Editorial – Cherish freedom on July Fourth

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

On the eve of another Independence Day, we’re reminded of the words of this country’s first president, George Washington: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is power. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”

Yet only the most radical of us would argue that government isn’t necessary. The Bible itself instructs Christians to pay taxes and pray for government leaders.

On Thursday, we will celebrate the 248th anniversary of this nation’s Declaration of Independence – the prelude to the establishment of our government. All Americans should pause this time of year to read it – or attend the annual public reading of it at the 1750 Courthouse on Main Street, held this year on July 2 before the nighttime fireworks over the Pagan. 

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While all of us can find fault with certain government leaders and policies, and heaven knows we are doing so during the 2024 presidential campaign, most Americans wouldn’t trade our system for any other in the world.
Independence Day is a good time to reflect upon and rededicate ourselves to the principles upon which this nation and its government were founded.
When our forefathers severed ties with England in 1776, it was a declaration of war for which the signers paid dearly. They enunciated this inspiring principle, the words of which are as true today as they were then: 


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


And so it was that the world’s first democratic republic came into being and thus inspired freedom-loving people the world over.
For more than two centuries, the United States has been an example of freedom, self-government and justice. Yet, if they were around to assess their creation, this experiment in self-government has likely succeeded far beyond the wildest expectations of our nation’s founders.
Let us not be complacent. We must remain vigilant against forces of oppression and intolerance. We must keep striving to become a better version of ourselves. Freedom must be exercised and defended by those who enjoy it.