July 4th marks the beginning of the “Big Bake” for most Mississippians. Get ready for two months of humid heat.
Most people think the further south you go, the hotter it gets, but that’s not necessarily the case. As you move toward the equator, the summer days get shorter, offsetting the more direct sun rays.
In fact, Mississippi during the heart of summer is one of the hottest places on Earth when you factor in humidity. South America and Africa sit on top of high plateaus, but no such luck in Mississippi which is barely above sea level. Thank the Lord for air conditioning!
People think of Mississippi as hot, but it’s only so in the summer. The average temperature year-round in Mississippi is a pleasant 65 degrees fahrenheit.
July 4th is a good time to take stock of the state of our country and how it has lived up to its great promise when the Declaration of Independence was declared 242 years ago.
Through it all, our country and Constitution have stood the test of time. Not perfectly, but better than any other country in history.
That’s pretty impressive. Impressive enough for us modern-day citizens to take note of who our founding fathers were and what they did to achieve such monumental success.
All citizens of today need to understand the philosophy of our founding fathers so we can do our part to keep their brilliant creation alive and well.
Foremost, we need to remember that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were signing, in all likelihood, their death warrant. Few expected our ragtag colony to prevail over the greatest power in the world. The punishment for treason was to be shot or hanged. These were successful men with families in the prime of life. This country was founded on the principle of personal sacrifice for a greater good, not just as a concept, but as something only fulfilled with one’s own flesh and blood.
We need to pause on July the Fourth and remember that and think what it means for each of us today.
There were several basic themes dear to the hearts of our founding fathers. These themes are still relevant 242 years later.
Our founding fathers were nervous about centralized federal power, believing that local government would always be superior in the long run.
No other large nation has a decentralized government like the United States. Not only does this keep the government closer to the people, it provides a check on unlimited federal power, which can be dangerous.
In this day and age of mass communication, it is popular to look to the federal government as the solution. We must resist that temptation and keep government local.
The most important values to our founding fathers were political and economic freedom and liberty. Our country’s emphasis on inalienable individual rights has set this country apart from any other in the world.
This means we are free to speak, write, do business, goof off, make millions and whatever else we please, so long as we don’t hurt other people in the process.
I am disturbed as I see more and more laws that infringe upon the basic freedoms and liberties of the Constitution.
Our country is a country of personal choice and personal responsibility. Big Brother is completely anti-thetical to the founding philosophy of the United States.
Our founding fathers envisioned a religious country, a Christian country, but not one in which religion was forced on disbelievers. The recent court rulings trying to kill the slightest bit of religion in our schools are way off-base and have no legitimate basis in our Constitution.
Our founding fathers perceived a land of equal opportunity, not equal results. All men are created equal, but that doesn’t mean they will end up equal. The difference is what you as an individual make of your life. It is that basic concept of reaping what you sow that has made our country great.
And our founding fathers were very concerned about the balance of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. We must always be vigilant lest one branch of the government try to wrest power from the other two.
Of course, the founding fathers did not, at the time, include women and slaves in their designs. This was a glaring omission that stuck out like a sore thumb from the start. But our great nation was able to overcome that handicap and include women peaceably and African Americans through a bloody civil war.
There is one thing I don’t think even our founding fathers envisioned. I don’t think they envisioned the incredibly creative dynamo that would be created by the infusion of dozens of different cultures from around the world into the great melting pot called the United States of America.
We Americans kicked and crawled and scraped our way here on the hope of a better life.
There is not an American here that doesn’t have that kind of blood flowing in his/her veins. It is that one trait that binds all Americans, regardless of our national origin. We must never forget that.
Wyatt Emmerich is publisher of The Northside Sun in Jackson and owner of Emmerich Newspapers.