This year’s Independence Day — July the 4th —
will surely be the most intense celebration and bittersweet birthday for our
nation in at least a generation.
Freedom’s burden is never heavier nor is its sweetness ever more precious
than when it’s violently confronted by tyranny. And on September 11,
we were savagely attacked by tyrannical forces that want to destroy us and
destroy our multicultural, multi-faith society and our democratic system.
tyranny fails, tyrants are toppled, and humanity’s gradual march toward
universal freedom consigns the villains to the scorned or ignored “remnant
rack” of history. Tyranny has worn many masks from ideology’s far
right and far left fringes over the years: the masks of fascism, of
communism, and now, of terrorism. Osama
bin Laden and his vile gaggle of miscreant murderers will fail as surely
as did their anarchical ancestors—Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Lenin, Stalin,
Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and on and on, ad
Brave voices 226 years ago spoke up for liberty and
self-determination, leading today to the strongest, freest country on earth,
populated by people from every culture, country and continent. Let’s
listen to some voices old and new, conservative and liberal, from here and
abroad, talk about how precious and how powerful this thing called freedom
There’s something contagious about demanding freedom.
author and poet
Democracy is being able to say no to the boss.
20th-century British philosopher,
critic, and author of Brave New World
Government is too big and important to be left to the politicians.
20th-century American ad executive,
author, politician, and Presidential advisor
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
18th-century American statesman,
scientist, philosopher, publisher,
author, and a drafter of the
Declaration of Independence
Of the many things we have done to democracy in the past,
the worst has
been the indignity of taking it for granted.
historian and author
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation,
are men who want rain without thunder and lightning.
19th-century American abolitionist,
orator, newspaper publisher, and early
founder of the civil rights movement
Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but
inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr
20th-century American theologian,
widely credited with composing
That this nation, under God, shall have a new
birth of freedom, and
that government of the people,
by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth.
16th President of the United States,
statesman and orator, from his
Address at Gettysburg, 1863
If you want to understand democracy, spend less time in the
with Plato and more time in the buses with people.
early 20th-century American
ournalist and humorist
Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn’t
the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika
armband — it creeps up
insidiously … step by step, and all
of a sudden the unfortunate citizen
realizes that it is gone.
20th-century British judge
and Lord Chief Justice of England
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people
alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.
Virginian, 3rd President of the United States,
primary author of the Declaration of Independence,
scientist, inventor, philosopher, architect and farmer
The progress of democracy seems irresistible, because it
is the most
uniform, the most ancient, and the most
permanent tendency which is to be
found in history.
Alexis de Tocqueville
19th-century French author whose two-volume work,
Democracy in America (volume one, 1835; volume two,
1840), is still widely quoted and considered one of the
most insightful and comprehensive books ever
written about the United States.
Virginia’s electric cooperatives wish you a safe and joyful