4 July 2009: What Is Independence?
--- - - - - -Thomas Jefferson once said he'd rather celebrate - -the Fourth-of July than his own birthday. For me, it's pretty simple-the-Fourth of July weekend is my birthday weekend-George W. Bush-on July 4, 2008 [quote from usapatriotism.com]
--Let fortune do her worst, . . . as long as she -never makes us lose our honesty and our independence, -Alexander Pope-[from Webster's Revised Unabridged (1913) by way of dictionary.net]
I took five pages of notes on the word and idea of independence, resisting all the definitions of patriotism that appeared tangentially. There were a lot of definitions by contrast: what independence is not. For instance, here is what our president had to say (quoted on huffpost):
----- Loving your country shouldn't just mean watching fireworks-on the 4th of July. Loving your country must mean accepting-your responsibility to do your part to change it. If you do,-your life will be richer, our country will be stronger.
I would not call this Obama's finest rhetorical achievement. In fact, it doesn't make much sense, even for children. We all do lots more than watching fireworks once a year. Let's move on.
In another negative context, Joseph Farah at worldnetdaily.com has this to say:
----- Our political and cultural elite don't want to see a nation full of- independent-minded, self-governing citizens who will hold- their leaders accountable to their will and the la ws of the land.-They would prefer sheep. So they have conspired to bring in to -America millions and millions more sheep illegally. . . ."independence" - that thing for which our founders risked their -lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
----- The sad truth is the American dream of independence has been- betrayed. Americans are worse off today, in terms of individual- freedom, than they were before the War of Independence. In -fact, take a look at the dictionary definition of "colony" and see -if it doesn't apply to us today.
Many definitions of independence involve money-not having to depend on others for one's subsistence. Wiki defines it politically: "the self-government of a nation, country, or state by its residents and population, or some portion thereof, generally exercising sovereignty."
And at answers.com, independence means
the condition of being politically free: autonomy, freedom,-independency, liberty, self-government, sovereignty. See- dependence/independence, free/unfree; the capacity-to manage one's own affairs, make one's own judgments,-and provide for oneself: self-determination, self-reliance,-self-sufficiency.-
Here are a few more: