Our View: Independence celebrated for a reason

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Editorial Board, April 2010 to Aug. 8, 2010

  • Suzanne Schlicht, publisher
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Blythe Terrell, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Towny Anderson, community representative
  • Tatiana Achcar, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— It’s been a tough couple of years for many local families and businesses.

The economic recession has hurt Steamboat Springs and Routt County more than many of us could have imagined. Cash-strapped Americans have less money to spend, and vacations to places like the Yampa Valley are often the first extravagances to go. The slowdown in the real estate, construction and retail industries has put many locals out of work. Unable to make mortgage payments, more residents than ever before have gone into foreclosure on their homes.

Adding insult to injury, a much-needed but unfortunately timed U.S. Highway 40 construction project through the heart of downtown Steamboat brought further pain to local businesses and residents.

In the midst of all this hardship comes the Fourth of July weekend. Independence Day. A celebration of the very best of the United States of America — personal freedoms, democracy and opportunity.

It’s hard to imagine a better place to spend the holiday weekend than Steamboat Springs and Routt County. As has become typical, the city will play host to numerous events throughout the weekend, from professional rodeos to summer ski jumping to a fireworks display that has become a huge attraction in its own right.

There are other positives. Lincoln Avenue construction has come to a halt for the next two months or so. Traveling through our city is easy again. To celebrate, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs board members and volunteers are stepping out Thursday to wash downtown storefronts and windows for free, part of an effort to help spruce up the historic shopping district by metaphorically — and literally — wiping away the construction dirt.

Visitors are coming here for baseball tournaments, art festivals, biking and running events and other fun summertime activities in the mountains. The Chamber expects Fourth of July tourism to be up from what it was last year.

This action-packed weekend should serve as a reminder of why it’s so wonderful to call the Yampa Valley home. And as we gather with friends and family at backyard barbecues, local restaurants, the rodeo arena, along Lincoln Avenue for the July 4 parade or outside Tread of Pioneers Museum for the annual Fourth of July Pioneers Day Block Party, let’s not lose sight of why July 4 is our Independence Day.

After several days of debate, representatives of the second Continental Congress voted July 4, 1776, to accept the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and first reviewed by his colleagues John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. With 26 changes to the original draft, John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign. The 13 colonies officially had proclaimed their freedom from British rule. For all practical purposes, the United States was born.

The first celebration of the signing was held July 4 of the very next year. America’s birthday has been an annual event ever since.

There were no guarantees 234 years ago that we still would be celebrating Independence Day today as the United States of America.

Let’s remember the courage and vision of our forefathers as we watch the fireworks explode over Howelsen Hill on Sunday. No matter how difficult our lives have been during the past couple of years, or what obstacles may lay ahead, let’s not forget that we live in one of the greatest nations on Earth.

Comments

John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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As I read this column, music is playing in the background, James Taylor's "4th of July"

"...with a tear in your eye for the Fourth of July' For the Patriots, and the Minutemen, and the things we believe they believed in back then. Such as Freedom & Freedom's Land, & the Kingdom of God &the Rights of Man..."

Do we still believe it? Is this land a place where the People's freedom must remain paramount?

Do we still strive to find our direction by a Moral Order that transcends human's creations?

Do we regard all humans as having equal rights?

Questions for contemplation this week.

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seeuski 3 years, 9 months ago

While I think the letter from the Pilot is well written and patriotic, I find it hypocritical in a subtle sort of way. Our Country is, as it was designed by the very Patriots whom this letter mentions, is being dismantled by the Progressives who are in power. We are, of our own accord, discounting the blood and personal treasure that was spent by those that came before to afford us the ability to live free with G-d given rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is the Media who is tasked as the 4th arm of the People to keep the pressure on OUR elected Officials and to report the truth. When the Media is so biased that they would take a blind eye approach or even report inaccuracies to manipulate public opinion we are the ones who suffer, all of us. It is the Media's duty to question with boldness, unless the Media is involved in the efforts of "fundamental transformation" away from that which our Forefathers gave us. We were not born from the hard fight against Imperial British rule to become what it was we were fleeing from. We were given freedom by those Patriots and now we are again under assault by those wishing to end that freedom, but this time it is from within. Happy 4th to America and vote against tyranny this November. Vote Bob McConnell for the 3rd district.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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Let us not forget that our founders viewed the creation of this Union as a work in progress.

The words, "In order to form a more perfect Union" indicate progress yet to be made.

They knew a major issue remained for future generations, one that caused a civil war to resolve.

Of issues we attempt to address through government, we sometimes (often?) are unsuccessful.

We sometimes have to take a step back and try again, take the Prohibition for example.

The point here is we must continue to try.

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seeuski 3 years, 9 months ago

The Constitution is not a living document subject to abuse by our elected officials. As Obama said,"it is a limiting document" and it preserves States rights which bring the governance closer to "We The People". The nationalization of industry that is going on under this regime is unconstitutional under any reasoned interpretation.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

seeuski...would you please elaborate on some of your points?

what is unsconstitutionl?

what about this admin is tyranical?

what freedoms are under assault?

what is the biased media NOT reporting?

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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It is a living document in that it is intended to be able to be changed as the People see fit.

It's designers knew of the tendency of government to be abusive of power, and tried to prevent it.

But in the end that remains the responsibility of the People, using petition and the Vote.

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trump_suit 3 years, 9 months ago

I hope everyone celebrates the 4th in whatever fashion that they desire and that the have an excellent time doing so. Be safe, be happy and try to remember those people that have made this country free.

Happy 4th everyone.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

I will think about the freedom to comment on our elected officials and to criticize our government.

I note that this column celebrating the 4th of July was almost exclusively focused on local business issues and hopeful economic issues. I think that is entirely appropriate for this paper. This is the same paper that yanked my post criticizing City Council Pro Term Cari for her comments regarding the notice of default for the base area redevelopment. A post that Mike Lawrence could not explain why it was yanked and that I should ask the editor Brent Boyer. And I did ask Brent. I left him voice messages. I told him if he didn't want to argue that he was welcome to explain it in an email. I also posted numerous requests for an explanation. I never got one.

But this column serves as an explanation - the one freedom prized this paper is economic freedom. The freedom to make money. Thus, my post was yanked because it attacked apparent lies by our government that were necessary if they were to proceed uninterrupted with their plan to help businesses make money. So the post was yanked because it violated this paper's most important right - the right to encourage and promote local businesses.

Brent, I thank you for finally giving an explanation.

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 9 months ago

I was on vacation last weekend and visiting Fort Ticonderoga to see a reenactment of a French and Indian War battle. I was seated on a bench inside the parade area of the fort when I saw a small child descend from the ramparts wearing a t-shirt with a Brazilian flag in the center. His apparent father followed closely with an empty stroller, both looked Brazilian. The father told the boy not to enter a roped off doorway to my left. I said to the father, "How's your team doing in the World Cup?"

He replied in accented English, saying something about how Brazil had tied another team a couple of days before but quickly added, "But my team is the USA. I still visit Brazil, my country of birth, but when I emigrated here I became an American and that's where my first loyalty is" , all said with a proud grin. He added that he was a doctor, PhD. at Columbia, but "...just had to bring his children here to see this", taking in the fort with a sweeping gesture.

It's a little vignette, but I thought I'd share it as appropriate for this holiday.

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trump_suit 3 years, 9 months ago

Jason, where did you find that interview with seeuski??

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 9 months ago

Happy 4th of July!

This morning while I was scanning through my daily web news, I stumbled upon one of those news articles that wasn't really "news," per say. As many writers do for days like today, the author of this article chose to go with the popular and logical topic choice of patriotism, and its correlation with events that transpired on this date 234 years ago. The main text of the article is an easy-to-understand version of the Declaration of Independence. It's striking to read through the list of grievances that our founding forefathers had assembled against their soon-to-be-former King. If anything, it served me well to have a refresher coarse on our nation's most pivotal document. Maybe it will stir something in you too?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/07/july-4-declaration-of-independence-text.html

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

A fish does'nt know he's wet.

If you understand the Constitutional principles of freedom you recognize their removal. If not, you won't notice a change even if it's "big enough for Helen Keller to see."

Many Americans are under a false assumption that our nation is normal and, therefore, the freedoms paid for in blood which we blissfully enjoy are apt to remain. This is false. One needs not be an astute observer of history to recognize that, in the course of human history, America is an anomoly.

Most of human existance has been under tyrants, under oppression, in slavery and bondage both physical and financial. This is the default existance to which humans have returned reliably and repeatedly throughout all history.

Perhaps Americans can not recognize the twilight of their freedom because they have never known the dark night of tyranny. They certainly seem disturbingly comfortable with leaders who envoke principals of Mao and who cozy up to other murderous tyrants. (birds of a feather?)

Maybe we are simply no longer capable of maintaining the level of vigilance and character required in a republican form of government. Politicians with their finger in the wind now sit in halls once filled with statesmen who were ready to die for their nation.

Do we assume the re-set button will always yield, to us and our posterity, a free nation? If so I think we assume too much.

"If Americans expect to remain both ignorant and free, they expect what never has been and what never will be." T Jefferson

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 9 months ago

Here's another little Happy 4th tidbit;

Our Nation could barely be any more divided than it is right now. To actually be any more divided, we'd probably have to start another Civil War.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

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JLM 3 years, 9 months ago

There is a huge difference between being a "living" document whose "life" orintention can be altered by the process of "amendment" and the view that the founding documents of our Nation can simply be amended by legislative or judicial or political action which is not as rigorous as the formal process of amendment which requires formal ratification by 2/3 of the individual United States to become effective.

It is the intellectual laziness and presumptive politics of "leaders" who would change the very principles of the Founding Fathers' intentions without resorting to the rigor and complexity of the amendment process that is the problem.

Such "progressives" would legislate/amend from the well of the Senate by the slimmest of margins or worse from the bench of the SCOTUS.

Simply because President Obama was educated at Harvard or taught constitutional law does not entitle him to abrogate the responsibilities of his office or the Federal government --- as an example, securing the Nation's borders.

The Constitution is indeed living document which embodies within it the very and only methodology to change its intentions and erects a rigorous test and methodology for ratification of proposed changes.

Anything less is an abuse of the process and rightfully rejected all constitional supporters.

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JLM 3 years, 9 months ago

The real question today is --- what function of government does the Federal government think it is NOT entitled to conduct? Does it recognize ANY limitations to its powers?

Does it feel any obligation as to its necessity to discharge the duties granted by the States to the Federal government? Such as border security?

Today you have the Federal government failing to discharge its duty to secure the borders while attacking the legitimate rights of the State of Arizona to police its own population which are directly impacted by the Federal government's failure to perform its duties.

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StopTheBrutalChemtrails 3 years, 9 months ago

Is America Really Free, If A Privately-Owned Central Bank Controls Our Currency And Runs Our Economy?

Michael Snyder Business Insider July 5, 2010

This weekend we celebrated America’s Independence Day. But are we really a free nation? The truth is that it is really hard to argue that we are “free” when our currency system and our economy are run by an unelected privately-owned central bank.

You see, the truth is that the U.S. government does not “print money” whenever it wants. Under the current system, in order to get more U.S. currency, the U.S. government has to borrow it. The Federal Reserve creates the new currency out of thin air and then either keeps the “U.S. Treasury bonds” they get in return from the U.S. government or they sell them off to others. But what kind of sense does that make? Why does a “free government” have to go into debt to print its own currency? It is the U.S. government that should be printing U.S. currency – not a privately-owned bank called the Federal Reserve.

The truth is that the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is. And no unelected private central bank should be “running” our economy. Actually the free market should be running our economy, but if anyone is going to run it, it should at least be the government that we have elected. But instead we have a group of unelected bureaucrats making our interest rate decisions, determining our money supply levels and deciding which of their friends get big bailouts. That isn’t the American Dream! What kind of “democracy” and ”freedom” is that? The sad truth is that as long as we allow an unelected privately-owned central bank to run our economy we will not be truly free.

The reality is that the Federal Reserve desperately needs to be audited. The Federal Reserve has never undergone a true comprehensive audit since it was created back in 1913. The truth is that we have very little idea of what is really going on inside that institution.

And yet they control our currency and our economy.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul had introduced a bill that would have mandated a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve, but it has now officially been defeated.

Ron Paul’s proposal to audit the Federal Reserve, which had previously been co-sponsored by 320 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, failed by a vote of 229-198.

Every single Republican in the House voted in favor of the measure, and even 23 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans, but it was not enough.

You see, the Federal Reserve convinced 122 Democrats who were originally co-sponsors of Ron Paul’s proposal to jump ship and vote against the measure.

It was truly a sad day for America.

Ron Paul has released a video expressing his disappointment over the defeat of the “audit the Fed” provision…. http://www.prisonplanet.com/is-america-really-free-if-a-privately-owned-central-bank-controls-our-currency-and-runs-our-economy.html

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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Right you are, JLM, and even that well founded process does not always work out so well.

Prohibition made it through, great expectations of the good that it would do for society.

Equal rights amendment didn't, for fear it would force women to be equal rather than special.

So their rights are encoded by judicial and legislative measures, not by the constitution.

But to your question, No, there is nothing the Federales do not feel empowered to regulate.

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Fielding,

Is there a reason why you double-double space your posts? I find it very distracting from your message and difficult to read for some reason.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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I apologize for the inconvenience, it was my intention to make it easier to read, for me it is.

And you may also have noticed most of the sentences are sized to precisely fit a single line.

It is a style of prose delivery that intends to promote contemplation of each thought individually.

I find it an engaging exercise in composition, it demands use of words to their best advantage.

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