© Ben Garrison
You see it everywhere - on signs in stores, in TV commercials, newspaper ads, and sales fliers: Happy Fourth of July.

Well, now, isn't that special? What's the big deal about saying, "Happy Fourth of July?" After all, every country in the world has a "fourth of July."

Ask school kids what the Fourth of July is all about, and virtually each and every one will answer something like, "Fireworks" or "Cookouts." Retailers see it as yet another excuse to hold a sale. For most, it's a day off from work. But how many people today understand what July 4th is really about?

The fact that the Fourth of July is a celebration of independence from government tyranny under British rule seems to have been pretty much forgotten, or is viewed as an unimportant afterthought.

What kind of government tyranny did the Colonists want freedom from? Well, for one thing, the kind that involves warrant-less searches of peoples' homes, where government agents could just walk right into your private home for no reason and conduct a search without even getting a court-issued warrant. That was a form of government terrorism waged against the people, and when America declared its independence from British rule it adopted a new rule at home that specifically forbade such tyrannical government actions. To deal with this particular abuse, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution was created to protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures undertaken by a lawless, tyrannical government.

It's not 1776 anymore - it's 2011. And once again Americans are dealing with a tyrannical government that is trying to take away their rights, one by one. Police in Indiana now have the court-affirmed "right" to conduct warrantless house-to-house searches without any just cause whatsoever. The state Supreme Court there has ruled that police no longer need warrants to break into private homes and search them for anything they want, at any time of day or night, for any reason. Nationwide, courts are ruling that you cannot resist an unlawful entry into your home by a police officer, even if that officer is committing a crime by breaking into your house. Policy brutality is becoming widespread across the country, with police beating, tasering, arresting, and charging people who are guilty of no crime whatsoever, such as the case of the young man with a speech impediment whom the police felt were "mocking" him; in another incident, a paraplegic was tasered because he couldn't get out of his wheelchair. A SWAT team kidnapped a girl from her home, because her mother refused to give her dangerous drugs....yes, right here in America. Some police officers are nothing more than a bunch of thugs with badges, and videotaping an incident of police brutality can get you arrested and/or shot.

(Let me interject here, the Chattanooga and East Ridge police have been doing a find job of protecting the citizens. I particularly admire the Chattanooga Police for the excellent work they do, especially given the lack of respect and concern for their needs that they get from Mayor Littlefield, not to mention insufficient pay. But...that's a subject for another day.)

Don't even get me started on the illegal searches of citizens' persons by the TSA goons, even stooping so low as to force a 95-year-old women in poor health to remove her diaper and fly without underwear!.

The Tenth Amendment provided for states' rights, limiting the role of the federal government in local issues, but today the federal government totally disregards it, claiming to have supreme power over all the states.

Now we're starting to see economic tyranny, with "Obamacare" forcing people to buy health insurance. What next? A government mandate that new cars must be purchased from Government Motors?

The loss of free speech is everywhere, with news being censored if it questions government policies in any way. Oh, it isn't done overtly - the news media just don't tell us about the important things that are going on in the country and the world, instead filling the airwaves with nonsense stories like that of Weiner, or the latest "celebrity" inanity; it's not news anymore - it's "entertainment." Meanwhile, pornography and perversion proliferate, because they're "protected" under free speech laws. What insanity!

I could go on and on - the illegal wars being started by a "President" who thinks he's above any and every law; the so-called "Patriot Act" - initially given to us by George Bush - which takes us back to the days of King's Rule, and more. (And before some of you whine - as I know you will - "But it's all for our own good, to keep us 'safe'." Let me remind you of what Benjamin Franklin said: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.")

The founders of this once-great country fought and died to give us freedom from a tyrannical government, yet today Americans are willingly and uncaringly laying down their freedoms, and the word 'patriot' has become synonymous with "terrorist'." Our once free republic is fast becoming a police state...and the sheeple don't care; they're more concerned with not missing "American Idol", or what they'll be stuffing their faces with at their next meal.

Celebrating Independence Day once meant something; today it's all about shopping, food, and fireworks. The population has forgotten that elected officials are public 'servants', not royalty, and they grovel at the feet of those in office.

"Happy Fourth of July?" How about a return to "Happy Independence Day?" Wake up, people - before it's too late and "independence" and "freedom" are nothing but a distant memory.