Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.
Independence Day is a day to honor all that we love and enjoy about our country. The Declaration of Independence is the root and the trunk of the tree that bares every good fruit that has come from our blessed nation. We have so much to be grateful for, and we have achieved so much — and none of it would have happened if our forefathers hadn’t had the resolve and the bravery to stand up to an overbearing government and follow the course of their convictions even to death.
Independence Day is essentially a birthday for our nation. And I have to wonder if ever a nation had been born with such promise. One of the things that makes American unique in the world is that we are a nation that was not built primarily on a common ancestor, common language, common religion — but instead on a common ideal. “America” is just as much an idea as it is a people.
In 1776 the vast majority of the world’s people were subjects. They were under some king or emperor. But our founders had a better idea, for a new kind of nation that eliminated that distinction between royalty and the commoners. And instead of joining together a people based on any number of outward expressions or physical characteristics — they built a nation of people joined together by a belief.
This is one of the reasons that many from around the world look at the state America is in, some even comparing it to North Korea, and saying that the virtue of liberty can be lost from the nation who was not only born with it, but born because of it — then where else can the world turn.
As Ronald Reagan said, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
We must persist in our efforts to protect and preserve freedom — not only for the hope of our children, but for the hope of people around the world who see America as we see it, a great land of opportunity and possibility. Those who have come before us paid too dear a price for us to surrender so easily. Others around the world are paying too dear a price now, under various oppressive regimes, that America must remain that city on a hill.
This is one of the reasons I am a Republican. No where else do I see a greater sense of honor for our country and all that it stands for. Decades ago it seemed that Democrats used to share that same sentiment. But today they look for every opportunity to dishonor, destroy and sabotage the beautiful ideas that our nation was founded on. Sure — we’re not perfect. And unfortunately, we probably never will be. But I still believe with all my heart that there is no nation who has done more good for more people at home and abroad than ours. There is still a gap between where we are and where our ideal will take us. But we cannot close that gap by undermining the good that comes with our history. We cannot honor the ideal of our founding fathers by tearing them down.
We must put aside our differences, the way that drastically different colonies from the North and the South did in order to fight for and advance a better purer more honorable ideal of freedom than the one that they had inherited. And instead of tearing down the founders, or tearing down each other, let us instead seek to build up and strengthen all that makes this country great.