The Fourth Of July..... our Independence Day! It has so many meanings to me. The founders of this country were brilliant men. They had a vision that endures to the this day, despite the best efforts of varied politicians and justices to change that vision.. to divert it.... to dilute it. This is a Democratic Republic... a Democracy, of the People, by the People, and for the People, as father Abraham said, despite the efforts of some politicians and radicals who wish to convince us that we are not a democracy.
Perhaps they should have told GW Bush that. He envisioned spreading Democracy to the the Middle East. It was a flawed effort, but he did it with good intentions, with poor advice. It is important that we all remember that we are a nation founded on democratic principles.
I love this country, and the ideals that it was founded on. I love the fact that it not only guarantees freedom of religion, it guarantees freedom of choice. It disturbs me that some politicians, and some judges, fail to remember that we have these freedoms. We can worship however we please, or not at all, if that is our belief. There are those that would force their beliefs on everyone. What makes them any different than the radicals who are terrorizing the world from their religious bastions? What makes them any different, if they would enforce their beliefs on everyone?
I celebrate my ability to have independent thoughts, and the freedom to express them without the fear of being arrested or persecuted. I celebrate my freedom of speech. This does not mean that I have the ability to call for someone to be hurt. We must always remember that words have consequences. It means that I am free to disagree with the government, without fear of reprisal.
I celebrate my right to make a choice about who will lead this country. Who will represent me in the government, and who will be in charge of making and enforcing the laws of the town, state, and country that I live in. By the same token, I celebrate the freedom to civilly disagree with these same elected officials, and to work to have them replaced if I do not like the job that they are doing. I love the fact that we do not advocate violence to overthrow those who we do not agree with. This would be anarchy, and would be the death knell of our Republic.
I would remind those who scream about rights being taken away, to just look and see the rights that are being REALLY being taken away. There are those who would take away freedom of religious choice. Some of them are the same people who scream about having their second amendment rights taken away. Smoke and mirrors, friends. They use this to distract you from the rights that they want to take away from you.
We, as Americans, must stand strong, and not allow ANY rights to be taken away, or diminished. We must support each other, and the right to be individuals who have our own Independence. If we do not, then we have failed the Grand Experiment.
On this Independence Day, I ask all of you who know me, to support each other, and to stand up for the rights as outlined in the Constitution. Don't let special interests change what this nation has always stood for... Freedom, and Independence from those who would tell you how to think and how to worship, or not to worship, if that is your choice. If you are a good person, that is all that matters.
Happy Fourth, everyone! Remember what it means. Defend what the founders envisioned. Love and Peace to All....
John Zaffino, Kent Lakes, NY
July 1, 2014