Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Freedom to Go Fishing

Happy 4th of July! I used to eagerly wait for this holiday every year. Christmas might be the only holiday that I loved more as a kid, but that was only because of the presents. July 4th had it all: summer, fireworks, friends, fireworks, food, and… oh, did I mention fireworks? That’s right, I loved the fireworks! I loved to watch the big stuff over Prairie Creek Reservoir in Muncie, and I loved to shoot off my own on the back walk at my folk’s house.

As a child, that was all it meant; fun and fireworks. Now, I guess I’m past the fascination with stuff that blows up, but I’ve gained a new appreciation for the day. The 4th of July is now “Independence Day” to me; the date of our nation’s birth. Oh, sure, there’s still the other stuff; summer, food, friends; but today I’m also thinking about what this country really means to me.

We have it so good here. Even the poorest among us have more resources and perks than most of the rest of the world. Televisions. I-pods. Cars. Parks. Hospitals. Fast food. We take so much of it for granted. Even things like indoor plumbing and fresh water are not necessarily commonplace in most of the world.

What has made this all possible? Certainly, it isn’t the simple presence of the natural resources. It isn’t just that we are a “Christian” nation. Christianity has existed for much longer than the good ole USA. So, what has made the difference for us?

I’m thinking it is FREEDOM. The freedom to choose. The freedom to go. The freedom to do. The freedom to make our own way; to build our own future; to surge forward unimpeded. The freedom to choose our own leadership, and the freedom to change it when we decide it is time.

But, on this Independence Day, let’s not confuse that freedom with government. Historically, our form of government provided the opportunities because it created the framework for our way of life, and then it got out of the way. We didn’t become a great nation because our government controlled everything; in fact, I believe that the opposite is true. We became greater because the government did not exercise control. The more government controls, the less real freedom we have.

The American Dream is not a family of four in a nice big house with a dog, a cat, and a boat. The American Dream is the freedom to exercise our own personal vision; to build our own future; and to create our own path. We are a nation of trailblazers, explorers, and entrepreneurs….let us do it!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any more “stimulus” bills. Don’t give me a fish; give me the freedom to go fishing! Our government can provide the framework for the protection of all, but then it needs to get out of the way. No more stimulus bills, less red tape, and lower taxes….American ingenuity will do the rest.

What we need is the freedom to go fishing…if you know what I’m trying to say.

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