The inspiration that was the driving force of the creation that we call America is rooted in the idea of the collective good. I am concerned that concept of the all important individual has been hi-jacked. We are indeed a nation of individuals, but at the same time we were always people who believed in the common good. The founding fathers were very much the self directed people we tend to admire, but they were also people who worked in concert with each other. That is a concept marriage that makes great things happen.
The notion that people who are successful created their success on their own merits alone is the height of arrogance. In America we grow up in towns and cities where we are all educated in public or private schools that are paid for by someone other than ourselves. Taxes pay for public schools and families pay for private schools, we as children did not pay for that education. Most of us grew up where there were libraries and hospitals and courthouses that we also did not pay for. When we travel by plane we are using an operating system of navigation that was paid for with our taxes, and when we use the internet we are using a system that was researched and inaugurated by our tax dollars.
It is this wonderful melding of the communal effort and the self-directed individual that makes America work as well as it has over the years. That concept is what we should be celebrating on July 4th. Other people around the world have admired us for the ability to lay a large groundwork of educated citizens, that can with great personal commitment propel themselves to great heights.
Other countries that have similar values and structures have achieved similar results. Many countries have borrowed our model, and have become our great competitors. That competition has only made us better.
We should be proud of the structures that support us and remember that America is a gift from people who lived more than 200 years ago. We should also be proud of the generations in between our beginnings and now that have helped keep alive this delicate gift. Ben Franklin remarked when the nation was formed "We have given you a democracy, if you can keep it". We have kept it, and it is our daunting responsibility to keep it going. Thank you Mr. Franklin and all your brave friends, we will keep it!
Now pass me a hamburger and a beer, I’m ready to celebrate!