The Fourth of July is a time for the silent majority to begin reasserting its voice for a strong defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It’s true. History repeats.
Thirteen years ago, in 2007, heading into the July 4 holiday, it was inauspicious time in the U.S. The nation was still mired in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the great housing bubble recession was on the verge of exploding. President George W. Bush’s approval rating was 32%.
It felt as if the nation’s mood and disposition was growing increasingly morose.
We could use a boost, a shot of spirit and a reminder of who we are and what we’re all about.
So began a tradition at the Observer. Just before the July 4 holiday, the Observer published a special section, “Voices of Freedom.” The idea was to help celebrate what our founders called “the Glorious Cause” — the Declaration of Independence, the nation’s birth and liberty — and to remind our readers, the community at large and visitors of our nation’s roots and what it means to be free.
Two years later, we renamed this annual July 4 special section “Spirit of America.” Ever since, we have illustrated through the stories of our neighbors in Sarasota and Manatee all the characteristics that exemplify the Spirit of America — entrepreneurialism, generosity, creativity, industriousness, patriotism, family, neighborliness, religion and love of country.
Few of those virtues would have occurred without our founders’ commitment 244 years ago to the declaration that we are all created equal and endowed by our creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
With this year’s edition of Spirit of America, we find ourselves once again struggling through an unsettling period nationwide. History is repeating, albeit far worse than 2007.
But thanks to the creativity and great of work of the Observer’s editorial staff, this year’s edition of Spirit of America celebrates those among us who rose up in a time of crisis — the COVID-19 pandemic — to lift others’ spirits and serve others in need. The stories and photographs remind us of that quintessential generosity, determination and can-do spirit that has been a hallmark of the people who make up the extraordinary tapestry of this great nation.
What’s more, this year’s Spirit of America stories should give us hope, especially now when so many of us are worried as never before about what is next and what is to come of the future of our republic. Indeed, it sickens so many of us to see weak elected leaders in our great cities capitulate and let the anarchists, Marxists and ignorant renegades kill and maim innocent people and pillage property, untouched by any legal retaliation.
Permitting this behavior goes against not only the deep-rooted rule of law that has governed this nation for 244 years, but it also crumbles the stone tablets that God gave to Moses thousands of years ago on Mount Horeb — No. 5: Thou shalt not kill; No. 7 Thou shalt not steal.
The proponents of this anarchical mayhem justify their violence, including the destruction of historical monuments, by saying our nation was founded on violence against the British monarchy and that it was saved by the violence waged during the Civil War. The only way we change, they say, is by way of violence.
Those causes were much different — one to proclaim independence from tyranny, the other to preserve the republic while also ending slavery.
What is the anarchists’ cause today? “Social justice”? “An end to systematic racism”?
But what is “social justice” anyway? Equal outcomes for all? This country has been striving for social justice from its start, and probably more so ever since the Civil War. Justice in America has always been and is a constant work in progress. And likewise the quest for it is always rooted to the two C’s — the commandments and Constitution. Destroying the republic as envisioned by the anarchists’ stated Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (see box) is clearly not the American way.
Systematic racism? We are far from perfect, to be sure. But what nation on Earth has done more to confront and work to eliminate racism than we? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Russia? China? Why do more people from around the world consistently want to come to the U.S. than they want to go anywhere else? Because we’re racist and oppressive?
We, like everywhere else, have bad, evil people. But to paint this nation with the broad stroke of having an entire society of institutions driven by pervasive, premeditated racial hatred is unambiguously wrong. Decades of obvious racial progress show the hearts and souls of Americans are anti-racist.
And we continue to strive to be better. The way to do that is not the way it is being done now — at the point of a gun or by the mob. The way to do that is at the ballot box — and to stand firm and speak up, show courage.
On this awkward Fourth of July — with the COVID-19 pandemic subduing our Independence Day celebrations — we hope the holiday nevertheless marks a turning point — a time when the silent majority, the vast majority of law-abiding, America-loving patriots, begins to reassert its voice. We hope it’s a unified voice that asserts a decisive call for the defense of our nation’s founding principles, a just enforcement of the rule of law and a forceful repudiation of life-destroying Marxism, socialism and anarchy.
We hope the silent majority, starting this Fourth of July, begins to end its silence and, like our Founding Fathers, recommits to the immortal declaration to everyone’s peaceful unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
On this July 4, let the Spirit of America rise up once more.