Senator Brad Farrin delivers this week’s Republican Radio Address
By Senator Brad Farrin
As far as birthdays go each year, this one is about as big as it gets. On Monday, July 4, our nation will celebrate its 246th birthday in pursuing the prosperity of the great “American experiment.”
Hello, I am Senator Brad Farrin of Somerset County and it is my honor to join you for our Republican Radio Address in celebrating Independence Day.
It is my honor because I spent my military career defending the rights laid out directly in our Declaration of Independence, which was adopted amid the midsummer heat of the Pennsylvania Statehouse in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. We’d later call that Statehouse Independence Hall.
Our country’s founders held that because all people were created equal, the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” were inalienable and their truths were self-evident. More importantly, they recognized that when “…any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” They did that by declaring our independence from the crown of England. And by signing the Declaration, the 56 delegates of the Second Continental Congress that united the 13 colonies bet their lives on it.
It’s been nearly a decade since I retired from the Maine Air National Guard. Over the course of nearly 30 years serving my country both on active duty and through the Air Guard, I deployed to Iraq in 2008 and the Horn of Africa in 2009.
But my service brings up an obvious question: What exactly was I fighting for? Was it just for our right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”? Was it the Constitution and freedoms granted to us in our Bill of Rights? Or was it more important than that?
President Ronald Reagan said in July 1987 that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Sage advice from a great patriot.
Another patriot was famous painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell, who created many covers for the “Saturday Evening Post.” He painted four in particular during World War II that were based on the four freedoms President Franklin Delano Roosevelt championed two years earlier in his State of the Union Address in January 1941, a time when Nazi Germany was scorching Europe.
Yet by the time Rockwell painted his interpretation of those freedoms in 1943 – Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear – we had already been fighting for them along with our survival when we joined the war in December 1941.
Across all the wars this nation has fought over our 246 years of existence, 1.4 million Americans have either died or been declared missing in action. The freedoms we enjoy today have been paid for by their lives and we honor them. Yet the rights and freedoms FDR so eloquently described and Rockwell so elegantly painted are still under attack today. That was shown so clearly when those rights were curtailed during the pandemic.
If anything, the pandemic showed how we’ve taken our rights and freedoms for granted. It makes you wonder why it took a pandemic and our government’s reaction to it to wake us up to that fact.
This Independence Day, we should remember why we declared independence in the first place – oppression, taxation without representation and repeated injustices against the colonies. We should also remember that government exists solely by and derives its power from the will of the people for whom it governs.
So while FDR and Norman Rockwell aptly illustrated the freedoms at stake as America helped fight against tyranny in World War II, I challenge our current leaders and legislators to protect them as well.
- We need Freedom from Fear, like reining in the gubernatorial powers seen during the state of emergency. Legislators need a voice.
- We need independence from those in government who don’t want to give parents the power to determine what their children learn and even what school to attend.
- We need independence from burdensome taxation. We already collect too much money from taxpayers and just gave some of it back, but we need tax reform to keep it from happening.
- We need Freedom from Want, like our 40-year high inflation rate, gas over $5 per gallon, and shortages including baby formula that has affected children across this nation.
- We need independence from injustices where some in government want to defund our police and put criminals’ rights ahead of those who are victimized by them.
- And most importantly, we need freedom from oppression for those who want to curb our First and Second Amendment rights. The freedoms of speech and religion were central to FDR’s speech and Rockwell’s paintings over half a century ago and still are today.
It all sounds a lot like what they fought for in 1776, which shows that protecting our freedoms is a never-ending endeavor. Millions of Americans have fought or died for it, and we should remember that the most on Independence Day.
Again, I’m Senator Brad Farrin from Somerset County and I encourage you to display our beautiful flag, take in a parade, fire up the barbeque, and enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend in our majestic State of Maine.
Senator Brad Farrin is in his second term representing the Kennebec and Somerset County communities of District 3. He is the Senate Republican Lead for the Legislature’s Transportation as well as Veterans and Legal Affairs committees.