This I Believe

Joaquin - Haltom City, Texas
Entered on June 29, 2006

I Believe in the American Holiday

I believe the Fourth of July should be no holiday from Liberty. I believe in the spirit of our founders, in liberty, and its defense. I believe all men are created equal—all men, all people—beget by their mothers and fathers in the same humble way. And no matter what color people are, no matter what religion people have, no matter where people are, the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness extend to them. I believe, as a loyal American, that a person does not have to be an American to be endowed a few certain unalienable Rights.

Our Liberty didn’t just spring up because we declared independence and revolted. Like charity, Liberty must, in a way, be given to us by others, the same way that our individual rights must be recognized by others for them to be asserted. It’s said that charity begins at home, and I believe Liberty does, as well, for you see, both require practice. The great thing about America is that you can practice anytime.

Here’s a simple example: the next time you’re driving, let a car enter the roadway ahead of you instead of speeding up. Give them the freedom to use our transit system. When you feel ready to advance in your practice of Active Liberty, try this at your local bank: move over a few inches when someone else arrives in line. Give them the freedom to use the ridiculously narrow writing table while filling out their slips. At the Liberty Expert level you can try listening to different points of view. And to really stretch those freedom muscles, be sure not to dismiss those views out of hand.

Seriously though, Liberty is no laughing matter, and we cheapen it when we only pay lip service to it. I believe it is every patriotic American’s duty to practice Liberty every day, not just exercise it.

So, this Fourth of July, in between the barbecues and fireworks, and the ceremonial breaking of water restrictions, I believe we should celebrate America by practicing Liberty: hold open a door for somebody; offer your place in the checkout line to somebody with just one or two items; give the TV remote to your girlfriend.

End a war. Whatever your level of fitness, practice Liberty and be an American Patriot! This I believe.