What it means to me in 2020 :
I would submit that to seek independence is to fight for it, not simply for individual-self, but for all who aim in the same goal and cause. To fight for it and then celebrate in victory while others audience in suffrage is to become as those once fought against.
The conscience of the nation must be roused [Frederick Douglass] from a fanciful dream rendered a reality at this moment; for even if one citizen under a banner of freedom who suffers in voicelessness, from inequitable rights and opportunities (economically, educationally, environmentally, etc.), or that the laws set forth to govern all is perceived bias on the scales of justice, how then can independence be celebrated by all denizens. And I choose the word denizen over citizens for there was a time during the fight of American independence where the slave was categorized as less than human [chattel] despite anatomical likeness.
When pressed with the notion of the progress our nation has made, I submit that the speed of progress is relative to the oppressed and suppressed; for that chronometer does not measure in the same way as that of cruelty. Perhaps we should measure the speed at which the founders achieved their goal in achieving their dreams we now celebrate versus the swiftness its descendants has balanced the scales that it measures equal for all despite race, creed, gender, and all that makes us diverse yet the same unified under the same pledge in the pursuit of freedom.
While I proudly think of independence and my service to its continuum, I would be remiss in not recognizing the uncalibrated scale that results in the unfair pricing of freedom.
Disclaimer: I express as a private and legitimate citizen, and not from that of a position afforded me by the institution for which I now serve. The above views are my own and are not in commission by any organization or institution.