The Real Meaning of Independence Day in America

Each year, on July 4th, I reflect on the blessing to have been born in a country where anything is possible and anyone, no matter economic background, heritage, culture, race, sexual preference, or religion has the opportunity to succeed. It is the reason why so many people around the world dream of coming here.

Is America a perfect place? Of course not! We are a country wedded in paradox.

We fight bitterly amongst ourselves but quickly come together when there are threats or tragedy at home and abroad.

We are materialistic but generous when others need help.

Even though we celebrate a level playing field of one person one vote, we allow special interests on all sides to dilute the power of those votes.

There is racism, prejudice, poverty, and exclusion.

Though each person has equal opportunity to succeed, we don’t all start at the same place with the same resources.

Though we celebrate those who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps we willingly provide hand-outs to others who claim that they are victims and take advantage of the system.

In America where opportunity abounds, there is not and will never be a level playing field.

The brutal reality is that life is not fair in America. Bad things happen to good people. Bad people sometimes win.

There is defeat, failure, and plenty of roadblocks.

There are poor people and rich people.

Some people have to work harder than others to get ahead because they were born into unfortunate circumstances, dangerous neighborhoods, non-existent parents, poor schools, poverty, or are immigrants held back by language and cultural barriers.

Some believe the government uses taxation to penalize the success of those who have worked hard to make something of their lives. Others think that not everyone is paying their fair share.

Some people give, some people take.

Some people hustle and become phenomenally successful while others whine about their circumstances.

If you live in America there are myriad external forces beyond your control. There will always be obstacles in your way. There will always be something or someone to complain about.

However, when you allow these external forces to control your actions and thoughts you hand over control of your life to the government, the company, the boss, your heritage, your circumstances, the whims and opinions of others, and to your own internal voice that keeps telling you that bullshit story about “what you can’t do.”

But what if you stood up and declared:

“Starting today I will not depend on, wait on, or hope for luck, the lottery, the company, fate, or the government to help me change my life?  I will take responsibility for my own life. I will set my own course. I will make my own success. I will take action. I will persist. I will find lessons in setbacks. I will look forward not backward. I will turn haters into motivators. I will be empowered by my circumstances not impeded by them. I can achieve whatever I want and nothing can hold me back. I own my future. This is my Independence Day!”

True freedom is accepting and believing that you and you alone must be responsible for your life. This is how you take back control. This is how you reach your dreams. This is the spirit and foundation on which this great country was built.

This is REAL independence.


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