Hog farm with U.S. Flag overlay National Hog Farmer

Independence Day is more than hot dogs and fireworks

It is important to reflect on July 4th and the freedoms granted to us 241 years ago.

America commemorates its independence today after our forefathers actually formally adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. Although America’s independence is celebrated on the 4th of July, the birth of our countries’ sovereignty began with the approval of the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee’s motion calling for the colonies’ independence two days earlier.

Celebrating America’s independence evolved over the years. Today, a day off of work, eating a record number of hot dogs, firing up the grill and fireworks dominate the headlines. The freedom we take for granted is often not spoken.

Independence Day marks the birth of the United States — a time when many, many generations before us woke up and said “enough is enough. We want the liberty to make our own decisions, govern ourselves and preserve our freedoms.”

The Bill of Rights bestowed constitutional protection for individual liberties, placing limits on government power. As heated political debates, Twitter wars and new regulations receive approval, it seems our freedoms are quickly eroding away.  

Yet, the fundamental freedoms granted to us in the U.S. Constitution are still intact. Our forefathers took a stance and fought for political freedom. Yes, the crazy political process, we as a nation endures presently, is basically the same process our forefathers stood behind.

After all, Lee introduced his motion in June 1776, but it was not approved until after a committee formed and I can only suspect many, many gentlemen agreements behind closed doors. Can you imagine just exactly the tweets during the process? Or perhaps they had more decorum.

Acting on our freedom of speech, all Americans have the right to form an opinion and express it. When working on laws that govern an entire nation, it is better to talk out the issues, actually listen to the other side and work toward a better solution. 

Farmers and ranchers advocate for the freedom to farm. They ask for the ability to raise crops and livestock based on science without harmful regulations curbing productivity to place safe, quality food on the global table.

The agriculture community bases decisions on science, weighing the benefits versus costs and lets practicality prevail whereas opponents lead with emotional policy making. However, the feelings are the exact things that stop the listening process. We are all guilty of formulating the next defensive move in our minds while the other side is still talking.

Still, the tricky part is leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of the people we elect. Hoping the facts, the reason and the truth will triumph.

Laws keep order, but laws also can restrict. Today, one can argue that the government may be overreaching, elected officials or political parties have influenced the process over the years and listening to all sides of an issue falls on deaf ears — this I will leave for you to discuss among yourselves.

At the end of the day, it is important to reflect on July 4, and frankly every day on the freedoms we all blessed with living in the good ol’ USA. Those living in other countries are not so lucky.

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