The War of Independence was a one-sided matchup. England, population 6.4 million, a military of 2.4 million and an awesome armada, versus The Colonies, about 2.5 million farmers and colonists. No Las Vegas bookie would have bet on America. But God did.
There’s a rebellious streak in youth. It’s a natural tendency. It thrives to despise authority, to abhor rules, to kick back at every provocation that seeks to restrict its sense of freedom. If you don’t believe this, adopt a teenager.
The young are revolutionists, sometimes seditionists. Innovation is their magic carpet. They detest traditionalism. Their minds have not yet crossed the threshold of Concession or Impossibility. Things are black or white, not gray. It’s blood and guts, not cookies and tea.
Youth has something to prove, and it’s restless until it does. It’s impervious to danger, eats it like nail soup. It spits in the face of death and dares it to complain. Change is a quick snack. It always wants more.
Old men don’t dig trenches. They don’t wage wars in the dust, the heat, the cold, the mud and the blood. It’s viewed at safe distances with smarmy handlers, catered meals and corporate sponsors. Their empty platitudes are masks of insincerity at the gravesites of patriotism.
Strategy and political maneuvering are their amusements. Their spirit of conflict is overcome by their pacifistic urge to compromise with status quo. They conduct closed-door conferences, initiate schemes of international intrigue. The globe is their chess board. Youth are their pawns. Don’t rock their boats.
Is America becoming soft by compromise, anesthetized by wealth, obese by inaction? Is it content with the noose of choking regulations or acquiesce of personal independence squeezed out by a greedy central government? Is it happy with the constraints imposed by a bloated bureaucracy? Where’s the spirit of rebellion headed today? Who are the protesters?
America was conceived as a nation of rebels. Like youth itself, it was a wild, vast and desolate wilderness, full of promise, privation and possibility. Its future was unknown, untapped and untried.
The bones of its skeleton are nationalistic; its flesh the principle of charity; its breath the soul of freedom. God spoke these words once again unto the chaos of America, “Son of man, can these bones live?” They did, and in 1776, not Juneteenth, America was born. It remains a mighty nation now for 246 years.
America thrives on a cult of perpetual youth. The quest for the Fountain of Youth ended in 1513 in what’s now St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in America. Ponce de Leon had a vision, but it was 263 years early. Today the spirit of that vision is alive and well.
America is not planted in concrete. It’s sleepless, ever inventive, always transformative. It runs, not walks. Enough is never enough. Perfection is just another milestone to something better. The culture of constant rebirth boils in the national spirit. Caste finds no home here.
How is this possible? America’s freedom was not born of a religious fanaticism. Nor by slick, sugar-coated words of doctrine that rolled off the tongues of politicians. Freedom comes at the expense of blood, not vowels. The blood of Colonial Patriots still cries from the earth, “Remember, remember, remember!” This is what we celebrate on Independence Day.
America was a dream. Dreams are ephemeral. They vanish easily at daylight. Dreams need nurture. The visions are gifts that need to be stirred up regularly. Like the grit of discontent, it impels us to action.
On Monday we will again celebrate Independence Day with parades and egalitarian events nationwide in our land that blossoms like the Garden of Eden. We will for a day reignite the Spirit of Freedom that thrives in our nation. We will eat 150 million hot dogs and the words ‘lily-livered’ and ‘yellow belly’ will not be uttered.
Overhead fireworks will explode everywhere. Like the bursts of muskets and cannons, may each one remind us of the sacrifices that were made by the Patriots and continue to be made by stout-hearted men and women in uniform.
America’s future of freedom will continue to be earned by the sacrifice of those who possess faith in the heart, freedom in the soul and fire in the belly. May our Spirit of Rebellion always remain alive, ready, willing and able, living out the creed of, “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
July 1, 2022