Freedom and July 4th

Our Freedoms, Finally

It is July 2012, and here we are again in annual rite and ritual to memorialize the meaning of our freedoms.

These are our freedoms in the concrete, less of rhetoric, and more of action.

Or the translation into deed of what we profess.

These are freedoms in substance, and less of utterances whose meanings sometimes escapes the utterers like us.

In this American life we have come to partake of, July is a reminder of a tradition of freedoms in the plural.

These are freedoms that articulate what is guaranteed to us by the force of the social contract that binds us all.

These are freedoms that we have won in the struggle to live in a society marked by what is fair and just.

These are the freedoms that we ought to keep sacred all the time.

For the Fourth of July is a narrative of what we want to become as a multicultural country, as a country of diverse peoples.

Not a single people, but a manifold of peoples from everywhere who have come here to live life anew.

The sacred code of the Fourth of July is one of independence in its most sanctified form: autonomy, self-determination, and self-government.

It is separation too, literally and symbolically.

The America that we know of had to separate from its ‘colonial’ mother thousands of miles away in order to find its path of sovereignty and self-rule.

It was as simple as that: a declaration of independence.

It is the same spirit of independence that we see in the exercise of our political rights, and in the deployment of the means and methods to exercising those rights.

The frenzy with which we see the political climate in Hawaii is not different from the frenzy that we see in our national life.

The mulct throwing has begun, and the exercise of mulct counter-throwing only increases the uneasiness that we witness until the elections come to an end in November.

Between now and that ultimate time, we see a hodge-podge of claims and counter-claims by our politicians.

There are lots of exercises of self-promotion, and we know we can only take in so much.

There is such a thing as exasperation.

There is such a thing as the dumbing down of people, until ill humor sets and they say, ‘Give us back our freedoms!’

The test of our very own freedoms is in their full enjoyment, and no less.

When these freedoms are assured, the Fourth of July is what it is: a real Fourth of July that is ours.
FAO Editorial
July 2012

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