Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

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.


  1. Happy Fourth of July!
    While I’m certain the whole Brexit issue was complicated and the choices difficult, I hope the people of Britain find the control of their own destiny in this choice for independence.

  2. So, American Independence was the original Brexit? (joke!)

  3. I wonder how many other countries need to caution their citizens to celebrate a nations "birthday" safely? YAY We are Americans... try not to blow off your fingers.

  4. Happy Fourth, everyone! It's raining here, but we hadn't planned anything special, so I'm not bothered by it. I do hate that others have their celebrations dampened. For us, though, it works out that we will get to do something special after all. Since our daughter's family were planning on going to their cabin and having fireworks, they are now available for us to go visit today.

    We are indeed fortunate to live in a country where freedom is a given and expressing our beliefs is too. I don't understand all that was in involved in Brexit, but I will say, Rhys, that you helped me understand why there were many people who did want to leave the EU.

  5. When I was in Britain in the 1970s I made it a point to read the British viewpoint of the American Revolution. Don't know about these days, but back then, it was barely a footnote in the British texts. I wasn't sure whether to be humbled or disappointed!

    Have a safe and happy 4th!

  6. Hear, hear, Rhys. I'm sure there's not anyone, Leave or Remain, who doesn't hope it all works out well for Britain. (Okay, maybe a few currency speculators are betting on the worst. We won't count them.)

    Every Independence Day in Portland, there's a Star Spangled Pops concert by the Portland Symphony Orchestra, finishing in a magnificent fireworks display over Casco Bay. We're fortunate to have friends who live just two blocks away from the Promenade, where the concert takes place, and they always have an open house BBQ in the late afternoon. A wonderful afternoon and evening.

  7. In our family it used to be a day of gathering and barbecue with little political thought. Growing up, some towns were more patriotic in celebration than others with Marblehead, Massachusetts probably the most. It was fun with clam and lobster bakes, a firemen's muster with antique hand pumps, and a parade, of course. But, when left on my own, a walk down the beach with a fried clam roll in each fist made everything okay.

  8. Rhys,

    Great post about the 4th of July! I remember that I was in a school play about the Declaration of Independence - so fun!