philosophical without yelling, or generally just sharing your rational based thought with the world… this bud’s for you. Throw some bags, grill some meat, drink beer, hit the pool/boat and envision the explosion of new ideas in each flash of color in the night sky heralding the birth of knowledge.
Happy Declaration Day!