By: R.J. Moeller
“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” -Benjamin Franklin
Above is the picture of a few good men discussing and deliberating over the contents of what would eventually become our collective case to England (and the world) why it is that there are rights that supersede the dictates of parliaments and out-rank the decrees of kings.
Thomas Jefferson was a lawyer, and the Declaration is, you might say, his opening argument.
Some 235 years later we can - no, we must! - identify the United States for what it is: a sacred gift. It is a solemn present.
Purchased by citizens of an English colony many of us have no blood-relation to. Protected by brave soldiers from towns we'll never even visit. Delivered to our doorstep by preceding generations of Americans who hedged their bets on the belief that future ones would embrace and advance liberty.
The reason our founding matters isn't some sappy Republican cliche. The reason to celebrate and give thanks on a day like this has nothing to do with egotism or jingoism or American arrogance. Developing a healthy respect and appreciation for the uniqueness of this place and these principles is important not because people who happen to live within our borders are inherently "better" than any other.
Why you should care - why I care - is simple: the United States of America is the single greatest aberration in human history. The ideas, ideals, and values expressed in our founding documents and, albeit imperfectly, exercised throughout our national experiment in representative democracy, ARE special. They are different.
Subjugation and bondage and tyranny are the norms. Liberty and economic freedom and the right to worship God how you see fit is the outlier. We are the outlier.
America, the outlier.
"Happy, thrice happy shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the most meager office in erecting this stupendous fabric of Freedom and Empire on the broad basis of Independence and Liberty; who have assisted in protecting the rights of humane nature and establishing an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions."