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The True Lesson of Independence Day

: Armstrong Williams on

On July Fourth, people throughout the United States gather to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the famous document that broke America from the shackles of Britain's rule in 1776. But July Fourth did not signify the final victory of the American Revolution against the British. That was in 1781 when the British surrendered at Yorktown. July Fourth celebrates the leaders of a young and ambitious nation who declared that they would give their lives in the pursuit of freedom. It celebrates a nation born under the ideals of freedom, a nation created under the belief that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights": life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, the United States is in a highly divided and polarized era, the worst since the time Americans went to war against one another in 1861. We have become a subject of international ridicule; a country characterized by our internal conflicts rather than our strengths. The present state of America is fundamentally opposed to the principles from which it was born. Our nation was born as a direct result of the courageous leaders who made a solemn commitment to the pursuit of freedom. The Declaration of Independence was a unanimous proclamation made by all 13 colonies. It symbolized a united America -- united states. Yet today, our nation is governed by inept leaders who don't know the meaning of sacrifice -- save for a few. They deliberately foment divisions within the country through falsehoods and distortions in order to maintain their hold on political power and its associated privileges.

This coming election, each party has convinced their supporters that a victory by the other means an end to our republic. I'm not paraphrasing either. On Jan. 5, President Joe Biden stated that "America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot." That wasn't the only time he made similar statements like that either. Vice President Kamala Harris, on numerous occasions, has made a statement and posted on X (formerly Twitter) that former President Donald Trump is "a threat to democracy and our fundamental freedoms." Trump, too, on many occasions has directly called Biden "a threat to democracy."

The use of this charged rhetoric has resulted in increased tensions throughout the country, causing every election to feel like a historic struggle for the future of our nation. And it isn't just our elected officials. Social media has intensified the issues our nation is confronting. By leveraging their algorithms, they have successfully amplified the most radical perspectives and fostered the formation of echo chambers within the American population. For young, impressionable Americans, social media has an impact comparable to the indoctrination children under Hamas and al-Qaida rule experience through anti-Western and anti-Jewish cartoons, children's books and school instructions. These echo chambers perpetuate a constant stream of radical perspectives that indoctrinate susceptible young children to see the world through a filter of hostility and division. It cultivates a mentality of opposition between "us" and "them," which hinders their ability to participate in productive discussions or understand alternative viewpoints.

In this fraught context, July Fourth should not only be a celebration of independence but an opportunity to reflect on the fundamental ideals on which the country was established. It should serve as a reminder of the unity that empowered a young nation to confront imminent peril and challenge a dominant global superpower. We must recognize that the power of America lies in our capacity to transcend our differences and leverage those internal triumphs to grow rather than regress. It should serve as a rallying cry for both citizens and leaders to unite rather than divide, and confront the real dangers posed by foreign adversaries like China and Russia, as well as international terrorism directly and courageously.

 

In a time characterized by increased polarization, the Fourth of July can serve as a vital reminder of the common values that unite Americans. The shared principles of freedom, justice and the pursuit of happiness are not merely historical references but living values that require both citizens and our leaders to consistently renew and remain watchful of. The current volatile political landscape may appear unprecedented, yet it mirrors challenges that we have previously encountered. Just as in 1776, when our country united to confront insurmountable odds and stand against a powerful empire that sought to suppress our liberties, we too have the ability to rise above our divisions, as long as we are willing to demonstrate courage once again.

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Armstrong Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. To find out more about him and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


 

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