• Last modified 3706 days ago (July 2, 2009)


Where are today's George Washingtons?

Staff writer

Whenever the Fourth of July rolls around, I wonder how American colonists had the courage to take the bold step of declaring independence from Great Britain, a power so great it was said, “The sun never sets on the British empire.”

The colonies had no standing army. They were ruled by governors usually appointed by the king.

The population of 2½ million people was made up of farmers, shopkeepers, and professionals, nearly all tied to the land for their sustenance. They took pride in being able to own land. Many resented controls placed upon them.

Some prominent legislative leaders and journalists took up the cause. It was not an easy stand to take. Not everyone was eager to be free from Britain.

Historians estimate only about one-third of the populace desired independence. Although in a minority, patriot leaders proclaimed their love of liberty and inspired others to join them. They saw their cause as just and reasonable.

Minutemen, so-called because of their willingness to take up arms and fight at a moment’s notice, had such strong convictions about the need to be free from an oppressive government that they were willing to sacrifice their lives.

In the more than two centuries since then, we, the American people, have allowed government at all levels to become mired in bureaucracy, levy high taxes, and impose myriad regulations.

There are times I want to write my congressman on an issue I feel strongly about, but I am required to submit my name and address. I’m afraid my views will put me on some agency’s blacklist as being a subversive enemy. I’m afraid I’ll be labeled an extremist.

How did those early patriots find the courage to stand up so boldly to their mother country? My conclusion is that they had strong leaders.

Maybe if we had leaders who would rise up boldly to show us what is going on, we, the common people, could fall in step behind them to preserve this great nation.

Where is the county commissioner who is willing to stand up to the state and defend the county’s right to take care of itself? Where is the governor who is willing to stand up to the federal government and free constituents from the burdens it imposes on them? Where are representatives who will show special interest groups they are asking for the people’s money, not government’s money?

We have given up personal responsibility and made ourselves the responsibility of government. When we get in a pinch, we clamber to government for help. When through our own carelessness we get hurt, we sue our employer or seek new laws.

We lack leaders who will stand boldly for the principles of individual freedom and responsibility. We are trapped and have no one to lead us out.

Last modified July 2, 2009