The Declaration of Independence was adopted on the 4th of July but had yet to be signed & started as a resolution a month earlier. True change is never instantaneous but each choice plants a seed & every action waters it. What may start as unrest or discomfort often leads to declarations of intent yet it’s what we do with those good intentions that make the difference.. or not. In 1776, five men presented a resolution
“declar[ing] the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from allegiance to or dependence on the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain…”
Copies were distributed to members of the Continental Congress as well as throughout the colonies & other territories upon its adoption. A congress made of revolutionaries rallied British colonists one year into an ongoing rebellion against Britain itself. The 13 colonies that participated did become the country we now know as The United States of America.. after seven more years of war.
That dawning of independence did not provide freedom. In declaring ourselves free, we stated our intent. An intention that would’ve been but a footnote in history had we not been willing to put in the work, take the risks & suffer the losses. As a side-note, it amazes me when Americans think France should be beholden to us for our involvement in World War II since French involvement was crucial to The American Revolutionary War & it was the Treaty of Paris that officially recognized the independence of The United States of America in 1783. Surely it was the least we could do, considering we may not have existed as the country we are without them.
“To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect, and their oneness.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~
Allies are an important part of any revolution. Whether revolting against the status quo or your own habits, support from the right people — including yourself — is key. It can be as tricky to find true support from outside sources as it is to truly support ourselves. If we remember our choices plant seeds of possibility, perhaps we can assess our actions & influences more honestly. How are they watering those seeds? As detrimental as a drought of discouragement is, it’s seldom too late to revive a thirsty idea or intention. What we need to be wary of is any form of acid rain as it won’t just stunt the growth of our seeds of change. Acidic input will damage our personal revolution at its roots.
“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
~ Thomas Paine ~
Independence must not only be won but kept. From the moment we decide our circumstances must change, we are fighting for or against that goal. Only we can declare our intention, claim our independence & exercise our freedom. The confines in which we do that declaring, claiming &/or exercising is what varies. In Iran, the declaration of a vote may feel lost but the intention remains & the claims were heard. Amidst Iranian freedoms being challenged, it’s the Iranian people who must choose not to be quieted. We, as allies, must choose to keep listening. When larger freedoms are limited, we learn to recognize & exercise the power of our intrinsic liberties.
Rebellion begins with questioning yet often is the questioning. Conditioning & fear are the twin pillars of the staus quo, there to keep questioning to a minimum. Most North Koreans live in fear of the outside world rather than longing for it as we might imagine. Generation after generation is conditioned to trust a government that’s manipulating them. For all the liberty lost throughout the world, most painfully evident in regions like Darfur, rarely does freedom seem so lacking as in North Korea. Their physical freedoms lie at the end of an Underground Railroad like the one slaves once relied on in The US so freedom of thought becomes everything.
“Injustice in the end produces independence.”
~ Voltaire ~
Our thoughts are the ultimate battleground. Regardless of the freedoms we’re granted or opportunities we’re provided, we’ll offer up little more than passing fancies unless we dare to believe. No-one else can give us the chutzpah to question or the impetus to act. If we’re paying attention, others will demonstrate their faith in us & yet others will lead by example but we must be open to inspiration. In a world where new thoughts are frightening, North Koreans are nonetheless thinking them. Faced with history being revised as it’s being made, Iranians didn’t give up. Despite varying degrees of privilege, we are not truly free if we’re not willing to imagine a world radically different than the one we know.
“Independence … is loyalty to one’s best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes.”
~ Mark Twain ~
That willingness, that independence of thought, is what the 4th of July is really about. Few freedoms exist that new thinking didn’t help create. Even our intrinsic liberties require creative thinking to be put to dynamic use. Whatever your country, don’t let your life be dictated by circumstance. Don’t settle for declaring what you want. Revel in that victory & find ways to start implementing what you envision. Whether the changes you imagine are large or small, take the action your current circumstances allow then build on that as things begin to change. Be patient but persistent, avoiding the drought of inaction & the acid rain of self-doubt. Any ideal we have for ourselves or the world, can & should be watered sought.