The rest of the stanza in our headline goes. “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
The answer is of course yes, but it now waves over a country whose citizens would rather have the perception of being safe, rather than being free.
We have allowed our citizens to be put on secret no fly lists without any proof that they represent a security risk. Our government spies on our telecommunications without a warrant, and the public says the only people who should be concerned are those with something to hide.
Presidents can declare wars without the approval of our elected officials.
Our property can be confiscated under false pretenses and the courts do nothing—neither does our Department of Justice.
Our elected officials now live and earn more than our average citizens and we are often taxed without our permission.
Yet Americans have in large numbers abdicated their responsibility to vote, allowing the few who bother to vote and still believe in self-governance to choose who will run our government.
Americans need to be reminded this 4th of July – Independence Day – that we are free because of our forefathers who signed our Declaration of Independence, at times at great personal sacrifice, so that in the future we would be free from the tyranny of a government that is not representative of the people. In thinking about the words “home of the brave,” we would be wise to remember those who were persecuted, hounded out of their homes, driven to bankruptcy or murdered because they would not renounce their signing of the Declaration of Independence.
It’s time for all Americans to rededicate ourselves to the principals our founding fathers suffered and died for; the right to self governance, freedom from government intrusion into our homes and lives without approval of our fellow citizens and our courts and the freedom of travel.
It is not always easy to be brave, but citizens should be allowed to go about their business and live their lives without their personal freedoms being curtailed by those citing fears of attack by outside forces.
The freedom to protest government actions without fear of punitive reprisals from government is fundamental.
So is the right to vote.
So is the freedom to face our accusers in a court of law without fear of undue influences.
Our country needs to renew the teaching of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights with an added emphasis and fervor.
And Americans need to remember Patrick Henry’s cry: “Give me Liberty or Give me Death.”