On Saturday, America will celebrate her 239th birthday, a birthday born from 13 colonies uniting under a rallying cry for personal liberty and religious freedom. July Fourth is not "The Fourth"; it's Independence Day.
What have we done with our independence? Have we been good stewards of the liberties gained and established through war, founding documents such as our U.S. Constitution and the sacrifices of so very many?
First, why does America exist?
Because the subjects of civics and history fall down the ladder of priority to activism and political correctness in the realm of reality, many may have forgotten this "new world" was sought by those refusing to pay taxes to a corrupt and politicized organization that had formerly been the church but was weaponized by the British crown for the purpose of taxes, controlling speech and uniformity.
Those who sought and settled America rejected the government as the primary institution in their lives.
How do we differ today in our view of government?
Today, the federal government and its tentacles reach into and choke with its death-grip every single aspect of our lives, from how much standing water impacts a watershed to the trans fat in our cake frosting and microwave popcorn to the menu of health services mandated in an insurance policy, and on and on. In dramatic contrast to our founding, the primary institution in our lives for income, food, health care, and social constructs such as marriage, life and equality is the government.
Yet, our nation's founding document, the Declaration of Independence — with its signing begun on July 4, 1776 — spoke of severing of "bonds" with the tyrannical government of England to create a new government that recognized individuals as "equal" and "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."
In gross ignorance and through crafty indoctrination, today's population has accepted that its equality is determined by a government agency or political party affiliation and that individual rights come from the laws created and enforced by a human institution. It does, that is, unless your voting block protests in strength.
While America's founding families rejected the god of government and its omnipresence and omniscience, today's hyper-political existence coupled with our weak culture worships at its alter. In recent years, many blame inanimate objects for crime instead of the hatred in the hearts of criminals, believe all remedies are born out of protest or a government-blessed social framework to award their rights, and permit the bullying by the political left to marginalize those of the Judeo-Christian faith as extreme dissenters rather than people standing on their God-given freedoms.
We have permitted a government endowed by our Creator "to secure these rights" that are "self-evident" and derive its "just powers from the consent of the governed" to malignantly morph into an institution to be feared by its constituency under the premise of "social good."
The government vending machine, churning out false philanthropy and social engineering, has made most citizens to be wards of the state rather than citizens of the freest nation in the world pursuing their God-giving talents to work, own, invest and achieve.
Americans this Independence Day cannot honestly declare our freedoms as secure or strong as in years passed. But we don't have to think too far in the past to know that we can do better and that our best days can be ahead. Let's recommit to authentic liberty.
Robin Smith, former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, is owner of RiversEdge Alliance.