Two hundred and some years ago–math is not my strong suit–the Declaration of Independence was signed. This is a holiday that is born out of words. Words born from ideas found in books and pamphlets and hot-blooded speakers on street corners.
Words and freedom are twinned and and twining about each other. You can’t have freedom without words, and you can’t have the best words without freedom.
I find my own freedom in words. The books I read take me places I could never go on my own. The words I write allow me to share my self with anyone willing and interested in sharing back. Reading is a form of sharing nearly as intimate as eating and sex. It’s a way to be drawn inside another person, to be taken to the place where the soul beats strongest and most like itself.
We can’t have freedom without words. Without books. Without ideas that make us happy–we talk about how glad we are to hear them. We can’t have freedom without ideas that make us angry–we talk about why they make us angry, and think and use words to fight those other words.
There are many self-evident truths to be celebrated on the 4th of July. And all those celebrations will spring from words of freedom and equality.