EDITORIAL:Â Fourth of July offers profound reminder
“The beginning of the greatest political experiment in the interest of the masses of mankind ever undertaken in the history of the world.”
That’s what former Freeman Courier publisher J.J. Mendel called the establishment of an independent America in 1776, in a writing published in the Freeman weekly in July of 1916.
Mendel’s musing came on the 140th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which of course followed the successful rebellion against British rule that set America on its course forward. It is that system of government, free from the tyranny of empire rule, that we celebrate every Fourth of July, which we will do again on Sunday.
“There exists among some iconoclastic people a disposition to adversely criticize our national holiday, but they are very few in number,” Mendel wrote. “Hardly a single American at home or abroad does not feel his patriotic impulses stirred by the memories of the glories of the Fourth. It is indeed a glorious ideal which we celebrate.”
Mendel correctly noted that few among the Founding Fathers could have imagined what the new form of government would amount to — now 245 years of an orderly and democratic system that allows for both freedom and structure.
“The world prior had been governed by the rules of king-craft and priest-craft,” he wrote. “The human mind had been enslaved by the superstitions growing out of the debasing beliefs in the rule of alleged dividing right of these two classes of men. Released from the thralldom of these beliefs, the mind of man began to act freely. The act of the Fourth of July, 1776, in Philadelphia influenced the men of all races and will continue to influence them throughout all the coming ages.”
It’s a good reminder.
Life is certainly not without challenges here in the United States. The disparity of wealth, domestic terrorism, political differences, oppression and bigotry and the ongoing challenges associated with systemic racism are just a few of the profound difficulties America continues to deal with. We can’t just fly the stars and stripes and pretend everything is rosy here in the land of the free, because it’s not.
But great credit is due to those who recognized what independence could and would mean for the people here and began, as Mendel called it, “the greatest political experiment … ever undertaken in the history of the world.”
Challenges have been America’s reality from the beginning and will continue to be for as long as we live, but all things considered, it’s been a pretty good 245-year run. And that’s something worth celebrating.
Jeremy Waltner | Editor & Publisher