Independent thinking includes the right to celebrate Fourth of July

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I received a letter this week from a woman named Lyuda, who lives in Ukraine. Although her country is teetering in the ruins and doubt of war, she wanted to remind all Americans to proudly embrace the freedoms that were forged 246 years ago when the Declaration of Independence was crafted.

“Independence: political freedom, freedom from control, freedom for subordination. How often do some people take it for granted? Some people in Ukraine not long ago, those things don’t matter and considered the ideas of freedom to be political chatter.”

We’re letting that same political chatter threaten our freedom. Radical discord has become ear-shattering. And mind-numbing.

This little ditty made the rounds on social media in the past few days:

"A lot of people probably don't want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can't blame them. When there is so much division, hate and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?

"But in all seriousness, you know in your heart, Fourth of July fireworks are amazing, especially when you are standing in 90-degree heat, 100 percent humidity, next to 100,000 of your closest friends. In that moment, something takes over and we all become united in an inexplicable bond. Yes, America is in strife right now, but you know what ... we already bought the fireworks.”

That came from the City of Orlando. Seriously.

Instead of fixing potholes, stopping the sex industry on Orange Blossom Trail and getting drug dealers out of the Parramore, Mercy Drive and Pine Hills communities, government officials should be uniting a community, not dividing it. After all, if you’re not part of the solution, you are the problem.

Then we have celebrities like Bette Midler, Katy Perry and Jessica Chastain all took their woke protest of Independence Day to social media over the recent Supreme Court ruling that sent abortion rights back to the States. Midler, wrote: “4th of July has been canceled due to a shortage of Independence.”

Obviously, the Divine Miss M, has never been to the Fourth of July weekend parade at Keystone Heights or the fireworks show a Moosehaven. The Fourth of July not only wasn’t canceled, but it also flourished.

Billie Joe Armstrong used a litany of f-bombs to renounce his U.S. citizenship. It doesn’t matter to me because Green Day only had one song I liked.

National Public Radio decided to break a longstanding tradition on the Fourth of July by not reading the Declaration of Independence to talk about what equality means. I’ve never listened to that dribble anyway.

ESPN, which used to focus on sports, featured a column on its website that it’s difficult to celebrate Independence Day since “The people who can become pregnant who feel celebratory toward the (Supreme) Court may do so from the victory of their position, but it nevertheless remains true that the power of choice – and the right of privacy – has been taken from all of them.”

Note to ESPN: only women, not “people,” get pregnant.

I have a message to anyone who wants to inject politics into our nation’s birthday: shut up. Most of us aren’t interested – or listening.

Freedom certainly includes the right to speak your mind, but it doesn’t give you the right to tell me what to think. You are welcome to sit in your loathsome world of political anger, but don’t take me down that same sewer hole.

There needs to be discussion and compromise, not revolt. Sensible people can find sensible answers. Extremists just argue.

Maybe to better appreciate what we have in the United States, we should consider what Lyuda and her countrymen now face – the loss of all of their freedoms.

Lyuda said she still’s impressed by meeting Americans shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed.

“First of all, it was that air of freedom of gospel that was forbidden in our country for so long. A group of young people, including me, were still afraid of many things and couldn’t even show our emotion openly,” she wrote.

“But that air of freedom was contagious and we got sick with it in a good sense.”

Happy Birthday, America.

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