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Fourth of July a time to look at the good and the bad
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       Fourth of July, the Fourth, Independence Day, and America's Birthday. All of these are ways Americans say "Happy Birthday!" to our country. The Fourth of July is perhaps the single greatest non-religious holiday in our country and certainly the most celebrated outdoor holiday America has. I think there are some important ideals that Americans hold that no amount of fireworks can convey. However, I think that some comments are - I hope - helpful to not only celebrate "our" birthday, but to give the men and women who got us here their fair share.
       When I think of the Fourth of July, many things come to mind; however, our government is not one of them. I remember in the '60s and '70s and the Vietnam War. Living close to an Air Force base and with family who either served or were serving in the military afforded me the understanding of respect due our service personnel and very little of the hate that was spewed by the radicals. Even as our country moved out of the Vietnam era and the Cold War and into a more worldwide terrorist-infused war, the importance of the Fourth was/is always paramount in my life.
       Today, Americans have a government that is totally out of touch with the citizens, just as it has been for the last 20-plus years. As I have stated before, we don't have a problem with one "side" or the other - with Democrats or Republicans - we have a problem with government in general.
       With the recent revelations about the Obama administration and the secrets that basically show that our current government is allowing the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) to be trampled, all of us should be on guard. Before anyone gets upset, it is also coming out that the Bush administration 1 and 2 as well as the Clinton administration also used many of the same tactics now being uncovered.
       While what I am about to write is something that I have said before, it is so important that I don't think it can be stated enough. "We the People" - you and me - must take our beloved country back from those in Washington who are destroying it. If you do not think our country is in great peril, then please look at the facts, not at what the networks are giving you. Check out the debt-to-income ratio that our leaders say is nothing to worry about. Look at the great divide between the "haves" and the "have nots." Look at the attitude our government has with regard to giving assistance to citizens without any plan as to getting them off, and - perhaps most disturbing - the treatment of our freedoms in the name of "safety."   While protecting America from harm is always a major part of our government, our freedoms; especially the first 10 amendments, must be held at the very highest regard. Freedom is not free, but our freedom is not for sale.
       When the framers of the Constitution gave us our Constitution, they did not intend it to be a "living" document. It says what it says and means what it means. We must not give those in power the chance to change something that is as powerful and long lasting as this document is. As each of you enjoys America's Birthday, please take a moment to thank our Creator and our Founding Fathers for the great bounty that is The United States of America. Happy birthday, America!
Tom Grovenstein


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