Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence is Also a Personal Responsibility

As Americans across our nation and those serving overseas celebrate Independence Day on the  236th birthday of our beloved country, we certainly have much to be thankful for in regard to basic freedoms and liberties. Other countries such as Syria and Libya are all struggling today just to find their basic form of governance, and people suffer unnecessarily as a result.

Americans, while proud of our heritage and sacrifices that made us the envy of the world, are also expressing concern about the overall course and direction of our nation. While we celebrate our independence, guardians of freedom are greatly concerned about our growing dependence on government and lack of individual responsibility for our own actions and future.

Consider these sobering statistics: Our national debt of $15.8 trillion exceeds our entire gross domestic product; half of all households pay no income tax; Congress has not passed a budget in three years; and food stamp recipients have grown from 23.8 million to 46.1 million in the last eight years while government spending for this program has doubled from $37.6 billion in 2008 to $75.7 billion in 2011.

Americans are caring people. We have also traditionally been good stewards of resources, which is why we have experienced tremendous growth and success over the previous 200 years. True charity comes from the heart, not from government coffers. Is charity now being redefined by how much the government takes from some so it can give to others?

As we celebrate independence with our families, maybe we all should spend a little time reassessing what independence really means. Perhaps one of our former presidents said it best:

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed − else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”
 − Dwight D. Eisenhower

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