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According to my astrologist this note is likely to be published on June 28, 2019, and likely read sometime after that. Since there are only six days from June 28 to July 4, here’s a good chance of saying something about our annual independence celebration before, rather than after the day passes, so here it goes.

Let’s start with Webster’s definition of independence – the state or quality of being independent, freedom from control, influence, support, aid or the like of others. Let me say that one more time before heading on here – freedom from control, influence, support, aid and such of others.

I’m not sure what they do in school, day care, after school programs or at home today, but I recall being told by teachers, parents, relatives, family friends and such that having independence meant I could be whatever I wanted to be. "You never know, you could end up being President, or doctor, lawyer, Indian chief whatever you want." (Yes, they actually said Indian chief back then. Not being a member of any tribe, I wrote that one off early on.)

Back in my day you weren’t considered an adult until you reached age 21 and as you know it's 18 today. For those of you who missed the class on maturation, adulthood is the point where the law says you’re on your own and can legally exercise your independence.

All of us have to earn our independence. It takes responsibility and a full understanding that your independence only goes as far as the edge of your aura because it depends on allowing the other guy room to exercise their independence too.

This concept of independence has been enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, where it states that "all men are created equal." America has struggled bitterly to enforce this notion, think Manifest Destiny (Indian Wars), slavery (civil war), equal rights for women (the right to vote), civil rights (segregation, separate but equal), discrimination (German, Norwegian, Irish, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Mexican, Asian immigrants). However, each struggle has helped us ingrain equality for all into our civilization and become a milestone in perfecting our union.

Perfecting our union and preserving our independence requires us to understand that none of us is an independent island and not many of us could survive without the aid of others. Unlike a lot of folks, I don’t believe I’m a self-made man, rather I’m made up of the folks who cared about me along with those I care about. In my mind there is no such thing as a self-made independent man.

Rather, we make our own choices (control) and the independent choices usually involve who we listen to (influence), who might help us get what we need (support), who might pitch in (aid) and that requires engaging others. Therefore, in order for each of us to remain independent, we have to rely on others.

Each of us views the world through our own eyes. The folks around you are probably different than the folks around me, yet in our country each one of them has independently chosen to be wherever they are. The only way we can preserve that independence is to leave room for each other.

So here’s hoping that we can disregard our differences and continue to perfect our union by fully appreciating the fact that all of us are created equal and have the right to independently become whoever we want to be.

Hope you’re happy with your independence.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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