Kansas City Congressman Cleaver July 4th!!!
A message from Kansas City's top power broker on this holiday . . .
Independence Day 2014
Some days it seems Washington is all about picking sides, partisan politics, and back biting. But this weekend, perhaps more than any other throughout the year, is one to remember that, first and foremost, we are all Americans. Yes, some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans, and some identify with neither party. But 238 years ago, the focus was not on party politics and beating each other at what some, frightfully, seem to feel is a game. The focus was on being Americans. Today, it should be no different.
On July 2nd, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to declare our independence from Great Britain. The final vote was 12 colonies for independence, with only New York abstaining because it had not been authorized to vote for independence by its home legislature. John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, that it would be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.
Two days later, on July 4th, the document was sent to King George, given to the public, and the day would forevermore be celebrated as our day of American Independence.
While it might not sound like captivating reading, I urge you to take a look at the Declaration of Independence. Make no mistake, it is indeed a captivating read. It is our founding charter, our galvanizing document, our list of grievances, and our final protest to a tyrannical King. We should read it to our children. They must know where they have come from as Americans, to better chart a path forward.
I mentioned the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence. It’s important to remember the founders of our nation lived in a time when towns could be burned, people hung without trial, laws passed but then nullified by the King, votes simply overturned, and free and innocent people arrested without cause.
The birth of our nation is not only about a protest of large government and high taxes. That was most certainly a part of it. In fact, taxation without representation is the 13th complaint listed – and an important one. But it wasn’t the singular reason for revolution.
We should never trivialize the bravery, genius, and suffering of our founders, driven by these terrifying events to sign this document, even though they feared it might result in their death.
They believed in what our country could become. And despite our challenges and divides, I think they would be proud. They believed in fighting for, and protecting, the generations they would never get to meet. And they believed in liberty and happiness for their fellow citizens even though they realized their actions might mean they would perish before seeing their dreams come true.
What a hopeful and proud, yet frightening, moment it must have been inside that small room in Philadelphia, as they prepared to cast their votes for independence. It’s something to think about this year as we watch the night skies explode with beautiful fireworks.
On this Independence Day in 2014, my hope is we will remember these things. And we will once again commit ourselves to one another – and to our nation. There is no issue too great to overcome if we stand together. Our founders put their faith in one another. We must as well.
I wish you a happy and safe Independence Day.