“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”Ronald Reagan
Independence. This core value of our nation, frequently hijacked, abused, and neglected, requires some rumination, most notably on July 4th. I would have to agree with President Ronald Reagan, though I only heard this quote for the first time today, that freedom is precariously perched on the edge of extinction, especially when our society on so many levels seeks to destroy it. For too long we’ve taken independence for granted or we’ve allowed governmental, societal, or media pimps to whore us out to so many “lovers” that we’ve forgotten the value of a marital commitment to our first love: “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Rather than be nourished on the core values that inspired our Founding Fathers to break away from the tyranny of the King of England, the values that still draw thousands of immigrants from around the world to this day, we’ve been fed a steady diet of fragmentation and rage brewed in the cauldron of hate, greed, and fear. Rather than learn from our history, we’ve been told to cancel it. I say, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
On Wednesday night, I began meditating on independence while sitting on my friend’s front porch, knowing that years ago on that very day, lives were being lost at Gettysburg to preserve our nation. Independence has NEVER been easy to maintain and NEVER been about going it alone. This truth is what led to my poetic call to celebrate that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable about this independence we share as Americans, whether we agree with each other or not. May those who have been asleep awaken and be loosed from the chair of forgetfulness.
Declaration from the Edge of Independence’s Extinction – Vincent H. Anastasi
Our independence lacks autonomy:
a declaration of mosaic voices,
the harmony of sundry skin tones.
We stand on mortal shoulders immortalized,
yet only as firm as the feet
beneath the shoulders
of redwood gymnast trunks,
roots mapping the good earth,
finding strength in deep soil.
Only in dependence on intangibles,
values with more teeth,
more explosive power
than the rocket’s red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
or cities in riot’s flames
can such freedom exist.
Defiant monument untoppled,
the statue of statutes erected in love
for thy neighbors, thyself, thy God –
liberation from history’s shackles
yet irrevocably bound to its wisdom.
You weather the storms,
the silver-tongued simpletons
rejecting all self-evident truths
to suckle at deception’s crusted teat,
ignorant of their own safety and happiness.
Let the facts be submitted to a candid world!
Who will now confess liberty,
and mutually pledge
“our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor?”
This is the twelfth and final labor.
Master that three-headed hound:
fear, hatred, and greed!
Be loosed from the chair of forgetfulness
to which you’ve been bound
in the constricting coils of seducing serpents!
over two centuries young,
depends on so much more.
It is the purchase we cannot afford,
the gift we can never deserve,
the dream of manifold multitudes
we will never disclaim.