Someone once said to me in a rather exasperated tone, “I don’t know why you celebrate Independence Day when you never exert your independence.”
I think many of our founding ancestors would be frustrated at our level of dependence today. We follow along all too easily. We let obviously biased media influence our decision and our thinking. We know that our government is flawed, yet refuse to take the steps necessary to change it. We grumble about what Congress dishes to us, but go ahead and eat it anyway.
Perhaps more egregious, though, is the lack of personal independence we tend to exhibit. We have, within the past half-century, become less a nation of innovators and more like copy-cats. We seem to have grown tired of thinking creatively, no longer reaching into the unknown and chasing something so new as to sound preposterous. We have become content with repetition, more fond of what was done twenty years ago than what we might do tomorrow.
Fortunately, there are exceptions to those overly-generalized statements. There remain a few people, though widely scattered, who have not yielded their minds to establishment or taken up the cause of lemminghood. For those people, Independence Day is not just a celebration of one government separating itself from another, but the independence of personal expression, the freedom to be impossibly different, and behavior based on what one knows to be right, rather than dictated by some invisible entity.
So, we had hot dogs, because they’re popular and easy to prepare, but also had multiple choices of pasta-based salads; soda for the convenience, but also freshly-pressed grape juice (and adult beverages made with limes) ; fireworks, from downtown, observable from a distance, but also some hand-thrown fire.
And then, there was that cloud that everyone is talking about. One giant cumulonimbus structure so immense that one half-expected an alien cruiser to emerge from its leading edge. So many people were amazed, and stopped to take pictures of the cloud, that the Indianapolis Star created an online gallery for them. The cloud seemed to be the universe wanting in on the party with a giant, “Hey, you all watch this !” Fortunately, the universe actually knows what it’s doing. No one died.
Our hearts are filled with many desires, but perhaps among those most reachable is independence; all one needs to do is embrace it … then hold on for the ride.[Disable Flash Gallery]