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God shed His grace on thee

On this day 233 years ago, we told England we’d had enough. I think it’s cool that we’re generally friends with the British now, but I like thinking about how back in the day, we pretty much told them to take their colonial governance and shove it.

I can imagine Thomas Jefferson and his homeboys drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence, surely anticipating the reaction when they FedEx’d it over to England. (“Dude, King George is gonna be pissed.”) The document’s title alone — “Declaration of Independence” — is so brazenly audacious that it’s almost kind of funny. Like, it’s not as if they asked permission to be independent. They just declared it — like it was already a known fact. Like, “Hey England, the sky is blue, cows make milk, dogs bark, and also, you’re not in charge of us anymore.”

Independence Day — such a fitting name. The idea of being on our own, answering to no absolute human authority, but deciding how we will govern ourselves, or if we will govern ourselves at all. Barack Obama is our leader, not because his daddy handed him the reins, or because he took authority by force, but because we chose him to be our leader. If in four years we decide we don’t like him anymore, we can choose somebody else. How incredible is that?

I’m not very patriotic; I don’t think the United States is “the greatest nation on earth”, nor do I believe we have some special VIP deal with God where He’s on America’s side no matter what we get ourselves into. I can’t stand those “JesUSAves” bumper stickers. And I don’t believe America is some irrefutable beacon of truth and democracy that will never be extinguished.

But I will say I think ours is a great country, and I am dang grateful to have been born here. Yes, I’ll protest where I think our country is doing wrong, but it’s actually in my protest that I testify to just one of it’s brilliant virtues — free speech. And that’s just one virtue. My ability to fight a traffic ticket, travel freely across state and international borders, protest our elected officials and vote for new ones, earn a decent living, drive on orderly and safe roads (except of course the Capital Beltway), worship Jesus and talk openly about him to others — these are things I take for granted on a daily basis, and I forget too often that many people in our world (most, in fact) don’t enjoy these liberties.

So here’s to all those intrepid souls who founded this country and had the foresight to form a governing system that serves the people, not controlls or smothers them. We’re far from perfect, and we’ll never be perfect, but we have much — much — to be thankful for.

Happy Fourth!

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Filed under: Current issues,

One Response

  1. janaiha says:

    this was so good. Happy 4th!!

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