Independence, a Misnomer?

It wasn’t all that good of a day, this Independence Day eve, if you will.

Oh, i got a lot of things done, but, as usual, none of them ever quite reached conclusion: lots of loose ends to tie up. Then, it looked like things were turning around. i went to the driving range and once again, thought i might have found some magic solution to consistency in hitting a golf ball, an illusion of magnificent proportions. Still, it felt good.

Then i came home for Maureen and i to tag team on dinner, a grilled steak being my contribution and of course Maureen’s incredible salads (once prompting my father to declare he could be a vegetarian if that was his fare). We tagged team on cleaning up as well, and then we sat down to watch the Padres play the Athletic in Oakland.

In the sixth inning, i gave up, passed the remote to Maureen and walked outside to the sitting area. Of course, even in the first part of July, one does not sit outside in the Southwest corner without a top shirt, which i added. i sat here as the glow of the sunset and the city turned dark and once again, opened up this infernal machine.

i thought about tomorrow and all of the stuff people will do. We will go to the North Island Naval Air Station and play golf with our wonderful friends, Pete and Nancy Toennies. Then we will repair to their home on the island for burgers. It will be a good day, and if we are lucky we will miss the traffic in the morning and return early enough to miss the traffic in the evening. We would prefer not to engage in the throng enhanced craziness some folks call a celebration of independence.


Independence is a tricky concept. If you are truly independent, you are utterly and uncompromisingly alone.

Some 242 years ago, the folks who escaped the tyranny of autocratic rule and oppression against many beliefs crossed an ocean, and subsequently defied that tyranny to win independence.

For them. Not for the folks who were here before they got here and not for the folks who came after them, regardless of how they got here if they were different from them.

Those folks who were trying to gain their freedom from tyranny had some rather incredible ideas about true independence and equality. Of course, it was for them, not for any others not of their background and ethnicity.

But the idea of equality, freedom, and independence for all was the core of what they founded even if they weren’t completely true to the idea of that concept for all.

It was the idea of complete freedom and equality that formed the best governmental system the world has ever seen before or since.

But we keep trying to fix it. Trying to make it better for…For whom? For us, not them.

You see, all of these folks since practically the beginning of time think they have the unquestionable right idea of how to make it all perfect…for them.

And every one of those ideas about what is right has a common problem. They are exclusionary. Those ideas are about what works best for them. Not everybody. The solutions are exclusionary.

Now, i’m not claiming to have an answer. i guess all of you people who know the answer and excoriate those who disagree are smarter than me. However, your answers for the problems always seem to leave someone out or throw rocks over the wall at all of the bad acts out there who keep you from getting your way and disagree with your solution.

i’m not that smart.

i hope. Oh lord, i hope i’m not exclusionary.

Freedom is freedom. For everyone.

No system, not modification of a system will bring real independence.

What will?

No exclusion. Peace. Lack of hatred and fear. People treating people in their personal relationships as equals, treating them as equals. Wow. What a concept.

And you know what? As imperfect as it was, those folks who declared independence back 242 years ago, then fought for their independence, then won, they had the right idea.

And it’s that idea of independence we should be celebrating. Wait. No, not celebrating with picnics, eating too much bad food, drinking too much and admiring fireworks supposedly representing something that brings noise, destruction, and death, and all sorts of other ways of having fun.

No, we should be celebrating by quiet contemplation of how we can serve those who gave us the chance for independence with their sacrifice and their creation of the idea of true independence and equality. And then we should consider how we, as individuals, not of some political, religious, or other exclusionary grouping, but how we as our individual selves can deal with the folks we encounter as equals and as humans who are equal too us.

Don’t think that will happen.

But tonight outside my house on the coast of the Southwest corner and tomorrow while we are enjoying being with our friends, in the back of all of my thoughts will be thankfulness for my forebears who not only came up with an idea about true independence but fought for it and won. And then i will consider how i can best contribute to the idea of independence and equality for all.

May you have a wonderful Independence Day…and think about it.


3 thoughts on “Independence, a Misnomer?

  1. Best i have ever read about this country’s independence to the exclusion of those who are different.

  2. “Exclusionary” what an all-inconpassing word to describe the root of the problem. I wonder how many of us are willing to accept our part in this drama.

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