The Fourth of July and Symbols

by talkbackty on Jul 4, 2011

Today is the fourth of July. An important symbol of American independence from Great Britain and the trials she went through in becoming the country she is today. Unfortunately, it seems that a good chunk of Americans don't know anything about this date. 25% don't know the year we declared independence. 20% don't know from what country. And I'm guessing on this one- most don't know that the fourth of July is a pointless date in the grand scheme of things.

The United States declared her independence on July 2nd, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence was finally revised and approved on July 4th the same year.

The Declaration was made public on July 8th.

The majority (as in 50 out of 56) signers of the Declaration signed their names on August 2nd, 1776.

So the only important thing that actually happened on the 4th was that a bunch of old men said, "Ya, that'll do." 

 Let's get piss-drunk and blow shit up!

Oooo pretty...forget everything I'm about to say.  Blowing things up is fun!

The date became a symbol over time. It was first adopted state by state, then declared a national holiday (albeit, not until 1870), and is currently being celebrated all across this country. But it is important to remember that it is a symbol. Not a fact. Not doctrine. Not worth much of anything.

Symbols have power because we bestow them power. The Fourth of July is important because of what it represents. Freedom, liberty, independence. However, those are ideas. If you understand them then you never need a symbol to be your beacon of representation. When you understand what those concepts mean then the Fourth of July should be nothing but a date on a calender.

We care too much about the things that have too little importance. Fights will break out today, anger will be felt between people, someone will die today over a meaningless date. I can say that because statistically it is true. Too many people will do something stupid for someone not to die.

Six months from now the same thing will happen during Christmas. A time that should represent all good humanity has will be tainted by division, anger, and fear. Jesus wasn't born on December 25th. And yet some will get offended when told so. Or when someone says to them, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

We put too much emotion into symbols and not enough intelligence. It is too complicated for some. They want simple boxes and explanations and classifications. What is the Fourth of July: "when the Declaration was signed and America declared her independence from Great Britain." All false.

The Fourth of July is an important symbol. But not because it is a symbol. Ideals of freedom, liberty, representation, independence, and unity have become beacons across the world. They are the cornerstone of numerous constitutions. They are the reason for hundreds of millions of deaths. They form the back bone of our society.

These things are too important to be simplified into a day of BBQ's and explosions. These are things that everyone should talk about every day. I honestly believe the United States is a country built on high ideas. Ideas that were unique and ground-breaking. Ideas that should be remembered and talked about and spread continuously throughout the world.

Ideas that are worth understanding.

Happy Independence Day.

For a little fun here is a good quiz.  I got 9 out of 12.  Let me know how you do in the comments.