I am a loving student of history. Consideration of this day starts for me with reflection upon the incredible act of valor we honor this day when leaders in colonies collectively decided to just create a new a nation out of very different regions, peoples and economies, effectively telling the most powerful king on the planet to go shove it. No immediate alternative defined, no back-up plan for failure, just deep confidence that whatever it is we've got going on here is better than "that crap".
Sounds like the core of independence to me.
And not just national independence, but personal independence. See, that's the thing about Americans - we take our ideology personally. Independence means that each of us is able to look at what's going on in our lives and say, "Nope. Not that old crap. Gonna Do Better. "
Every story, and post, and conversation I've had today has been about this.
Autism stimming in public.
Honoring the soldiers in all generations who've put their lives where our mouths are.
Finding the self confidence to walk away from abusive relationships.
Teaching people how to swim.
The human cost to refugees.
Equipping my staff for leadership.
Political candidates trying to show they are trustworthy.
Owning my self worth.
My child at overnight camp.
My husband on an outing with my son, with no defined itinerary.
Reflecting on God in my marriage.
Every one of these is about the social contract, the deal, we have to respect ourselves and each other so that we can act independently. We each have the right to be wrong, or right, in our own Truth and Being, as long as we can respect that right for everyone else too. Because community gives us freedom from fear. Faith does too.
'Cuz all that growth we have, as physical persons, as spiritual beings, in mental knowledge - it's all to help us find and honor our interdependence.
But that interdependence can only help us if we choose it, independently.
Think about that. We must each choose, of our own accord, to love the other people and things around us. And in that love, in each person separately choosing to respect, care for, and honor the world around us, each of us finds that Sweet Spot in which our unique expression of self is completely free.
I still feel like the best description of American freedom is:
You can pick your friends.
You can pick your nose.
You can't pick your friend's nose.