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Here's is a revised Pledge that we should all seriously consider. If it "rings true" to you, please copy and share it as widely as possible.

"I Humbly-pledge allegiance to the Founding Ideals of the United States of America, including the Republican Way of High-motivated SELF-governance: one Moral Nation united together indivisible, with EQUAL Liberty and EQUAL Justice for all citizens and legal immigrants."

Commentary on Independence Day
Back when I was six or seven years old, a neighbor girl made a rude comment to my brother and I. We said something back to her, probably that we were going to tell her parents, and she responded that she could say whatever she wanted. After all, she taunted, "this is a free country." Of course, that was only a child's extremely limited picture of what "freedom" means. She had absolutely no sense of the balancing act whereupon "rights" must be counter-balanced with "responsibilities." She only had this vague idea that because we're taught in our schools that this is a "free country," she could simply say (and do) whatever she felt like, with no concern about the ramifications of those words. While some adults may snicker at her youthful naivete, her perspective is unfortunately held by all too many so-called "adults" today. We are universally confused about the nature of "freedom."
During the last decade or so when Charles Manson's parole hearings were televised, he would say words to the effect, "I didn't do anything wrong. All I was doing was giving freedom to young people." Amazingly (to me), none of those who were questioning Manson ever asked him to define (specifically, and precisely) what he meant by "freedom." Had they done so, and continued to press for details beyond the first few layers of glib surface answers, you'd likely to have seen a confused and uncertain Manson, beginning to ask himself about the real nature of this thing we call freedom.
One of our problems today is that we have continued to "dumb down" our standards as students do worse and worse on their tests. Thus, if student don't (and can't) read well, and don't have the discipline to do so, then they simply cannot be good historians or judges of their own country. And if you do not take the time to read the U.S. Bill of Rights and the history surrounding it, you have no way to evaluate that elusive thing called "freedom," particularly in the context of this country's history. If you think that there is no great value in a country where you can practice your religious beliefs without fear of legal reprisals, and if you feel that lives were lost in vain to create the unique freedoms enjoyed here, then your ignorance is not bliss. History tells us that those who did not grasp the significance of their freedoms, and value them, lost them (sooner or later). It is particularly painful to hear about people who have lost touch with the political and religious freedoms that were the basis of this country, and who think that the purpose of our freedoms is to "have fun," "say and do whatever I want," "be lazy," "be immoral," and otherwise tear down rather than build up.
Let's look at the Amendments about Free Speech and about the Right to Bear Arms. In the context of the founding of this country, free speech really was referring to free political speech. But somehow we've allowed clever lawyers and weak-minded citizens to allow that clear concept to be twisted to mean that any sort of written material is OK, such as all manner of pornography, and that even all manner of "free expression" is OK. Some have gone so far to say that burning the U.S. flag is an act protected under the First Amendment. While I'm not in favor of a law to make it illegal to burn the flag, I also think that it requires a most convoluted sense of logic to say the First Amendment makes it OK to burn the flag.
A fundamental point to consider is the balance of rights and responsibilities. Yes, you can always and anywhere and in all situations say whatever you wish -- but there are always some sort of consequences. To merely "say what I wanna say when I wanna say it" is a childish desire that has no meaningful relevance to a mature person. Yes, you have the right to say things -- but not the right to speak Lies or Rumors or Defamatory statements intended to harm. A plain speaker who speaks unvarnished Truth is a rarity indeed in this world. We are so used to politicians and leaders who deceive, and who say the "right things" to the right crowds, that we no longer respect anyone's word. And that's a real shame!
As always, when the populace practice self-control and self-responsibility, there is no need for the society at large to create rules and laws and orders (ad nauseum). Rules and laws only come after there are violations of 100% free choice. Which brings us back to our elusive "freedom." Yes, you CAN say and do whatever you want. But there is always a price to pay. The "price" can be exacted in numerous ways. If we have acted in complete Balance, the "price" for our freedom of speech was paid in our self-restraint and self-responsibility. If our words and actions are imbalanced, then the price is paid, somehow, eventually, by your time and energy, until balance is again achieved. This is what is meant by Karma. Unfortunately, most of us are "paying for" our inappropriate actions and statements all the time, in ways large and small. It happens when we get sick, or get into accidents, or we "lose time," or someone steals from us, etc. etc. etc. Nature is seeking balance. It is unavoidable. We can't escape it. It has nothing to do with belief or religion or God or Jesus or George Washington or the Koran or the Bible or Moses. It is just the way this Universe operates. So IF you have carefully considered your words, and actions, you earn the right to continue making free choices.
Also to consider when you use the word "freedom." Do you mean "freedom to..." or do you mean "freedom from..."? Just try asking that to yourself when you find yourself using the word "freedom." If freedom means an escape from responsibility, then you are pursuing the counterfeit freedom. If freedom means working harder to create a better life for yourself and your family, and a better world to live in for your community, then it is very likely that you are pursuing the real freedoms.
OK, it's starting to sound like I'm preaching. Let's move on to the Second Amendment.
Without the Second Amendment, the rest would be meaningless. Why? Since by design, this amendment gives the INDIVIDUAL citizen a means to join others to fight off tyranny and dictatorships. For those who are of the mistaken opinion that the Second Amendment does not refer to the individual right to keep and bear arms, I ask you to read not only the wording of the Second Amendment, but also all the other extant writings of all the men who wrote our Bill of Rights. If you do not read all the other supportive data that was written at that time, then you are choosing to formulate an opinion based upon nothing but your emotional reactions, but not on facts. IF you take the time to go to a library or bookstore to read such statements, you'll see that the term "militia" was explicitly intended to refer to individuals. There is absolutely no doubt about that. Just read every Amendment to the Constitution and what do you see? EACH one refers to INDIVIDUAL rights! Why would the Second refer to something else?
Now, some years ago, the Los Angeles Times (notoriously biased against firearms), interviewed four U.S. police chiefs, asking their opinions as to whether the Second Amendment referred to individual rights or to a national guard. All the police chiefs said that they believed the Second Amendment did not refer to individual rights. That is, these police chiefs were willing to share their opinions, based upon their actual ignorance of the Second Amendment. And, the Los Angeles Times editorial staff was willing to publish that very biased article (propaganda, really), suggesting that if four police chiefs say the Second Amendment does not refer to individual rights then it does not! Again, the world is full of folks who have no qualms about pushing forth their personal agendas, and who have no concern about the actual facts of the matter.
If we do not study history, and if we no longer grasp what our own founding legal documents say and mean, then we have effectively already "lost" it. If you do nothing else on the Fourth of July, you should at least take the time to research these matters for yourself, your family, and your friends. Of what value is it to enjoy hot dogs and fireworks, if we are already well into the process of losing the very freedoms we think we are celebrating?