April 15, 2015—Major life events. We all walk through them personally and watch them occur in the lives of those around us. From new lives birthed to graduations, marriages, careers, and the journey of growing older into retirement, no matter how diverse each one’s path may become, ironically, each journey ends the same way – with our final passage from this life to the one that lies ahead. Though no two lives can ever look exactly the same, the same principle applies to everyone: Life is what you make of it.
Though everyone’s life is ultimately a summary of what they choose to make of it, Americans are blessed with the privilege and opportunity to succeed more than many of our counterparts around the world who may still live under tyranny and oppression. In a world of ever-changing times and politics, it is important to consider several questions:
• How did America become the great “Land of Opportunity?”
• Are Americans truly free to make the most of their lives?
• What will we do to steward this sacred privilege?
There are many reasons cited for why the American colonists chose to rise up against the greatest monarchy and global power of the 1700’s. Many believe the colonists were seeking religious freedom first and foremost. Others hold to the idea that the colonists would not be forced to pay taxes without proper representation in the English Parliament. Any way the situation is analyzed, the heart of the American Revolution lies in the overwhelming desire for liberty. Liberty to serve God as one so chooses (and thereby equally, liberty not to serve God if so inclined), freedom from having one’s hard-earned money forcefully taken without a say in the matter, and ultimately, the authority to hold sovereignty over one’s own life; to build and make of it what one decides is best for himself and his family.
Once the revolution was won, our founding fathers had a great task before them – one of building a new nation. These men had the opportunity to build any kind of political system that they wished. Many American Christians hold to the philosophy that our founding fathers were all Christians and established America as a “Christian Nation.” Although many of our founders were clearly God-fearing and religious, one thing is very clear: America was not established as a theocracy. Could it have been? There is a strong argument that yes, as the framers of our Constitution had a completely blank slate before them, they were certainly in a position to establish any kind of government they wanted or thought best, including a theocracy.
But how could men who fought and died, pledging their lives and sacred honor for liberty, now force a new nation to live under one of the precise laws they just fought a European dynasty to be freed from?
Our founders knew better. The great “Land of Opportunity” was not born out of a desire to create and control a new American form of the British crown. Nor was it established on the premise of simple democracy where a 51 percent vote from the populace would have control over how the other 49 percent lived. The great America experiment, the very thing that has made us the nation which grants the privilege to make of our lives what we choose, is that with every pen stroke of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our founders chose to establish our nation on the idea of protecting individual liberty over the desires of the collective.
To their credit, the men who earned and now held the power to establish any kind of government they desired, chose to hold firmly to the reason they fought the revolution to begin with – to establish a form of government that, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, would treat all men as equals, protecting their God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
America at its foundation allows its citizens to make of their life what they choose by having an established government that does not grant us our rights, but that protects them. Many governments throughout the world establish the rights and privileges that their citizens must live under. Our founders had the wherewithal to realize that liberty can never exist under a government that grants the citizenry their rights. It is only when you operate from the principle that all individuals are granted the same rights to live freely and happily by God. No matter how different each path may turn out, and without any government control over one’s life so long as one’s choices are not infringing upon or hurting the livelihood of another, it is only then that liberty can truly exist.
To the question regarding whether Americans today are truly free to make the most of their lives, we must admit that our current state of government is a long way away from the defender of liberty that our founders established. While we do still have the freedom to make of our lives what we wish, we do not have the freedom to do this without government interference. For instance, what happens if one chooses to keep all the money they have worked hard to earn without paying a large percent of it to taxes? What happens to a business owner who has offended a customer for choosing not to serve them for any personal reason they may have? How free are our children to learn according to their strengths when they are all required to study from the same government-generated curriculum? The list unfortunately goes on and on.
While we are still technically living in the “Land of the Free,” we no longer exemplify the qualities of a nation that our founders fought for, and it is getting harder and harder to live our lives freely as we determine as individuals. It appears the American people – for a myriad of reasons from apathy to a desire for security – have forfeited this long fought-for sovereignty for individual control of our own lives.
While a shadow of individual liberty and opportunity still exist, it is important that We The People work hard to steward, fight for and regain the lost ground we have silently forfeited. While it is an uphill battle and no easy task, be encouraged by remembering that the revolutionary colonists were in a much more difficult position, and they succeeded. It is time to return to the mindset of those who pledged everything they had for liberty.
While this revolution is not a call to arms, it is a call to return to our founding principles. It is a call to better educate ourselves in who we are as a nation, a call to engage those around us for the purposes of liberty, and a call to hold our legislators accountable, fully backing and supporting those who choose to run and stand for the principles we are fighting to regain. It is time for a new uprising, not to establish a new nation, but to return ours to its rightful place and function.
It is time for a new American revolution.
What does a new American revolution look like to you? Sound off in the comment section.
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