Pelosi's 'Dependence Day' Pitch

There has always been something powerfully unique in the American observation of Independence Day. And if nothing else exemplifies this, it is the fact that other Western nations get it so incredibly wrong when they try to emulate it.

Some years back after the London tube bombings, for example, the British government was bandying ideas to rouse patriotic sentiments among its people. Then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested the creation of "a British equivalent of the U.S. Fourth of July."

What day might sufficiently rally the British people to celebrate their own identity as the Americans do? Mark Steyn writes, "The Labour Party think-tank, the Fabian Society, proposed that the new "British Day" should be July 5th, the day the National Health Service was created. Because the essence of British identity is waiting two years for a hip operation. A national holiday every July 5th: They can call it Dependence Day."

There is no mystery as to why Americans hold Independence Day so dear, and why this British effort to create "Dependence Day"seems to have died on the drawing board. The selection of July 5th, with its significance as the day that the British people became dependent upon government for their healthcare needs, would be little more than a government-sponsored celebration of government, not a celebration of the British people. It would be as if the government were to tell the British people, "Celebrate us by celebrating me, and everything I so graciously do for you. You are exceptional, after all. Not so exceptional that you can care for yourself without my help, but exceptional in the sense that you have an exceptional government to look after you."

Hooray Britannia, I guess.

The American Independence Day, on the other hand, is a celebration of the American people and our historic resolve to wrest liberty from intrusive government. Individual liberty, self-reliance, and defiance of tyranny -- not dependence upon benevolent government -- make up the precious core of our identity. Our freedom has not been granted by government, but given by our Creator at birth.

This is an important distinction that is engrained in our observation of Independence Day. We, the People, have secured liberty in spite of a paternalistic government, not because of it. And our constitutional republic is predicated upon thwarting government infringement upon Americans' liberty. We are justifiably proud of that pedigree.

It is understandable, then, that European socialists seek to imbue their own "Fourth of July" equivalent with an opposing ideological assumption. And it is no small wonder that their American counterparts like Nancy Pelosi wish to rebrand the holiday as a celebration of Americans' dependence upon government.

"Next week when we celebrate Independence Day, we'll also be observing health independence," Pelosi reminded Americans last week. She went on:

This marks one year since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act..."Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Affordable Care Act offers just that: A healthier life, liberty [to] pursue [a] person's happiness, to be free of constraint, the job locked, uhh, because they're policy locked. So if you want to be a cameraman, a writer, you want to be self-employed, if you want to start a business, if you want to change jobs -- whatever it is you want to do -- you are free.

Her demeanor isn't very convincing, nor is the absurd rhetoric. But the message is simple. Don't want to work that crummy 9-to-5 job to make ends meet and secure your own healthcare, and you'd rather play guitar full-time, write the Great American Novel, or be a movie director without such pesky responsibilities? No problem. The government will take care of your healthcare for you, compliments of your neighbor who worked that crummy 9-to-5 job for twenty years, continually increasing his value in a less flashy profession, but now earns an unfairly high income.

While I'm sure this idle gaggle will welcome the free handout, it might be hard to imagine, however, that these hardworking Americans who are to finance the handouts, or the small business owners now wrestling with the impossible red tape and potential fines of ObamaCare, would call its legislation "liberating."

Pelosi, yet again, thoroughly exposes the progressive ideology, which is anything but American. She invokes the wisdom of the Founders on the surface, politically expedient as she knows that to be at this time of year, while also openly expressing contempt for their core principles of limited central government, property rights, and individual liberty. They were onto something with the whole "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" thing, she says, but limited government doesn't offer a path to that. It takes a bloated, redistributive government that can discriminately seize Americans' property for the good of a social morality. Only then can "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" become a reality.

Of course, if the Founders didn't explicitly wish to forbid the federal government's discriminately seizing and redistributing property for the advancement of a social morality, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment would never have been penned. It is unlikely that she could have missed such an obvious foundational precept. Much more likely, she chooses to ignore it, because her vision of "progress" demands that she do so.

The purpose of Pelosi's comment is to suggest that before ObamaCare, you just weren't free. So this Independence Day, do all those ritualistic things you do to commemorate the birth of America. Drink your beer, eat your hot dog, hug your kids, wave your flags, but remember to also thank King Barack and his High Court for legislating your dependence on government healthcare administration, because somehow, it embodies who we are as a nation.

No thanks, Nancy. Millions among us can recognize that the aspiring cameraman, writer, and entrepreneur were all free to pursue their passions before ObamaCare was legislated -- they just had to do so while managing other practical responsibilities, as do all honorable, free Americans. So this legislation gave freedom to none, and robbed freedom from millions who will be forced, against their will,to finance this affront to American liberty.

Ignorant and/or misguided progressives notwithstanding, the rest of us might choose to remember that our independence stands for the very opposite of the culture of dependence advanced by the hard-lined left. And we will reverently remember that long ago in 1776, in what can be described as a stroke of Providence, prescient men birthed a nation where free men of various, self-governed states -- not an unrestrained central government -- are the ennobled safeguards and administrators that preserve and advance liberty. Far too often we forget that. And the cost of our continued forgetfulness is too high for us to continue doing so.

God bless America, and Happy Independence Day.

William Sullivan blogs at: can be followed on Twitter.