The meaning of Independence Day is freedom, but freedom is more than an abstraction prompting patriotism.
Thursday’s holiday begs the question: freedom for what? Here’s the usual checklist: freedom to worship as you choose; freedom to speak your mind; freedom from want and privation; freedom from danger.
But if you think about it, no matter how you package it there are two essentials:
Freedom for itself doesn’t exist, it is always tied to purpose; and the ultimate purpose is to survive and thrive, so the purpose must pay a dividend.
Said dividend comes from production, which means work.
Try worshipping your god of choice without sustenance. Short, even exalting perhaps, but not sweet. Try finding your voice minus sustenance. Talk all you want, but what comes out of your mouth is much less important than what isn’t going in. Try avoiding danger while starving. Lack of food and water becomes the first and worst danger.
So whatever you think of material things, freedom to seek them is a crucial part of what we are and do. The colonists, who lived in a wilderness and helped fashion it into our wondrous civilization, understood this.
They didn’t break away from England for freedom alone, but for freedom to lead their lives as they saw fit. To survive and thrive. That’s why, even though it isn’t fashionable to quote our 30th president, there are words from him that seem appropriate on the eve of Independence Day in 2013.
“The chief business of the American people is business,” said Calvin Coolidge, dead now 80 years and sometimes inaccurately blamed for the Great Depression.
He also said, “Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”
Another Coolidge quote resonates in this column space because a manufacturing renaissance seems at hand, including right in our area. The comment:
“The man who builds a factory builds a temple (and) the man who works there worships there, and to each is due, not scorn and blame, but reverence and praise.”
With that in mind, join in welcoming Cristi Cristich, founder of California’s Cristek Interconnects, to our area. Arriving on Independence Day, she is moving her aerospace supply company’s headquarters to Carson Valley.
On a different level but still on point, say goodbye to Carson City’s Jeffrey Scott. Scott, a driving force behind Wild Horse Productions and chairman of the city’s Cultural Commission, died recently. His factory was the stage, a place where he produced thoughtful and entertaining performing arts for those who love them live.
John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at email@example.com.