RHYS BOWEN: Wishing all of our friends and followers a happy and relaxing Fourth of July! I think too many of us take independence and freedom for granted. We don't think twice when we express an opinion or criticize a political figure (and what's not to criticize these days?)
We tend to forget that in other countries this could lead to being hauled off to jail, tortured and even killed.
I am particularly aware of the meaning of independence this Fourth as I have just returned from Britain and witnessed the whole Brexit drama. If I'd been able to vote I really can't say which side I would have chosen. But I do understand the sentiment behind wanting to leave the EU. For those who voted to leave it meant being in control of Britain's own destiny. As an island nation the Brits have always been proud of having control of their laws, their borders and having never been invaded since 1066. Britain's Magna Carta formed the basis of democracies around the world.
Under the EU many parts of life were dictated to by a non-elected body in Brussels. What kind of apples a farmer was allowed to grow, what kind of fish a fisherman was allowed to catch, the size of strawberries, meters instead of yards for cloth. And anyone allowed into the EU had a right to come and live and work in Britain. It was this feeling of lack of control that drove so many people to vote LEAVE. Whether it will be a good thing for Britain in the long run, we'll have to wait and see.
I don't believe George Washington and his army knew whether the colonies would be better off without Britain, but they thought that the chance to decide their own destiny was worth the risk. It paid off for the US. Let's hope it pays off for Britain too.