My goal is to get as many Americans as possible to celebrate the true meaning of the 4th of July with a short program of foundational readings before they enjoy their picnics and fireworks that day.
I have two purposes. First, I heard many people say at protest rallies that the education piece is missing. Longer term efforts need to be made to educate people about their heritage. It's that old saying, if you don't know what you stand for, you'll fall for anything.
Second, I hope that celebrating the 4th in this way will help maintain momentum into the November 2010 elections.
Below a list of suggested readings and activities. You will also find my Instant Graduate Degree in Political Science which states the philosophical core of the America Idea in 400 words. Feel free to use it - no attribution required.
I hope you will support this effort by scheduling a 4th of July program for your group or by suggesting to your members that they hold programs of their own.
* Readings from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
* The Bill of Rights
* The Gettysburg Address
* The Bill of Rights -
* The Instant Graduate Degree in Political Science -
Too many Americans have been cut off from their heritage and no longer understand the set of ideas the country started with, or why the Founders' ideals remain important today. Understand these ideas and you will know more about our country than many politicians and college graduates. These ideas are simple to grasp, yet so very powerful. The Declaration of Independence states that you have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not something the government gives you; you have these rights before the government ever enters the equation. The Founders instituted a system of limited government so that these rights could not be taken away from you. This is the true meaning of the American Revolution, and it was truly revolutionary. For the first time in human history, a government was instituted whose express purpose was, and still remains, to protect the rights of the people. The federal government has only the enumerated powers expressly set forth in the Constitution. Under the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, all other powers belong to We The People and to the states, not to the bureaucrats or politicians in Washington. The Founders were very far-sighted in instituting limited government. They knew that every now and then a charismatic demagogue would come along singing a siren song about how much the government could do for you if only you would surrender your liberty. The Founders knew that somebody would always want to be King George and that the inevitable tendency of government is to grow its power and expand its reach over the people. The system of checks and balances the Founders created will, if faithfully observed, forever prevent another tyrant or tyrannical government from emerging and ruling the land by personal whim or its own dictate. The Founder's set of ideas is superior to all political theory that went before (might makes right, the divine right of kings) and every political ideology that has come along since (Marxism, socialism, and their warmed-over derivatives that have destroyed liberty and failed everywhere they've been tried). So, as you celebrate the 4th of July, remember the true meaning of this day and why we in America truly have cause for celebration. We the People are free and, sadly, that has not been the case for most human beings who have ever walked the earth. Congratulations, you have just graduated. Now go in liberty and cherish every minute of it. Use your freedom wisely; it's a great gift. And don't let anyone denigrate the magnificence of the Founders' ideals, confuse you with sophistry, or take your liberty away from you without a fight. It's your heritage and your birthright as an American.