The political and practical relationship of Britain and the Colonies had become toxic. They said so openly. They worked within the system to try to gain, "justice... and consanguinity" to no avail. At that point, they drew a boundary, clearly and without apology... but in the process made it clear why they were doing so.
The reasons were good ones, it's quite a list. Things which were absent became pillars of foundation to the new government.
Juries, due process, representation, consent and taxation... all listed as grievances, because they weren't present!
I certainly have not been this thoughtful when I've been in this situation, however small in comparison my little personal injustices have been. And I wonder what would have happened, if, like in the cases of India and Canada and dozens of other Colonial stations, England had been willing to simply let us go. Would our path to self-governance have been born and affected without a bloody and dismay filled Revolution?
At the same time, we ourselves, did not take this easy path when the South seceded in the run up to the Civil War. And now, the consensus is that Lincoln was right to preserve the Union, even as the butcher's bill took a horrible toll.
What I'm wondering is this...
How well do we approach freedom in our individual lives? How highly do we hold that personal responsibility and honor? Do we give it away too easily? Do we fight for our freedoms in the right way and in the right time? It's more likely that I'm busy vacillating between apathy and over-reaction.
We are moral creatures and all of us, every one, struggle with our own issues of character - borne out of experience and the deep internal decisions of our lives. Each of us share a sense of humanity and frustration in the sense that we don't always live up to our own personal ethical and moral moorings. We drift, we snipe, we laze about at times we shouldn't.
But the Declaration before us is a stunning reminder that we can and should be More. It is a stunning reminder of the power of the will and the greatness of spirit God with which God has gifted us. To stand and say, "this far, no farther" is a good thing at times. It is a good thing... to communicate clearly why and how things can be better. For this communication can frame our future relationships, even if the relationship at hand is irrevocably lost.
So, on July 4th, I'm reminded that freedom is an incredibly precious thing. I'm grateful that I live in a country so committed to that principle. And I'm reminded to protect the freedom I have... to take it seriously and to personally do all I can to aspire to the best path in the choices that lay ahead.