Hail Independence!

INDEPENDENCE DAY: Liberty, Beloved Liberty, Shall Thee Remain Ours?

My message Independence Day: Ideals Worth Preserving from a year ago covered our current societal malaise in detail I need not restate, so I invite you to revisit my words. The Supreme Court here in the United States—now seemingly a papist-ridden conglomeration preparing the way for the dominion of autocratic Christian Nationalism—is an affront to the Founder’s explicitly expressed goal of proudly forming a secular republic. While several of those “justices” claim to be champions of “Originalism,” they cherry pick what serves their God-centric agendas, and thus subvert the overall clear intentions of those who minted a truly rare form of government…one in which the rule of reasonable and agreed-upon law would hold all citizens responsible, and no religion would be enshrined as dominant. So, today calls for vigilance, rather than celebration. That liberty many of us embrace and cherish is at great risk, and we should not allow the spark so carefully cultivated by our ancestors to be extinguished.

For musical inspiration today, please allow me to direct you to the Symphonic Suite from his score to ON THE WATERFRONT by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). While it was the only film score Lenny wrote, it is masterful in capturing the tribulations and passions of the characters in Kazan’s potent masterwork. Brando is at his best as dock worker Terry Malloy, who finally takes a stand against the corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly. Standing against racketeering, extortion, and murder comes hard, particularly after passively being swept along with the status quo as a tool for this toxic overlord. Though severely beaten and seemingly defeated, Terry finally rises to inspire others to shut out the dictatorial Friendly, so that Terry’s fellow workers can be freed from the oppression of that capricious, self-aggrandizing narcissist, pointing the way towards the end of his tyranny. Freedom is never easily won and maintained, and this film portrays a costly, but ultimately worthwhile struggle, to restore an assailed liberty that we Americans have come to understand as the essence of our nation. Bernstein’s music captures that fight, soaring in concluding, and agonized, triumph.

The times ahead may call for bravery, commitment, and resistance to those who seek to force theocracy on our beloved nation. Let not vanish that hard won achievement of those who declared their independence in 1776. May we who have thrived under their exemplary vision have the courage to stand against such villainy and preserve our Founder’s legacy, not only for citizens of the United States, but for all who seek the fulfillment which comes from a self-determined life.

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore