The Pfundstein Report: We’re privileged to celebrate the Fourth
The Fourth of July is a great American holiday. It explodes with everything Americana. We should celebrate it with passion and vigor – lest we forget its true meaning.
We celebrate our political independence each Fourth of July. The Declaration, thereof, was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. John Adams penned in a letter to his wife Abigail that the day “ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” (James R. Heintz, American University’s librarian, maintains an excellent Web site on Fourth of July celebrations and related history. He recently published an encyclopedia on the Fourth.)
One cold day this winter, I caught myself complaining to a caller from St. Louis that the presidential primary was driving us all nuts – that I would be glad when it was over. I then realized what I had said – not just what we as New Hampshire might lose. We have a national transfer of power mechanism – a presidential election – that has enabled our country to change administrations peacefully – yes, sometimes somewhat dramatically, but peacefully. You can’t beat that. Our system might not be perfect, but it’s the best one in the world.
As I have written in the past, celebrating the Fourth reminds us not only of our political freedom but also of our thirst for economic freedom and opportunity. As strained as that opportunity may seem at the moment, economic opportunity in the United States is still greater than in any other country. Political independence requires economic strength which is created by maintaining economic opportunity.
The true strength of our nation is the creativity and hard work of our people. Opportunity. Incentive. Innovation. Reward. If we lose this progression creating economic opportunity, we risk becoming a matured, then declining nation state.
Many heroes are dying and have died so you and I can enjoy our political and economic freedoms. We must not forget their ultimate sacrifice – we must celebrate the great American holiday – the Fourth of July.
Let’s not forget the political freedom we cherish is due to the enormous sacrifices of our Armed Forces — both current and historic. The economic strength enables us to deploy these forces – the economic strength is created by the progression of opportunity, incentive, innovation and reward.
I believe our nation’s most fundamental challenge moving forward is maintaining economic opportunity, so a creative and hard-working people can enjoy the incentives and rewards of meritocracy. The expanding rift between the “haves” and “have-nots” will not only erode economic opportunity and ultimately economic strength, but on the extremes will threaten our political freedom. Yes, allocation of dwindling natural resources is a critical issue – yet, managing that delicate balance will be impossible if the opportunity-incentive-innovation-reward progression creating economic opportunity is dismantled. In another time we simply called it the American Dream. Join me and celebrate the American Dream. Happy July Fourth!
Donald Pfundstein is president and managing director of the Concord-based law firm of Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell.