Viewpoint: Fourth of July 2013

WashingtonDelawareBy George Miller

July 4, diagnosis 2013

It’s been a major national holiday, story for centuries now. But, site what is its significance? It’s not just about fireworks (Bombs Bursting in Air), barbecue and vacations. It’s really to celebrate- but also contemplate- our Founders’ courage and resolve in determining that their living situation had grown intolerable and after too many years of coping with a worsening situation, to finally sever the bonds with their British masters and set upon their own course. This had serious consequences, formalizing our American Revolution and leading to many hardships.

Many of the 56 pioneers who signed the Declaration of Independence were captured, tortured, crippled, killed, impoverished, exiled or otherwise harmed, not to mention the many thousands who fought, supported or sympathized with the Revolution and the Continental Army, led by George Washington.  But, ultimately, these colonists prevailed and established what many will convincingly argue became the greatest experiment in self-government and greatest nation ever. Yes, the USA IS exceptional.

Whatever problems we have, there is still a lot more good than evil here in the USA.

Although Thomas Jefferson predicted that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots,” we have had only one major bloody internal conflict in our history, the Civil War. Somehow, our imperfect Constitutional Republic always managed to move ahead and resolved many conflicts along the way, increasing prosperity and security, although not without some significant setbacks. We’ve also had more than our share of wars, some existential, some discretionary, some arguably unnecessary.

In the modern era, we have our share of challenges to deal with, including the battle of ideas about government, some differing markedly with our Constitutional Republic; natural disasters; internal and external enemies; and dealing with new technologies and concepts.

We need to be suspicious of systems of government which have never worked anywhere tried. If we are at variance with our own laws and principles, we cannot succeed.


Our saving grace may be the Bill of Rights, which was only added as an afterthought to the Constitution, because people were suspicious of ambitious, corrupt, power-hungry governments-  which is all of them. That at least is something that unites most Americans.  We need to revive checks and balances. In the meantime, be very thankful for our legacy, won with blood and sweat.

We must distinguish among enemies and mere political opponents and deal with them accordingly. Those who play fair using the system of government are political opponents. Those who don’t–are enemies. While technology may change, human nature hasn’t. 

 “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable” – President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

George Miller is a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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Gary Aminoff
7 years ago

Excellent essay on the meaning of Independence Day, George. At least you and Mr. Reilly are “retired” and devote your full-time efforts to Patriotism. I still need to work so my spare time is devoted to Patriotism. But it is the patriot citizens of this country that will save it.

George Miller
George Miller
7 years ago

No, I had no idea, Mr. Reilly. Thought I’d be traveling, boating, visiting friends, sitting in a rocking chair. Five years ago, I never would have guessed what the national landscape would look like today.

Brian Reilly
Brian Reilly
7 years ago

Spot on Mr. Miller. Did you ever expect that becoming a Patriot in retirement would become a new fulltime career? Much more now rides on the success of our new careers. Happy 4th of July to you and yours. Thanks to the past brave souls who gave us our liberty.

Brian Reilly