Can’t help but be thoughtful today about freedom and government. Today marks US Independence Day, commemorating the moment when the colonies shook off King George III and declared their independence. 

“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” the declaration tells us, are “unalienable Rights,” and that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

And here we are, 245 years later, now with firsthand experience of a noun that shouldn’t really be in a democratic lexicon, “lockdown.” Now, in a time when we have somehow adjusted to government/corporate censorship of individual voices and information, and, especially of late, the labelling of dissenting views as “extremist.” Now, when our personal information, communication, medical choices, and whereabouts are tracked on an epic scale. Now, when the sudden bombing of a distant nation, also holding people with unalienable rights, barely registers, and when information is suppressed, withheld, or manipulated by what was once known as a free press. Now, when taxes are siphoned from the masses and put to pockets and purposes perhaps not quite in keeping with the notion that “all men are created equal,” as the declaration noted.

But such things happen dependent on the consent of the governed and on the tax dollars of said governed. It is with the forbearance of the people that malfeasance blossoms. 

Just like other animals, each one affirming Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, we need to be present, alert, and protective of those unalienable rights. It is on us to actively pursue and empower leadership that supports and implements our rights and the vision we hold for our free country and world. And, in that respect, each one of us must be a leader, awake to and informed by our innately compassionate hearts.


independence day

Tigers deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, too!

Strange times. Here we are celebrating Independence Day during a period of ever-deepening loss of freedom. 

The celebration commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. A key selection from the revered document simply asserts:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It goes on to say, basically, that the whole point of government is to ensure those unalienable rights.

Wave the flag all you want, but we are not really holding to the sentiment expressed so clearly in the Declaration. Nor have we been for a long time, if ever.

When we consider folks like women, black people, Native Americans, immigrants, and others, it is easy to see that interpretation and application of the Declaration has not been straight-forward.

It’s time to double down on the original expressed intent — equality and Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — because our freedom is at more risk than ever.

The whole Covid-19 adventure has been an exercise in surrendering freedoms. And that’s post Patriot Act.

Lockdowns (and more) have quickly given us a primer in loss of freedoms, and how swiftly it can happen. Those freedoms have been cut in the context of heavy propaganda, making it next to impossible for the average citizen to judge the situation or the truth in an informed, rational way.

Adjusted to it, yet? Because it has launched us down a path that guarantees to strip us of more freedoms in the long term, unless we are vigilant and proactive.

Sadly, Americans seem to be taking entrenched stands on things. What we really need to do, however, is come together. We need to learn to accommodate opposing points of view as we educate ourselves and find a path that allows us our equal and unalienable rights. 

We will ensure neither health nor freedom by stripping rights, or by alienation, mockery, and ostracizing.

I hope we all recognize, too, that we really can’t trust our freedom to government at any level without our alert and insistent participation. Even though we’ve seen a lot of protests lately, there is so much more work to do.

This Independence Day, we have to stand up and demand, with respect and compassion, those equal and unalienable rights outlined so many years ago.

Just like the deer in the forest, the fish in the sea, and the birds in the air, each of us exists on this amazing planet with the mission of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Deeply grateful for the freedom we do experience, let us take these words to heart and act like we mean it. Let’s do it together.