Tag: independence

We celebrate our independence from the British monarchy, not our own government, on July 4

We celebrate our independence from the British monarchy (Queen Elizabeth II pictured at top), not our own government (U.S. Congress depicted at bottom)
We celebrate our independence from the British monarchy (Queen Elizabeth II pictured at top), not our own government (U.S. Capitol pictured at bottom)

On July 4 of every year, we, the people of the United States of America, officially celebrate Independence Day, our national holiday. While people usually associate the Fourth of July with fireworks, barbecue cookouts, and NASCAR racing at Daytona International Speedway, there is an official reason why we celebrate the Fourth of July that far too many people don’t understand, including certain elected officials in this country.

One of those elected officials is Scott Walker, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin and one of many candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination. Walker has repeatedly claimed that we celebrate Independence Day as a day commemorating how we somehow gained our independence from our own government, and he took to Twitter earlier today to make that claim once again:

I don’t remember winning our independence from the federal government, and that’s because…we never did. Long before any of us who currently live in the United States were born, we won our independence from the British monarchy, not our own government. In the mid-to-late 18th Century, King George III of the United Kingdom and the British Parliament, which, at the time, controlled the American colonies that became the first 13 states in our Union, began imposing taxes on the colonies, despite the fact that the American colonies had no voting representation in the British Parliament. That led to the American Revolutionary War, which was fought between those who sought American independence and the British and began in April of 1775. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, a temporary national government established during the Revolutionary War, which had been ongoing for over a year at the time, officially voted to secede from Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence, which formally proclaimed the United States of America, was officially ratified and ordered to be published. So, the Fourth of July is a holiday commemorating the ratification and publication of the Declaration of Independence, not a holiday commemorating the American people winning independence from its own government.

If it weren’t for the American Revolution, we would still be under the control of the British Sovereign, currently Queen Elizabeth II, and the British Government, currently led by Prime Minister David Cameron of the British Conservative Party, without any representation in the British Parliament. Because of the American Revolution, we have our own government, our own president, our own Congress, and our own court system, regardless of whether or not we like the people in positions of power in this country.

Many on the far-right in this country, including Scott Walker, incorrectly believe that the Fourth of July is a holiday commemorating American freedom from taxation imposed by our own government. That’s simply not true. The Fourth of July is a holiday commemorating American freedom from taxation imposed by the British government without representation in the British parliament (i.e., taxation without representation), not non-existent American freedom from taxation imposed by our own government. For Walker and others on the far-right to claim that the Fourth of July commemorates American independence from our own government is absolutely false and pure revisionist history.

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STRAW POLL: Dane County, Wisconsin secession

Given that the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state government has, time and time again, repeatedly shown their hatred of the City of Madison, Wisconsin’s second-largest city, and Dane County, Wisconsin’s second-largest and most progressive county, I’m going to try to gauge support of a hypothetical Dane County secession movement in my latest straw poll.

The poll, which is a non-binding, non-scientific, online straw poll, has three options. If you oppose Dane County seceding from Wisconsin in any form, vote “No”. If you support Dane County seceding from Wisconsin and becoming a U.S. state onto itself, vote “Yes, and Dane County should become a U.S. state onto itself”. If you support Dane County seceding from both Wisconsin and the United States and, therefore, becoming a sovereign country, vote “Yes, and Dane County should become a sovereign country”.

I’ll keep the poll open until at least 4 P.M. CDT on May 13, 2015, and, if at least 50 total votes are cast, I’ll write a blog post about the poll results. Since I am not a resident of Dane County, Wisconsin, I will not vote in the straw poll.

You can vote in the straw poll here:

ENDORSEMENT: YES for Scottish independence

I’m an American who lives in a small town in the east central part of the U.S. state of Illinois, so I have no vested interest whatsoever in the politics of the United Kingdom, but I’ve been inspired by the social media-driven Yes campaign for Scottish independence, and my endorsement of Scottish independence is more of a way of expressing my admiration of Scottish independence supporters than anything else.

In order to circumvent the British press, the Yes campaign in Scotland has developed an extensive social media network, and I’ve seen it in action. Recently, rock musician Sir Bob Geldof, who was born in the Republic of Ireland (which fought a war against the UK for independence and won), gave a speech opposing Scottish independence from London, which is the single worst place one could pick to give a speech opposing Scottish independence. Because of the Twitter presence of Scottish independence supporters, several topics related to Geldof’s speech, such as “Bob Geldof” and “Trafalgar Square”, are trending on Twitter as I type this blog post. The pro-Scottish independence campaign’s network of supporters on social media reminds me a lot of the social media presence that progressive activists in the U.S. state of Wisconsin built up during the 2011 protests against the busting of labor unions there.

Besides, what does Scotland get with its 307-year-old union with England and Wales? Nothing but a ton of bloviating Westminster politicians and the British press fawning over the Duchess of Cambridge at every opportunity. Worst of all, the No campaign against Scottish independence has resorted to the kind of right-wing fearmongering that is normally seen from Republican politicians here in the United States.

I encourage Scottish voters to vote Yes on the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday.