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July 4th in 2018 America

Today, July 4th, is like many uniquely American holidays: the happy celebration of a thing with a somber history.

More than 200 years ago, the freedoms represented by our flag and enjoyed by our country were hard-won, earned with blood, intellect, and persistence. This was undertaken, side-by-side, with the very earliest of our international allies. These were freedoms that were won, not purchased, negotiated, or given.

In the time since, we have fought to uphold our independence and our freedoms, losing countless lives in the process. We have fought hard to maintain what we have won. We have battled enemies both old and new: former empires, rising empires, and, unfortunately, ourselves. None of this was done alone, as we always fought with or for our allies, just as we have had our allies fight with and for us.

Now, in 2018, the existence of our democratic republic for more than two centuries does not, in any way, mean that the fight is over. Neither our country nor our nation can survive neglect, just as no living thing can. The world that we have fought for and alongside -- the world who has fought for and alongside us -- is still out there, requiring the same as it ever has, since at least 1776: the persistent support of good by those who can, should, and must.

Whatever enemies exist today or arise in the future will be no different than the past. These enemies will not respect the American legacy of freedom or our history of democracy. They will seek to hurt our allies. They will seek to construct new empires or revive ones of old.

On this July 4th, let's remember that freedom, democracy, and stability can be protected through the simple exercise of persistent and intentional care. Care for democracy. Care for freedom. Care for our allies. Care for our country and our people.

Care for those who are not.

There is a fine line between fiery independence and iconoclastic isolationism.

Let's be careful not to cross it.

Kyle R. Brady