Our founding fathers didn’t get everything right, but there is one area in which they definitely had an advantage over people today. They were intensely independent, and were willing to die to stay that way.
We seem to have lost sight of this somewhere along the way.
As we celebrate this Independence Day, we find ourselves in the midst of another election year.
There’s a lot to be said for the process of all citizens coming together to elect the people who will represent us in the years ahead.
I realize that is more the ideal than the reality. We all know that there is a sizable portion of the population who won’t even bother to vote in November. I guess that is their right in a free society.
However, some of the people who will be voting concern me even more.
Unlike the independent thinkers of years gone by, many voters today don’t seem worried about thinking or acting independently. They seem content to follow the partisan flocks of the major political parties rather than thinking for themselves.
Despite the fact that we have far more information available to us today, many people won’t bother to look for it. They won’t make the effort to educate themselves about the candidates. Worse still, many will not evaluate the options with any pretense of critical thinking.
Many of these sheep will be happy to soak up whatever partisan bilge the party machines spew out, accept it as fact, and share it with other sheep. Even though much of the propaganda is obviously false, and plenty of evidence is available to verify this, people believe what they want to believe.
Perhaps it’s easier for some people to accept the lies, rather than seek the truth.
This certainly seems to be the case if one takes a moment to examine the candidates who seem to be leading the pack of charlatans who are seeking office.
Looking at this rogues gallery, I can’t help thinking we are going to be in trouble no matter who gets elected.
At the end of the day, it may not matter much, because no matter who prevails in November, recent experience suggests that the party machines will spend most of their time and resources fighting against whatever the representatives from the other party suggest.
Instead of working on thoughtful, meaningful legislation, most of our fearless leaders will spend their days trying to block the efforts of the other party.
Independent thought doesn’t come into it.
Even if a few honest, thoughtful people do slip through the cracks and get elected, the cards are stacked against them.
Independent thinkers don’t have a chance in a system fraught with chronic inbreeding and blind partisan loyalty.
The best thing we could hope for this Independence Day would be if a few of the sheep were to wake up and allow themselves to be guided by the lessons of the past.
I don’t hold out much hope that this will actually happen.
Our forefathers cherished independence and knew its value because they had to fight for it.
Lately, that spirit has been replaced by apathy and ignorance. Too many people take their rights for granted. They have forgotten that someone had to take risks and make sacrifices to secure those rights.
It’s up to us to continue fighting for those rights, and one of the ways we can do this is to think for ourselves and make informed decisions.
It seems likely that most people will put more thought into the menu for their July 4 barbecues than into the people who will represent us in the years ahead.
It’s always dangerous to let other people do our thinking for us. Our forefathers realized this, and other people trying to govern (and tax) the colonists without representation and without their input is what led to the founding of this country in the first place.
For those sheeplike citizens who are determined to abdicate their civic duty and blindly let someone else do their thinking for them, I have just one piece of advice.
If you are going to leave the thinking to someone else, at least take the time to make sure the person you are choosing has a minimum of half a brain and is not completely insane.
If we could get everyone to go at least that far, we’d be in better shape in November than we are today.