As we gather with friends and family this coming July 4th, Independence Day, we need to remember what this holiday is truly about. It isn’t about barbecue, fireworks, beer, or even about a day off from work. It isn’t just some day in which we are allowed to handle and set off low density explosives around other people. It is a day in which our forefathers chose to become traitors and wanted men in order to free their fellow men, their families and friends, from the shackles of tyranny.
As we sit in our lawn chairs, around picnic tables, eating hot dogs and hamburgers, as we watch the beautiful and colorful display of mortars and rockets, let us remember the sacrifice and danger that those men took upon themselves so that we may be free to do so. We are not able to celebrate because our oppressors took pity on us and freed us willingly. No. We are here because a brave selection of our forefathers risked everything to take our freedom back and give it to us. Why did they do this? Because it was in their hearts and souls to do so.
As we sit around with friends and family, let us remember these brave men and those who fought along side them to bring us the freedoms we enjoy. But let us not forget that this fight from tyranny and oppression is never over.
Even today, the governments of the United States seek to oppress us. The Federal Government has passed sweeping spying powers in open defiance of the US Constitution. The people in power within the states seek to dissuade the vote of the people so that they may retain that power. They do this in order that their corruptions and abominations of freedoms may continue unabated and unchecked.
Here in Oklahoma, we have seen some of the worst of this unchecked corruption. Since 1974, Oklahoma has been one of the worst states in the US for voter freedom. We have had our Constitutional right to freely associate infringed by a government that seeks to suppress alternative political views through the use of unreasonable restrictions on our Constitutional right to petition the government. The petitioning process to form a new political party and gain political relevance is beyond pale. It is near impossible to achieve. Despite the best efforts of many dedicated people, efforts to reform these dizzying laws have been rebuffed by the controlling parties.
For 12 years, three Presidential elections, the people of Oklahoma have been denied an alternative vote for President. While our neighbors in all 49 other states and the District of Columbia have had the privilege and honor to choose between four or more Presidential candidates representing four or more political view points, the people of Oklahoma have been forced to choose between what many refer to as the “lesser of two evils.” What does that say about politics and those that control the process when the only choices available are between two evils?
What does this say about Oklahoma on this our Independence Day?
As you sit an watch the fireworks, as you sit and eat with friends and family, please take the time to remember what Independence Day is truly about. Take that time to reflect on where our nation is now, where our state is now, and ask yourself honestly, “Am I truly independent?”