Today, we celebrate the 4th of July, our “Independence Day” because we value freedom. We understand the importance of freedom. Freedom was the heart of our founders’ vision for America. Freedom is the natural condition of human beings. Freedom is celebrated today because historically, freedom has been a very rare state of existence for human beings. The most pervasive state of human existence, hegemony, was celebrated three days ago.
On July 1st, the Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 100th year ruling China, and many in America’s left-leaning media celebrated this milestone. CNN tweeted, “The Chinese Communist Party is about to turn 100 but Xi will be the real star.” CNN’s Ben Westcott wrote that this “is an opportunity for the party to reaffirm its credentials, while ensuring loyalty.” And that the “party has much to celebrate, particularly China’s growth from one of the poorest nations in the world into an economy on the brink of overtaking the US.”
Yesterday, a New York Times columnist wrote this about our nation’s birthday, “Today, flying the flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue… to a person’s political affiliation in a deeply divided nation… What was once a unifying symbol is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.”
There is a stark contrast between the way left-wing media views America and its history, and communist countries. The same people who continually remind America of its past sins, gloss over the more brutal, more recent atrocities of the Chinese Communists. On July 1, there was barely a mention of Moa’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution which killed over 45 million citizens, or the present-day Chinese concentration camps where over 1 million Uyghurs are being tortured, raped and murdered.
But today, America, while celebrating its independence, will be continually reminded by our media that we must come to terms with the sins in our past without a historical context. Prior to 1776, freedom was practically non-existent. Only the elite, the wealthiest enjoyed the freedom that our founders wanted to bestow onto the common citizen. The idea of guaranteeing freedom to all citizens was such radical an idea that 245 years later many countries throughout the world still have yet to embrace it.
The United States was truly an experiment, so it is as understandable as much as it is regrettable that mistakes, many serious, were committed along the way. The idea of America was so forward thinking that it was almost inevitable that those who brought us this vision would not fully understand the meaning and be able to manifest all of what they were attempting. They were limited by their narrow perspectives, their view of history and their own humanity - limits which constrain all of our intellects from time to time. So, it is easy to judge them with the luxury of 245 years of hindsight, and through the very lens of freedom that those we are judging brought to the world.
Scarily, the uncompromising judgement of our country’s past sins has opened the door for elements of Mao’s cultural revolution to infest America and try to change America. Anti-American factions are tearing down statues, erasing history, attacking religion, indoctrinating our children, attempting to impose a political hegemony that is found in communist countries like China.
Many politicians today, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC embrace this because they still do not believe in our founding vision. They continue to try to lure us away from liberty to socialist rule with the promise of a government produced utopia in exchange for our freedom. People are tempted by these promises because freedom is scary, freedom hard. As we saw after 9-11 and with the pandemic, under certain conditions people will easily trade their liberty for security. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Freedom is not simply a fundamental right; it is the fundamental right. It is the right from which all other rights flow. Freedom is fundamentally American.
But our current leaders don’t even know what it means to be an American. Joe Biden recently said, “I defy you to tell me what constitutes an American. You can’t do it.” I guess when you don’t believe in defined borders, you can’t define America, much less an American. Joe, an American is an American citizen, any person who was born to United States citizens, or any legal immigrant who went through the legal process to become a naturalized citizen.
But Joe Biden believes that anyone who happens to cross our border, violating our immigration laws and compromising our sovereignty is an American and should be handed citizenship. That is how much he values American citizenship. Gaining United States citizenship should be hard. It should be earned. The more you work for something, the more you sacrifice for something, the more valuable it is too you. If something is handed to you for free, it is not treated with the value and respect it deserves. United States citizenship is the most valuable and significant citizenship on the face of the earth, but our leaders are not treating it that way, and in the end, they will devalue it and all it stands for.
So, is the freedom that we are celebrating today a mirage? A façade? A figment of our patriotic imagination? The echo of a vision of a country that no longer exists? Is America and the American ideal that we are celebrating like the light that we see in the night sky from a star so distant that it has died out millions of years ago? Is the American dream of freedom and equality that we all so cherish still alive or has it been crushed under the weight of partisan quest for power? No matter how much people, even citizens of this country, want to destroy America, we can never let anyone extinguish the flame of freedom that defines America because if we lose our freedom, we cede our humanity.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.