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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Reborn on the Fourth of July

"Do they live in America? ... You mean they don't like freedom?" My then 6-year-old son asked me these questions last year upon learning that there are people who hate seeing the American flag (except when it's on fire). I discussed that in a 2005 essay on why I love Independence Day. I hope your day is one of family, friends, and festivities — and that you'll take some time to remember that Thomas Jefferson and his visionary companions literally risked their lives in behalf of the freedom that makes America unique among all nations of the world. A reflection for this day:
"In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man—these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth and their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress." — Calvin Coolidge