This past Saturday, July 1st, I was inspired by something I saw during the 4th of July celebration in Fish Creek. Prior to the fireworks, a group of 7 teens dressed up in perfect colonial America attire, right down to the lace on the wrist band, were standing on a super large paddle board and paddling around the harbor. The smaller teen on the bow also held up a lantern (“one if by sea…”). They looked like a cross between George Washington crossing the Delaware and a group of colonials out a mission to warn “the red coats are coming.”
One teen was even a wearing a British style red coat, which seemed kind of odd to me, until the others pushed in off the paddle board into the lake and started clapping and laughing. Then I understood. (Don’t worry, the parents were following in a dingy.)
The scene was a poignant reminder of our history as Americans, as patriots, as lovers of freedom, independence, and true democracy. It was refreshing to see these young Americans recreating the founding of our great nation, in a fun, creative way.
It was also wonderful to see them celebrating America at a time when so many teens aren’t even being taught our real history. Over the years I have asked dozens of interns many questions about history – to see what they know. I found that they don’t understand that the U.S. Constitution’s purpose is to limit the size, scope and authority of government and that powers not granted therein are reserved to the people, and that the states were intended to govern the operating details of our democracy, not the federal government.
Personally, I think the whole thing went wrong with the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, when the constitution was changed to allow for direct election of senators. Prior to that senators were elected by their state legislatures, which made the Senate directly accountable to the states and allowed the states to block legislation that took power away from the states and gave it to the federal government.
The whole purpose of our experiment in democracy was representative government, that is, our elected officials were supposed to represent us, the people; not their own interests. Once U.S. senators became directly elected, they no longer had to answer to the states; now they can pretty much do what they want, representing only their special interest groups’ demands.
We are reminded on the 4th that the whole purpose of our form of government is to limit the government in order to allow the maximum freedom without government interference. This is the fundamental principal of Republicans – maximize freedom and independence, a merit-based economy, freedom to succeed, but also to fail and try again, hard work, individual decision making and risk taking, and the like. Democrats on the other hand believe in more and bigger government, taxing every penny you earn, regulating every move you make, making decisions for you (because you’re just too dumb apparently), not allowing for risk taking or failure, but also not allowing for success either. Their idea of fairness is that everyone is equally poor, err, well,
you know, except for those Dems in power.
In Fish Creek, the town board let us all down a few years ago and didn’t plan a fireworks display or celebration on the 4th, so our neighbor took up the responsibility herself and now she raises about $50,000 a year and we condo owners host a big public party with a band and food and games and a giant fireworks display, all on a property I developed. And that’s ok; we didn’t need the government to get involved. Private citizens got it done and do it better!
We had a fantastic fireworks show. A brilliant display of color and sound and fury representing the first 13 cannons that were fired off in celebration of our first independence day on July 4, 1777 and building from there. Hopefully this tradition will never die.
T. Wall holds a degree from the UW in economics and an M.S. in real estate analysis and valuation and is a real estate developer. Disclaimer: The opinions of the writer are not necessarily those of this publication or the left!