By Rep. Mike Sanders

As I consider the United States of America’s 243rd Independence Day, I’m reminded of the reasons the colonists sought independence from Great Britain in the first place.

In the text of the Declaration of Independence is a long list of grievances against the king of the British Empire. “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.”

The list continues: swarms of officers sent to harass the people and who eat their substance; taxation without consent; abolishing local laws; suspending Legislatures; waging war against the states, and much more. It’s obvious from its reading that the king, who dwelt far from his subjects, had become so out of touch with their needs and wishes they felt no other recourse than to throw off the bounds of his tyrannical rule that no longer represented the will of the people.

To this day, United States citizens are still fighting for such independence. It’s why we hold frequent elections, why the states and their citizens are constantly checking the power of the federal government. It has been hard to hold our nation together, and yet for 243 years we’ve succeeded. And I have every hope that despite current political rancor we will continue to be one nation under God. Flawed as we sometimes are, the United States of America still has the best government on the planet. And just as the birth of this great nation was celebrated in the beginning, it is worth celebrating today.

John Adams, one of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and a founding father of our nation, would write to his wife, Abigail, that the occasion of the vote for independence “ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

He continued that he was well aware of the “toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this declaration,’ but that the end would prove well worth the means.

It has taken much toil and blood and treasure to maintain our independence from numerous threats. After the Declaration was signed, many of the same men who argued for and signed it would fight in the Revolutionary War. Many would lose their possessions and their lives. Their descendants would fight numerous other battles to keep our nation free. We fight many internal battles today to maintain our unity and our position as a world power. But as Adams predicted, the end has proven well worth the means. We live in liberty and can pass that legacy to our children.

Happy Birthday United States of America. Long may we be independent and free!

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