I've been pondering the quest for "Independence" & what it means, especially in comparison to the concept of "Freedom" discussed in the Bible, esp. in the book of Galatians. (WARNING: This is a plug for a book. I'd recommend you pick up Traveling Light. I have a couple of extra copies if you'd like to borrow one. And discuss it :).)
It seems with both "independence" & "freedom" there is an understanding, albeit a misguided one, that to be independent & to be free means to cast off all boundaries, restraints, government, authority, & responsibility towards... kinda like the Soup Dragons & their lyrical declaration:
I'm free, to do what I want, any old time...
This thought process came up yesterday while I was sitting with the fam watching Hancock. The theatre was 1/3 full, but the noise during the movie was incredible. I'm not talking about the responses to the movie; I'm speaking of people on their cellphones - talking out loud. The steady stream of "you just got a text" phone beeps. The three crying baby/toddlers whose parents wouldn't take them out of the theatre to 'hug it out'. And why is all this ok? One person's response to a request to please keep it down: "It's a free country!"
The John Adams book has given me a pretty vivid picture of a man who, for the desire to be able to govern himself (& for the people of his state/country to be able to do the same,) spent parts/most of 10 years of his life separated from his wife & children - living in often hostile European nations attempting to negotiate with foreign governments for the right to be free. To self-govern. A sacrifice that he was repaid for with scorn, slander, libel, & public mockery... All so we could live in a 'free country.'
Independence & freedom don't relieve us of responsibility toward or for our interactions with other people - it actually reminds us that we ARE connected to others. And that our decisions & choices have consequences for us & for others, consequences that the "independent" & "free" have to think through, because to be truly free, we need to freely exercise self-control, self-restraint instead of majoring in self-indulgence & selfishness. Otherwise, its not independence or freedom we experience - it's people insisting on their own rights to the violation of others. It's people pushing their own agendas, without regard for how what they want will affect others...It's living as virtual children, focused only on our own desires for immediate gratification, & not understanding why anyone else has an issue with it...
Happy Independence Day.