Tuesday, July 16, 2024

I’d rather be free than safe

Photo by Don Williams, Lincoln City Homepage Publisher

While waiting in line at a local grocery store on July second, I overheard a kindly cashier say to the fella in front of me; “Have a safe Fourth!” He responded politely and went on his way.

But, of course, the interaction bothered me. Why?  Don’t know. Like most things in this life that I find troublesome I have to think it through for awhile until I can get a conclusion to gel in my gray pudding of a brain.

As I thought about the admonition to “Have a safe Fourth,” I finally figured out what was bothering me: It’s the two words “safe” and “Fourth(of July).” It just seems to me that those two words should never be mentioned together to a guy if one wants to have some fun or…freedom.

I know that this will be a leap for some of my kind readers but, truly, what does Independence Day and “safe” have in common? Nothing, nothing at all-at least historically.

From the moment John Hancock and 55 other men signed their names at the bottom of a piece of paper that was bound for England to shove in the face of King George-their lives and all they possessed-became worthless. The risk those men (and families and associates) took to write:

“In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” cannot be overstated.

They treasonously declared that England held no hold on them, their land or the states they had established as once British citizens.

They continued; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable 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.”

The line “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” must have really pissed off a king who thought his power to rule came directly from God.

Jeremy Bentham ghost wrote a response from Great Britain at the time; “How this Declaration may strike others, I know not. To me, I own, it appears that it cannot fail — to use the words of a great Orator— “of doing us Knight’s service.” The mouth of faction, we may reasonably presume, will be closed; the eyes of those who saw not, or would not see, that the Americans were long since aspiring at independence, will be opened; the nation will unite as one man, and teach this rebellious people, that it is one thing for them to say, the connection, which bound them to us, is dissolved, another to dissolve it; that to accomplish their independence is not quite so easy as to declare it: that there is no peace with them, but the peace of the King: no war with them, but that war, which offended justice wages against criminals. — We too, I hope, shall acquiesce in the necessity of submitting to whatever burdens, of making whatever efforts may be necessary, to bring this ungrateful and rebellious people back to that allegiance they have long had it in contemplation to renounce, and have now at last so daringly renounced.”

Needless to say, a war did come to our American shores. Many on both sides perished for their ideals but the Colonist prevailed.  And today is the day we celebrate not just a piece of paper or the men who risked everything to write and sign that piece of paper, or the men who died to secure our liberty, but we celebrate FREEDOM.

A freedom to make our own decisions about how we will individually and collectively run our lives. A freedom that always sits so tenuously on a point that it could teeter off into oblivion if not cared for and protected.

So, have a free Fourth of July and be as safe as you damned well want to be.

Don Williams
Don Williamshttps://lincolncityhomepage.com
Don Williams serves as publisher and editor of The Lincoln City Homepage.

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