On this Fourth of July, take a moment…and think of a way to commit a random act of patriotism. Pick a cause, take a stand, and take action.
We hope we have helped to give you the tools to do just that on FISA and beyond. If you have gone out to a 4th of July parade or event with a sign or two, or show up at a town meeting to ask questions — please send us any photos or video you take.
As we celebrate Independence Day, think back to the Founders of this nation — their long odds, facing down the King of England at the barrels of his muskets and cannons, with little to no funding, fewer allies, and a wholesale threat of the loss of all of their personal assets, their families’ security, and their lives…all of this at stake, and yet they fought for freedom, for liberty, for the rule of law over the whims of a petulant monarch.
If you haven’t done so yet, take some time today to watch the videos in the This Brave Nation series. Because everyone needs some inspiration once in a while, and these are superb.
Today, let us stand for liberty. Celebrate what has come before us — but know that there is much more work to be done.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— John Adams (YouTube):
A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.
There is no executive order; there is no law that can require the American people to form a national community. This we must do as individuals, and if we do it as individuals, there is no President of the United States who can veto that decision.
As a first step — As a first step, we must restore our belief in ourselves. We are a generous people, so why can’t we be generous with each other? We need to take to heart the words spoken by Thomas Jefferson:
Let us restore the social intercourse — "Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and that affection without which liberty and even life are but dreary things."
A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good. A government is invigorated when each one of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation. In this election year, we must define the "common good" and begin again to shape a common future. Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
— From the statement of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, via Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
A time comes when silence is betrayal.
This is a Day of Affirmation — a celebration of liberty. We stand here in the name of freedom.
At the heart of that western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, all groups, and states, exist for that person’s benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any western society.
The first element of this individual liberty is the freedom of speech; the right to express and communicate ideas, to set oneself apart from the dumb beasts of field and forest; the right to recall governments to their duties and obligations; above all, the right to affirm one’s membership and allegiance to the body politic — to society — to the men with whom we share our land, our heritage and our children’s future.
Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard — to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives. Everything that makes man’s lives worthwhile — family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children and a place to rest one’s head — all this depends on the decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people, and I mean all of its people. Therefore, the essential humanity of man can be protected and preserved only where the government must answer — not just to the wealthy; not just to those of a particular religion, not just to those of a particular race; but to all of the people.
And even government by the consent of the governed, as in our own Constitution, must be limited in its power to act against its people: so that there may be no interference with the right to worship, but also no interference with the security of the home; no arbitrary imposition of pains or penalties on an ordinary citizen by officials high or low; no restriction on the freedom of men to seek education or to seek work or opportunity of any kind, so that each man may become all that he is capable of becoming.
(YouTube above — a montage of speeches and statements from Bobby Kennedy.)