For those of us blessed enough to be born in the United States, it is easy for us to take our freedoms for granted. After all, that is all we have ever known, and we have become used to them.
It is important that we understand we live in an exceptional nation. We were founded with the Declaration of Independence. It says, in part: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. -- That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ..."
This declaration acknowledges that God grants individual people their human rights. People then loan power to our government. The government holds only as much power as we, the people, are willing to yield.
These "self-evident" truths seem simple, but are powerful. First, all men are created equal. We all have equal value at birth. It does not say that, regardless of whether people work, they shall end up equal. We are created equal and given equal rights by our Creator: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not a guarantee of happiness. Happiness is up to every individual, not guaranteed by the government. We are a nation of believers in God. This provides us with optimism, a belief in the future, and solace and strength in times of crisis.
This year, whether you are in a parade or watching a parade, reflect for a few moments about how incredibly lucky we are to live in the freest country in the world, where we, not government, get to determine our destiny.
To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.