Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gettysburg Anniversary, Independence Day

150 years ago the Battle of Gettysburg concluded with a resounding defeat for the Confederacy. An ancestor of mine died in that battle, and my family is honoring him this summer. My grandmother's cousin also just published a beautiful book of his letters and journals, I highly recommend picking it up, whether you teach or simply appreciate history and good writing:

As tomorrow we celebrate Independence Day, please remember to be grateful and reflective about sacrifices made for our freedom, and the complex ways that freedom is created and preserved. We don't simply seek freedom from government, we seek freedom to govern ourselves. We don't just want freedom from poverty, we want freedom to achieve our dreams. Each end of the spectrum requires its own set of laws, customs, sacrifices and systems of exchange and communication. This means that freedom is something that we don't just fight for on the battlefield, but it is also something that we trade: we give up some freedom from (or protection against) poverty, in order to have freedom to pursue our dreams... it is my hope that tomorrow, when they are together with their friends and family, many Americans will understand and discuss this idea of freedoms as currency.

What do you think about freedom and sacrifice in America today, or anywhere else for that matter? Is there a way to maximize freedom across domains of our lives? Across society generally? What can we do to inject this notion into the political discourse and national governance of this country?