I am writing this post from our Beach Retreat where last night we had a luau on the beach and celebrated the eve of the fourth with friends and family. Today many will make a journey to watch the “rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air” in fireworks displays and parades all over America. In all of that celebration, let’s not lose sight of the real significance of the day.
This Fourth of July represents several major milestones in the birth of our republic and for our little state of Maryland.
Two hundred and thirty-seven years ago, our founding fathers declared our independence from England and the “great American experiment” was born. We would be challenged again with the War of 1812 (200th anniversary) and the Civil War which has its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary this year.
As one of the original thirteen colonies, Maryland was a participant in all of these milestones, the most significant being the birth of the Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry. It seems that our republic has had to withstand significant challenges throughout its history and somehow always managed to prevail and in most cases emerge stronger than before. We certainly saw this after 9/11 and again with the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Yet despite our greatness, we continue to face major challenges inside and outside of our country. Rising deficits, the uncertain economy, world crises, and a seemingly more divided, more partisan America. My wish for this fourth is to find a new pathway forward, one based on AND, not OR, not republican or democrat, liberal or conservative.
One like the “third-way” capitalism described in a Time magazine article titled, The New Patriotism (subscription required) by Richard Stengel where he wrote,
“What we need going forward is third-way patriotism, a new patriotism that blends the faith of our fathers with, as Lincoln said, “the unfinished work remaining before us.” That new patriotism, as Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer write in The True Patriot, means ‘appreciating not only what is great about our country but also what it takes to create and sustain greatness.’ …America has a greatness of purpose that no other nation does, and that for all our achievement, our greatest tasks remain before us.”
We live in a democracy based on free markets. In fact, every community in America depends on a trustworthy foundation for capitalism, from Main Street to Wall Street. As licensed CPAs, we are all active participants in this free market. In fact, we are a major part of its foundation. As a profession, we have a responsibility and civic duty to continue our “unfinished business” of continuing to improve the free markets and the public trust we have earned.
So for this Fourth of July, be proud to be an American and be proud to be a CPA, then think about what else we can do to make a difference in our communities and our profession — to, as the authors said, “create and sustain greatness.”
And one more wish for this Fourth — that you remember our men and women in the armed forces and first responders who stand in harm’s way and all of those brave men and women who came before them to fight for and protect these principles and ideas that are uniquely American.
Have a happy and safe Independence Day!
Tom and MACPA Team