The Meaning of Independence

Fireworks over Miami, Florida, USA on American...

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Happy 4th of July everyone. We’d rather it be called Independence Day, because that is what we have been celebrating for the past 200 years, not a date 7/04.

As we head to cookouts, picnics, bar-b-ques and other food related festivities, we should consider ourselves the luckiest people in the world. Democracy is not the default state of rule in many places around the world. Many countries are art war, some with neighbors, some with themselves. Our nation’s wealth has enabled many of us to lead very comfortable lives, beyond comprehension to many of the world’s denizens, who survive on but a few dollars a day.

Is it any wonder that the number one country people dream of immigrating to is the United States of America?

But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. Our country isn’t perfect, and neither are we. Although we live in a free country, our choices are often limited. Without even thinking about it, we are steered in ways that are hard for us to resist. Say What?

We’ll take food as an example (surprising, heh?)

1. If you want to eat healthfully at a rest stop along an interstate highway, you can’t, because it’s all fast food. How much of a difference is there between Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut? They’re all different flavors of obesity-to-arrive-soon and heart-disease-right-after. And they all serve either Coke or Pepsi.

2. How free are families to choose the food they put on the table? With supermarkets stocking 45,000 items, most people would say very free. But a close look reveals that in each aisle there are a few dominant companies, or a few dominant types of food. In breakfast cereals, most of the 400+ boxes are manufactured by just a handful of corporations (General Mills, Quaker, Kellogg’s). Sure, you could buy that healthier brand but

a) it costs 30% more,

b) your kids won’t eat it because there’s no superhero endorsement on the package.

3. You’re at the ballpark, 4th inning, getting hungry. What about some food and drinks? No problem. That is if food=hot dogs, drinks=Coke or Pepsi. If you want to choose freshly squeezed juice, you can’t. A salad? Who are you kidding.

OK, these are just a few example of the limited choices we have.

Limited, unless we decide to swim against the current. We urge you to try, just so you can feel what it’s like to be truly independent. And if enough of us swim against the current, soon the current will follow us. (And that’s what makes this country great).

God bless America!

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