According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word independence means: the quality or state of being independent. Well that clears things right up.
People claim they want independence from this or that or their parents or at work, but really what they want is to be coddled and told they’re doing it all on their own. Perhaps that is a little harsh, but the people who scream the loudest that their freedoms are being taken away are usually the ones benefiting directly from the enactments being put into place, like in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Healthcare Act, or for whom it will do nothing to affect their lives, as in putting the recently passed equal marriage law here in Washington State up for a vote. Ignorance is almost always the culprit, but in reality cannot be blamed for everything. At some point, being independent also means being accountable for your own actions.
Going back to the definition, early versions of the word meant competence. Now, I have a problem equating the two, especially since there are such a large number of people who claim to be independent that are well outside the range of competent… okay, maybe I don’t. Perhaps we need to install a competency exam before allowing our kids into the world on their own. Oh wait! We do! It’s called Graduation. Maybe what we really need to do is raise our standards instead of teaching to the lowest common denominator. We are not teaching our kids to be great thinkers and humanitarians, but to be disposable memory test takers. We are cultivating the dumbing down of our society, and in doing so, relinquishing our ability to remain independent.
If we really want to celebrate Independence Day, we should take a good, hard look at ourselves and ask if we are truly up to the challenge.