Many of us tend to think of the Fourth of July as a day to celebrate patriotism, which it is, in a way. But it’s good to remember the actual holiday is Independence Day and it celebrates a revolutionary act of defiance and protest against established state power.

At no time recently has it been more appropriate to recall what the Fourth of July actually represents; probably not since 1968 when the nation was rocked by protest over racial injustice, especially the murder of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;

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(5) comments

Walter Dannenmaier

A timely message Mr. Smith! As applicable to nanny-state beach closures and fireworks bans as to BLM. As good, old Ben Franklin said "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Bailey Jones

Thanks for reminding us just how radical the radical revolutionaries were in 1776. Too often in my lifetime our revolution has been co-opted by pundits who see blind obeisance to the state as their greatest virtue, and politicians who literally wrap themselves in the flag while deploying the power of the state to clear the streets of people exercising their sacred American right to protest. It's a day to take stock of our liberal American values - born of the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed inability to use his own understanding without another's guidance." In particular, the guidance of kings, preachers and demagogues.

The principles of our revolution were, and continue to be, the principles of The Enlightenment -

Deism - understanding God’s existence apart from religious dogma, through reason and observation of the natural world. James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and George Washington were all deists.

Liberalism - the notion that all humans have natural rights and that government authority is not absolute, but based on the will and consent of the governed, favoring the interests of the working class over those of the high-born aristocracy, an inclusive and tolerant pluralism that recognizes the equal worth of all people, and a strong individualism free from religious or political dogma.

Republicanism - free and democratic elections, rather than divine right, determine who we choose to be our rulers, plus the values of civic patriotism, virtuous citizenship, individual accomplishment and economic opportunity for all.

Conservatism - tradition can be a good thing. The yang of liberal progressivism should be tempered by the yin of conservative resistance to change. This is why our courts' highest value is precedence. Our political system is a pendulum, swinging left, then right, two steps forward, one step back.

Toleration - government is ill-equipped to judge the rightness or wrongness of opposing religious doctrines, world views or philosophies. As James Madison wrote “conscience is the most sacred of all property.” The people are responsible for bending the arc of justice ever forward.

Scientific Progress - it began as skepticism about received religious doctrine and became the great driver of American progress and economic growth, fueling one technological revolution after another.

So, unfurl that American flag, watch some patriotic events on TV, and be glad that 244 years ago radicals threw off the yoke of an oppressive government, took to the streets, and burned that [censored] [censored] down.

Charlotte O'rourke

Great editorial.

“Independence Day is a day to celebrate the spirit of those who spoke up — and still speak up today.”

Absolutely, right on!

Virginia Stone

Thank you so much for this inspirational message, thank you and beautifully said.

David Hardee

Thanks, Mr. Smith.

We needed to have our today put in perspective with the assurance that we (all-inclusive) will prevail, again. Your recitation that history is valuable and relative to now. Hopefully, that has a soothing effect on the confusion that exists. The Editor's voice reaches where others cannot go,

Thanks again, David

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