How does one even write about freedom? It’s all been done, right? Our Declaration, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, didn’t they already say it all? Why even talk about freedom anymore? It’s sophomoric. We won freedom and so now we have it, forever. Right? Wrong! Freedom and apathy have never gone hand in hand. Freedom must be defended. Many societies throughout history have toiled, fought and died to win freedom. Few have succeeded in defending and protecting it for long. We would all do well to remember the question posed to Benjamin Franklin by Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention of 1787: “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin’s response is telling:
“A republic, if you can keep it.”
The cover model for our $100 note, “the Benjamin”, knew something that many of us often forget. Freedom is hard won, but it is much harder kept. So, on this historic holiday, our Independence Day, I say to you defenders of liberty and freedom; keep it. Our Founding Fathers, and all of the others, who carved America from the untamed rock of a new world were intellectual, philosophical and political geniuses. A true mastermind of thinkers who combined their strengths to create something stronger than anyone of them alone could have imagined. They are downright intimidating. How do you follow that?
So, I ask myself, what can I do to protect freedom? Like me, many of you might think it’s above your pay grade, beyond your reach or perhaps even lost already. I’m writing this to tell you that it is not. We keep our freedom by exercising our will to be free in everything we do, every day of our lives, and not just on July 4th. No gesture is too small. No kindness is without merit. Tyrants fear the masses because We the People have power. Everything we say matters. When we speak in unison, we can shake the bowels of the very earth upon which would-be tyrants stand. We are powerful.
When we pursue our happiness and defend that of others, we fuel the fire of this American experiment. We work arm in arm to keep our freedom. For my part, I started a little company called Intox-Detox. I believe that almost nothing celebrates our American freedom more than becoming an entrepreneur to build industry and deliver quality goods and services to our fellow citizens. We defend our liberties by taking an active role in the pursuit of our happiness, and the happiness of those around us.
In my case, this has translated to developing the Intox-Detox product, to help all of you enjoy yourselves with a few drinks, while protecting your liver and preventing the misery of the next day. As color swatches blended into the American mixing pot, we all have traditions and heritage baked into this big old red, white and blue cake. My batter is Irish, among other things. Like so many others, my family enjoys a few drinks, especially during holidays like this one. There is freedom in a drink. With that freedom comes responsibility. We defend all of our liberties by protecting those around us, avoiding drinking and driving and respecting the rights and wishes of others. So, remember to stay safe this July 4th. Exercise your pursuit of happiness and defend that of others. Enjoy your freedom, but also remember to keep it.
They say “freedom isn’t free” and I believe that. But also, freedom is not a zero sum game. Freedom given is freedom returned. There is freedom in giving freedom. When we keep it we don’t keep it for ourselves. We share it with everyone. That’s what freedom means to me. And it’s America’s gift to the world. Defend it and it will defend you.
Here’s to a better tomorrow,