From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our great nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
When we remember the Fourth of July we think of fireworks, grilling hamburgers in the back yard, and how good watermelon tastes on a hot summer day.
But as much as I like fireworks and picnics, they aren’t the real reason I like the Fourth of July.
The real reason for celebrating the Fourth of July is that it’s Independence Day. It’s the birthday of our nation, and the birthday of our liberties.
I cannot imagine living in a country where people cannot elect their own leaders. But before 1776, it was taken for granted that the king or the queen made all the rules.
Our founding fathers did something that only a few visionaries had ever dreamed of, and no one had ever achieved.
The new American colonies soon became an example to people across the globe, because the ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence appealed to people everywhere.
Within a decade of our revolution, the people of France overthrew their king and set up a new system of government.
Soon after that, colonies throughout South and Central America initiated their own revolutions and freed themselves from the king of Spain.
Fortunately for us in the United States, we learned a hard lesson that people in other countries failed to grasp.
Maybe it was because in the War of 1812, the British tried to reclaim their American colonies while the United States was still in its infancy.
Whatever the reasons, we learned that gaining freedom is not the end of the fight. You can never take it for granted. You must be vigilant, and willing to fight and die to protect your freedom.
Look at Central and South American. Many countries in Latin America freed themselves from the king of Spain, only to become dictatorships.
Even today they’re restricted in their liberties. Political parties are illegal unless they reflect the opinions of the government. Speaking your mind can get you thrown in jail.
The list goes on. You cannot go into business for yourself if you come from the wrong side of the tracks. You cannot send your children to the schools of your choice. You cannot worship God in a church of your choosing.
The Fourth of July is a wonderful opportunity for Americans to appreciate our freedoms. For example, we all like to complain about the political messages coming out of Washington.
It seems that the people who run our government are obsessed with partisanship. They can’t get along and get things done. Our elected leaders are so busy arguing, they couldn’t organize a two-car parade.
But keep in mind that in many other countries, arguing and disagreeing about politics is just unheard of.
You don’t hear politicians arguing on TV, all you get is a steady diet of bland news with the government’s seal of approval.
And remember that Americans have always fought about politics, even back in 1776.
We couldn’t agree on independence. There were factions that wanted to remain loyal to England.
There were factions that wanted each state to become its own nation. There were factions that wanted to do nothing at all, because they said we couldn’t afford to raise an army.
Finally though, the majority of Americans reached an agreement in Philadelphia. Thanks to the leadership, foresight and wisdom of the founding fathers, we agreed that living in freedom was better than living under a monarchy.
On the Fourth of July we should be grateful to the founding fathers. They risked their lives to bring independence to our nation, and enduring freedom to our families.
So from my family to yours, have a fun-filled holiday, and remember to celebrate safely.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.