the price of independence – sharing it


{image is a photo of the Statue of Liberty}

Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

– Emma Lazarus (often misattributed to MLK Jr, who later paraphrased Ms Lazarus)

I have so many thoughts about Independence Day that, quite frankly, really have almost nothing to do with the Fourth of July.

I mean, there’s a lot to be said about our country’s birth and the great experiment of freedom (qualified and stratified as it was and, for many tragically still is) but I just can’t help but go down a very different road on a day that revolves around celebrating the concept of independence.

I’ve found myself searching back through old posts like this one, this onethis one and this one exploring what independence will mean to each of my girls and what we’re doing to help them, each in their own way, to achieve it. 

I got stuck for a while on my dad’s words in an email to me years ago:

This growing up stuff is good and bad, good because it moves our babies away from us and into the world they must deal with to be successful, and bad, because it moves our babies away from us and into the world they must deal with to be successful.

And then I found myself thinking about the broader notions of freedom — of the right to independent thought and self-determination and the revolution necessary to achieve it. About what it really means to prove an entire societal paradigm wrong and to create a new one in one’s lifetime. About the various ways to enact change.
I went in search of a John Adams quote that I knew I’d seen years ago.

The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

I thought of how, in so many ways, that’s precisely what we so desperately need again.

And then I thought yet again about the flip side of the privilege of liberty — our sacred obligation to our fellow human beings to use it in order to ensure that it is no longer held by a select few, but shared by every and all.

And then I wound up in the sixties. Singing along with the guy who said, “I think of a hero as someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.”

The times, they changed then. And on this Independence Day, I find myself doing what I do pretty much every day – puzzling through just how we can get everyone to see that they need to change again.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Have a happy, safe Fourth, my friends.

2 thoughts on “the price of independence – sharing it

  1. I needed this post today, thank you.

    I had a seizure last night and this morning because I increased my depression medication, which then produced a very severe case of insomnia (I can only sleep for 4 hours, maximum, at a time). Exhaustion triggers the seizures, which are currently not being controlled because I lack the necessary medication. I do have an anxiety medication that helps me to sleep, but then I sleep too much, and so I’m often out of it. Today will be a quite day, which is hard because I’ve been trying to climb out of this depression sand pit I’ve been trying to claw my way out of. My brain feels off, my body feels strange. This post reminds me to hang on, that the times they are changing, and so I’m not stuck in this body, this mind, this situation. Thank you. Happy 4th to you and yours 🙂

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