Different take on Independence Day
But we too often gloss over the double-edge sword that was the Declaration of 1776. The intent, of course, was to guarantee colonial independence, but those who endorsed it also risked getting locked up -- or worse – by the King of England.
The members of the Second Continental Congress were true patriots, most likely inspired by Richard Henry Lee’s resolution and Thomas Paine’s 47-page pamphlet. The king actually considered the Congress a traitor group that was "engaged in open and avowed rebellion," and offered rewards for the capture of key rebel leaders.
Among those rebel leaders were the legendary Committee of Five: John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert Livingston of New York and a young Virginian politico named Thomas Jefferson.
And when all was said and done, the president of the congress intentionally (and flamboyantly) signed the Declaration of Independence with bold letters in dead center.
"The British ministry can read that name without spectacles," he’s rumored to have said, "let them double their reward."
Enter Iraq’s “Continental Congress.” Much like the hired guns of King George III, extremists are bent on derailing the democratic process by terrorizing Iraqi government workers, from ministers to police officers, and their families.
Iraq’s government must start a campaign to unify the nation against the terrorists, and convince the citizenry that its current struggle against oppression is not only necessary, but a seminal step for freedom in that part of the world.
The Iraqi people must continue to seize the moment and defend their rights. The road to freedom has dangerous crossroads, and Iraqis are facing one now. Those who lead the country past the crossroad become legends; those who hesitate die in vain.
I look forward to one day reading Iraq’s version of Common Sense. I’d like to one day take my family to visit a national museum in Falluja, and learn more about Iraq’s pioneering political thinkers. I eagerly await Iraq’s first peaceful Independence Day celebration.
In the meantime, let’s continue to lift up the U.S. servicemembers who are working to make that day possible. And tho we may not be working at their side this long weekend, I hope they know that they have earned our support, our respect and prayers.
To the troops: Wherever you are, whatever you do, here’s to a happy and safe Fourth of July.