Today we celebrate the birth of our nation and our own independence at a time when the enemies of both are feverishly active in our republic.  For 242 years our nation has been a beacon lighting the way for all the peoples of this blue planet.  The appearance of our republic has been imitated, but its substance has never duplicated.  Many nation have constitutions, most aren’t worth the parchment they are written on.  Only one other nation holds that its peoples happiness is an important goal.  That is just an obvious difference that you can share with children before tonight’s fireworks.

The core of our republic is that from its founding the primary focus has been on the individual, most other nations focus on groups and group interests.  When our republic has been at its best we have stood up for the individual, when we have been at our worst we have treated people only as a member of a group.   Our crowning achievement is that we welcome new members into our republic and advance together better than any other any other group on earth. That is the “how” of Americas greatness.  The “why” goes back to the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness is an intensely personal concept and a mercurial goal.  We have it as a foundation of our republic.  This more than anything else has inspired people to come here and be a part of the grand experiment.  The pursuit of  happiness is at the same time selfish and noble.  The pursuit of happiness motivates people to try new things and create what has only been dreamed of  before.   The pursuit of happiness brought us to the moon.  It is the power that energizes our economy.  It is what keeps us together, and it can make us move apart.

Since individuals are the focus of our republic, it is true that only individuals can be its saviors.  But it take an individual able to bare up under the burden of that individuality.

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about
to preserve their reputation and social standing,
never can bring about a reform.  Those who are really
in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing
in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately,
in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised
and persecuted ideas and their advocates,
and bear the consequences…”

– Susan B Anthony​​​​​​​ (1820-1906)

As many times before our republic needs men and women to express the individuality and pursue happiness to defend our republic.  It can’t be done by people that have given up on being happy, but by those that are actively pursuing happiness because they want more.  It doesn’t take 51% of us, but just a few people.  I have ever confidence that there are more than enough of us here now.  Here and there stepping up when it is easier to step back.  Easy isn’t happy.   Which is why easy isn’t in our founding documents or our national character.

Happy Independence Day to all of you, and every one you love, and all Americans everywhere!

Respectfully,
Matt O’Brien
President:  Worcester Tea Party

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by baldilocks

It’s strange how mundane things can trigger memories. That happens to me here in my native Los Angeles whenever I drive on one of the connections between Interstate 5 and Interstate 110. The southbound 5 to southbound 110 transition is a little stretch of two lane highway which looks like it was carved into the hill next to it. Though it’s in the process of an upgrade, for decades it looked rickety enough to crumble with a good, trademark Southern California shaker.

But there it hangs, for at least as far back as I can recall. Trucks, buses, etc. have sat on it in traffic jams headed toward downtown LA – or to Dodger Stadium — for decades and probably are doing so as I type these words.

Many years ago, another vehicle had occasion to take this tiny stretch of highway: my great-uncle (1920-2000), great-aunt (1921-2012) and I would be on our way home from Lake Isabella and, when we hit that part, I knew we were close to home.

Among my mementos is an identical postcard.

My uncle had one of those pick-up trucks with a camper on the back; a nice one, big enough for three. (Do they still make those things?) We’d go over that road and, I, with a six-year-old’s a vivid imagination, would get the feeling that our truck was too big for the road and that we were going to fall off into some unknown abyss that waited for us. Fortunately, it takes about fifteen seconds–traffic willing—to run over this part of the freeway, so my morbid imaginings never had time to bloom into full-blown panic.

I used to get an inkling of that panic as I drove over the stretch, but now, the panic is gone and the sweet memories of a happy childhood remain. I’m very grateful for them.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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