Happy Independence Day from Hot Air to Our Readers

Please allow me to wish the healthiest and happiest of Independence Days to all of the readers of Hot Air. Without you, we would not be able to continue to exist and bring you the best news and analysis of current events possible. We truly value each and every one of you. This greeting goes out to both American readers and those from nations that share our common values of democracy and freedom. Like most of you, we will be taking a brief respite today to honor this holiday, and we hope that you will find the time to not only find joy and connect with family and friends, but to reflect on the true meaning of the American dream and the history that brought us to this moment in time. It’s easy to understand how some might be wavering at this particular point when America’s place on the world stage has been called into question. Weak leadership has emboldened our adversaries and left some allies questioning our dedication and fortitude. Rank divisiveness on the home front has led to clashes between our own citizens on multiple fronts. But our shared future demands that we recall the labor and sacrifices of those who brought us to where we are today.

America started out as a ragtag collection of colonies beset by other interests seeking to establish a foothold in North America and an imperial power that sought to subdue us. We overcame all the odds and rose in a relatively brief period of time (in historical terms) to be the leader of the free world. As we are learning yet again in the current era, such a position is not guaranteed forever and it will always require sacrifice and dedication to maintain. An uncertain world requires leadership that is strong, certain, and dedicated to the principles that our founders set forth in the nation’s earliest days. As a tribute to that, let us revisit the words of Abraham Lincoln in one of his less famous speeches given at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on February 22, 1861. 

I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here, in this place, where were collected together the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. I can say in return, Sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. 

I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.

It is perhaps somewhat ironic that Lincoln invoked the idea of being assassinated rather than giving up on the founding principles of our nation since that would go on to be his eventual fate. But take particular note of his vision of a nation where “the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men.” That is the moment we are facing in the United States right now. Choices are before us when we must decide if those who are elected to lead us will use their powers to benefit the elite few who support them or the great masses that labor to pay for their positions of power. There are forces that still seek to divide us over issues of race, gender, and everything else they can muster rather than deal with these fundamental issues.

Independence Day should be a time when we can see past internal barriers and once again grasp what must be fundamental to all of us. This is America. Other great empires have risen and fallen. This is not our time to fall. Celebrate with your family and friends. Fly the American flag outside your homes. Take a well-deserved break and come back with a renewed resolve to not simply “make America great again,” but to keep America great. It’s worth doing. The alternative is a world too perilous and threatening to consider. Happy Independence Day.

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