Fireworks are funny. I remember them being awesome when I was a boy, watching the sky light up from my seat in a packed football stadium. Now, they are still probably awesome, but I don’t care for them much. At this point in life, they accomplish two things: cause our dogs to act like skittish mice. Loud, barking mice.
And then there’s the risk of them waking up my baby daughter. I’m sure that my interest and appreciation for fireworks will rise in parallel to her own interest and wonder.
But to me, they will always be just pretty lights in the sky, no matter how they draw my attention.
The official date given for the colonies’ secession from the House of Hanover is July 4th, 1776. They reacted to a form of tyranny. The independent colonists were sensitive to that sort of thing. Nowadays, we are kept on a steady injection of Novocain. Sometimes we even push in the plunger of the syringe ourselves, and don’t squirm when our “benefactors” try to find the best place to stick us.
For comparison, compare the list of offenses given against King George III in the Declaration of Independence. If you’re not familiar, you can brush up on them here. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Just 85 years after the signing of this document, President Lincoln committed every single one of those offenses, in some form or another. Against the North. That doesn’t even take into account the kind of devastation wrought on the South. Just 85 years.
The Founders knew that no man, not even Americans, could be trusted with power. And they sought to contain it. God must have a sense of humor, because the so-called checks and balances devised by some of the wisest of men only lasted 85 years.
And yet, the offenses listed in the Declaration, the ones that caused men to fight and die, are tepid compared to the furnace we undergo now. King George III, in his wildest imagination, could not have dreamed of the power the Federal government wields today. Our benevolent overlords impact virtually every area of our personal lives, from housing to light bulbs to food to the raising of our children, and oversee a hegemony of foreign influence far greater than the British empire of old. Compared to today, George was a very soft tyrant.
So think about that while you are celebrating this 4th. What are we really celebrating? Jumping out of the frying pan and into a deep pit of vipers? The lowering of our collective standards?
Appreciate the fireworks for what they are: pretty, loud, and sometimes impressive displays of light and creativity. But know that beyond this, they are meaningless. Or, if anything, they represent the raising of our tolerance for evil.
Thank God for what you have, and for the vestiges left over from the American experiment. Thank Him for the prosperity he still allows us to have, even though we spit at the heavens. Thank Him for the wide eyes your child will get the first time they really notice fireworks. Thank Him that you are an American, rather than anything else, because he has certainly blessed this country.
And perhaps thank Him for the original spirit of freedom held by the signers of the Declaration, and then ask to at least be infused with the dregs for the fights in our modern era.
So happy 4th of July. Happy Secession Day.