Op-Ed: Celebrate our independence by reflecting on the promise of our republic

By Jason Mercier | Washington Policy Center | The Center Square

I’ll admit that I often look at national holidays as simply being an opportunity to spend more time with my family and forget to reflect on the reasons for the day off. With the American experiment frequently feeling like it is on the verge of collapse, we should spend some time between the 4th of July fireworks and the now way-too-expensive hotdogs to reflect on why our republic was designed the way it is and how it was supposed to function.

Public domain

This painting by John Trumbull, “Declaration of Independence,” shows the drafting committee of the Declaration of Independence presenting their work to the Congress. The original, painted in 1819, hangs on in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.

Though individually flawed and with many faults (as is true of all humans), the founders of this great republic collectively designed and implemented a truly brilliant form of government with separations of powers and checks and balances that strived to protect individuals from suffering under a distant despotic government.

What makes us Americans is not our race, religion, or a single defining culture but instead a shared belief in the cry for freedom put to pen 246 years ago and the resulting republican form of government secured by our Constitution.

Of course, even before the dawn of our country on this continent, there have been truly horrific abuses of power and injustices born by individuals at the hands of those placed in positions of power. The most egregious stain on our country being slavery. Though some see these collective failings as reasons to blow up the institutions of our republic, they should instead serve as examples of why additional safeguards are needed to help fulfill the promise of the American experiment.

Some may believe that political expediency should guide our decisions using an ‘ends justify the means’ matrix, but the process of policy development and adherence to transparent and accountable governance is more important if we want policies to be lasting with strong public support and engagement.

It has probably been years since we read the documents that formed the basis of our governance. Though you probably don’t want homework during your 4th of July holiday, I encourage you to take some time to review these truly brilliant documents:

U.S. Declaration of Independence

Federalist Papers

U.S. Constitution

George Washington’s Farewell Address

As warned by Benjamin Franklin, this republic is supposed to be a servant of the people, but only if we can keep it.

Let’s work together to keep it.

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Celebrate our independence by reflecting on the promise of our republic

  1. Thanks for passing these on. This past Saturday as part ot our Independence Day celebrations in Strafford, eleven children from our town took turns reading passages from the Declaration of Independence in a celebration at the 1799 Strafford Town House sponsored by the Strafford Area Lions Club. Today I recieved an email from the School Board member who organized the reading that the children very much enjoyed doing it and wanted to do it again next year.

    The South Royalton Town Band also played at the event and before the children did their recitation,played the Star Spangled Banner. They ended the program with the Stars and Stripes Forever. There was more than one tear shed, especially when during the band’s playing of the marching songs of the our armed services, members who served got up from their seats and stood at attention to the applause of the assembly as their own service’s song was played. Happy 4th of July all.

    • Sounds like a wonderful celebration, way better than what was done locally here. I’ll have options next year….well done, well done.

  2. Yes thank you as your links are not being taught in schools, the planed down fall of this Republic.

  3. Thank you Jason for the homework; I appreciate it! downloading so I can go back as needed

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