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Torchy’s ‘merika: Let’s Call it Independence Day, Not the 4th of July

A scene from The Independence Day Special edition of Grand Theft Auto.

Fellow Americans, can we please stop calling Independence Day the Fourth of July? July 4 is a calendar date, devoid of anything meaningful. It’s a day the post office is closed, the beach is crowded, tortilla chips are on sale and the electric bill is due. Independence Day, however, expresses the values of autonomy and nationalism. Let’s not let something as sacred as our ancestors’ victory in the battle for freedom be bastardized by new world order commercialism. Let’s not forget — or let others forget — its true meaning.

In my town, the fireworks display was held the evening of July 3 at a nearby commercial center. Why July 3? Because many retailers are closed on July 4 and they found that the earlier the bang, the bigger the bucks. My county apparently does not fund a fireworks show on Independence Day. The nearest town that does charges admission: $15.50 per child and $21.50 – $49.50 per adult, outside food and beverages not permitted nor included in the event fee. So there you have it.

But that’s okay. Independence Day isn’t about fireworks. It’s about celebrating our hard-fought freedoms, which are being eroded daily. For foreign readers, or for those Americans who may have forgotten, our core freedoms include:

  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom to Petition
  • Freedom to Assemble

While we’re at it, let’s also raise a glass for freedom from taxation without representation. Wasn’t this freedom violated with the implementation of central banking systems? I would think so. How’s it different? A child born on Independence Day is enslaved with $42,000 in public debt. Much of that debt went toward goods that were made by American companies overseas then shipped to America to be purchased by previous generations using foreign credit. But I digress.

The “2016 State of the First Amendment survey,” conducted by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, found that 39 percent of Americans could not name a single First Amendment freedom.

But there was some good news in the report.

That same survey revealed that 86 percent respondents nationally favored “protecting speech,” while just 10 percent favored limits aimed at “protecting people from hearing things that offend them.”

Interestingly, a follow-up survey was done after the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando. It showed “support for First Amendment protection for all religious faiths, regardless of how extreme or fringe the survey respondents might consider the beliefs of those faiths, actually increased, despite anti-Muslim rhetoric and reports of an ISIS connection that followed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.”

Following the shooting, there was a seven-point drop — from 29 percent to 22 percent — in the number who said the First Amendment was not intended to protect such faiths, compared to results from the annual report survey that was conducted in the days before the Orlando tragedy.

The number who said the First Amendment is intended to protect all faiths rose from 59 percent to 64 percent. The margin of error for both surveys is about 3.2 percent. …

The survey also found in the area of freedom of the press that 74 percent of people believe the news media are biased when it comes to reporting the news, but 71 percent agree media still play an important role in acting as a “watchdog on government.”

When asked about the 2016 presidential campaign coverage, only 10 percent of respondents said the coverage has been “very accurate.” Twenty-three percent believe it’s been “very inaccurate.”

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