It’s that annual celebration–picnics, trips to the beach, parades and fireworks. So long ago, 238 years, that the concept is difficult to grasp. Independence from colonial rule. Today the focus is either on enjoying the holiday or making political points about the significance of it all in relation to modern government in America. In the sixties and seventies, radicals spouted slogans like, “Power to the People,” in response to what they saw as political repression and talked of “come the revolution.” Today it’s the right wing Patriot Movement that threatens to take up arms to protect their liberties against government repression. Neither made or makes much sense. America still has more opportunities, more freedom and more liberty than almost any other nation (not to say that I am aware of any that has more, just trying not to overstate my case). Ironically, it’s those celebrations that are most indicative of this truth. While a burger, a beer and a hot dog may not have much to do directly with patriotic observation of the independence our forefathers fought for, the fact that we can freely indulge in them comes as result. But what of human revolution?
“A great revolution of character in just a single person will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will cause a change in the destiny of all humankind.” Daisaku Ikeda
The fight for independence from colonial rule is long over in America. The political points that ideologues attempt to make using the words and principles of the Declaration of Independence ring hollow to my ears. The true revolution for America today is human revolution. The change in character that comes from accepting responsibility for one’s own happiness, one’s own successes in achieving goals–unimpeded by the real and the not so real constraints one faces–not from a repressive government, employer, neighbor, or significant other but from those imposed by oneself. Now is the time to engage in that revolution and to celebrate it.