On July 4, millions of Americans spend the day grilling, drinking endless amounts of watered down beer (looking at you, Bud Light drinkers), and watch explosions -- for what? What do we have to celebrate anymore? How can we celebrate our freedom while simultaneously watching it be taken away? Before guzzling down that Bud Light, let's sit down and actually take a look at the Declaration of Independence and see how many of the Founder's grievances with King George are now perpetrated by our own government today.
At the top of Jefferson's list is King George's refusal to allow the people to govern themselves. Sound familiar? It should. As the American federal government expands, the people have lost more and more representative power to influence the changes they actually wish to see. When Jefferson wrote, "He has refused His assent to laws," he spoke of King George's unwillingness to let the local governments of the colonies pass the laws they deemed necessary to the public good. This problem runs rampant today as the federal government holds increasingly more power over the people than the municipal governments that average citizens can actually participate and affect change through. This is the exact problem that the Declaration sought to end, and yet it's happening right now in Washington, D.C.
Jefferson goes on to accuse King George of a multitude of power abuses, namely taxation without consent and establishing a bureaucracy of un-elected officials to enforce unjust and unpopular laws. He calls these acts of a tyrant. They are acts of our current government. With very little representation, taxes are levied on the average citizen that often pay for services or programs that the citizen never voted on or asked for. Sure, a citizen can call their Congressman and complain, but that Congressman is more likely to play the politics of Washington than listen to the complaints of their constituents. On top of that, our federal government has created its own, un-elected bureaucracy to enforce both unpopular taxes and unjust laws. Look at the IRS as an example; people are terrified of the IRS and even just the threat of being audited and sent to jail is enough to keep the tax revenue flowing into the government. We accept these transgressions of our government blindly, either because of ignorance or apathy, and in doing so have allowed the government of King George to make a comeback in America.
So while you're watching those fireworks and singing the Star Spangled Banner on Monday, really think about what you're celebrating. Is it liberty or a blind apathetic nationalism? And for the love of God, read the Declaration of Independence.