Your Independence Day

From the standpoints of money, power, expertise, history and half a dozen other things, the American Colonists were never supposed to be able to win independence from the British Crown. Everything was stacked against them in every conceivable way. And when you look at the Revolutionary War from a tactical perspective, many, if not statistically most of the battles did not end favorably for the Continentals. Indeed, though we don’t like to admit it, a decent portion of George Washington’s early career as Commander of the Armies was rather lackluster.

Obviously, however, in the end, none of that mattered. Legend says that during the formal surrender of the British army at the end of the war, the band played, “The World Turned Upside Down.” And so it was.

And how did this come to be? Eventual good strategy and improved army discipline and training certainly played a large part. I will not deny that. But what else?

In short, several things. Adherence to an ideal. Refusing to play by the rules. (Of warfare or politics.) Eventual willingness to accept help from sympathetic outsiders. Refusal to quit. (Though we came close several times.) Inspired leadership, both on and off the battle field. A weariness with the status quo. A coming together of a huge eclectic mix of people from all demographics that otherwise would not be able to stand one another. And, if I may say so, some damn fine writing at the exact times it could do the most good. (Thank you, Common Sense, and The Declaration of Independence, among other printed documents.)

So it wasn’t supposed to work. But it did. It required fighting dirty sometimes. It required hot tempers. Appeals to selfish interests, and some very unfortunate kicking of important cans down the road. (Slavery.) It was a messy, long, exhausting, and for a while highly ridiculed affair that gave no indication for the longest time that it was going to end in anything but humiliation for the rebels.

Yet I write this in Maryland, which is in the United States of America, and not the British Empire.

What lessons can we take from this? What, other than patriotism, can be gained by considering this historic and world changing revolt? That we can declare our own personal independence from whatever status quo we find ourselves in. That the people around us will not think it can be done, because we have don’t have enough resources.

And because of that we will be scoffed at. Truth be told we will probably lose for a good long time at first. Long enough that we will decide it’s acceptable, in pursuit of our goal to say “to hell with conventional”, and start to play dirty. We can dive into the trenches with all kinds of different people of different strengths in order to make a change. We can appeal to interested outsiders and accept their help. We can tell the rest of the world to kiss our ass as we pursue what we decide should be our life instead of what society dictates. We can refuse to quit.

And if you are lucky enough to be good at it like I am, you can write about why you are doing it. Over and over and over again until not only are people reading what you write, but starting their own revolution within their own colonies.

From what will you declare you independence today?

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