Reflections on the Meaning of 4th of July and Liberty

Written by Andrew Melillo

Today is the 4th. The anniversary when a Declaration was written about Freedom and Liberty for all mankind. The greatness of that document is that it made men bound to a system of injustice, free from centralized rule from a empire thousands of miles away – the tragedy of that document, is that it did not apply to all persons in the nation from which it derived – yet as the great Frederick Douglas once wrote: 

“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?…What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

Frederick Douglas

He then further asserts about the American Fathers, that:

“They were statesmen, patriots, and heroes, and…with them, justice, liberty, and humanity were final; not slavery and oppression.”

And herein lies the paradox. American liberty, as it was conceived was not perfect, and full of the original sin of slavery – but the statement of the Declaration is not less valid as a result – it is the ideal in which our nation was born. And from it, in order to create a more perfect Union (Constitution reference, not the Declaration), we must continue and always strive to make that a reality each day.

I look forward to celebrating the 4th because, while it does not represent a direct Freedom for all concerned, it is the document we must always hold ourselves accountable to as Americans, and God fearing fellows, and strive to work for each and every day. Progress is messy, and not perfect, and letting the more debased nature of our energies rule the day, will not do anyone any good and flies in the face of that ancient, perfect, and good ol’ adage: Be good, and do good.

The 4th is not just a celebration of a few white men, achieving victory in a limited war – it is the celebration of a stated idea of Liberty – that must apply to all humans of the Earth.

Happy 4th – God Bless Ol’ Glory, and God Bless each and every person in this special country, for which so much blood and toil was offered in a sacrifice to its success.