In the spirit of the holiday, we pursue the answer to a simple question: Could our forefathers possibly have envisioned the America that exists in 2010, where independence is thwarted at virtually every turn?
Could they have foreseen the long lines at airports brought on by security checks? Or the invasive full-body scanners that detail imagery best shared inside one’s bedroom?
Could they have anticipated random roadblocks hunting for people who choose not to use seat belts or dare have a drink at some point in the day?
Could they have dreamed of a time when parents discouraged children from wandering their neighborhood in search of recreation because of the potential risks of straying too far from home?
Could they have imagined government that could have become so inept and overbearing so as to hamstring several generations of Americans, either by depriving them of livelihood through taxation or by overdependence on welfare?
Could they have imagined the American military entering upon the soil of other sovereign nations in quests to influence democracy?
Could they have imagined a country so bound by regulations so unwieldy that no one truly understands their extent or content?
The answers, of course, are all no. No one in 1776 could have imagined anything that was going on in 2010. Not even Thomas Jefferson was so prescient.
Which leads us to our point. America, still the greatest democracy on earth, has a long way to go to improve on freedoms of its countrymen. Even with the best of intentions, every time we enact new laws, act on new concerns or attempt to save ourselves from the unknown, we manage to restrict our liberties a little bit more.
How odd it is that those founding fathers, in their brave struggle for independence, set in motion a chain of events by which the country, but not necessarily its residents, escaped suppression.