Independence Day dawned amid some disquieting actions

This Independence Day broke at a time when the government is having to explain why it needs the phone records and Internet history of regular citizens, news reporters and editors and why certain political groups are enduring more scrutiny than normal from the Internal Revenue Service.

At this day, we would do well to remember why these events upset most of us.

This is not what our forefathers signed up for and not what most of us have come to expect from this land of the free and home of the brave.

The fact is, we Americans think we are different. And with good reason. We have been for most of our nearly 250 years of existence.

For most of that time, the world has wanted to be us.

The world envies our independence, economic mobility and religious freedoms. In most cases, those who don’t envy this country’s system of government simply aren’t aware that such freedom and independence exists.

While our government has always had flaws, they have usually been vociferously protested another of our rights and we have improved on those flaws.

To us, the past six weeks have felt chillingly different.

Different tax exemption monitoring for different groups?

Internet and phone records of individuals under government surveillance?

That doesn’t sound like the America we are bragging about in much of this editorial.

In celebrating our nation’s birthday, we need to search our souls no matter our political stripe and re-examine what it means to be an American and live in these United States of America.

Remember, people died to found this nation. They didn’t die to have freedoms usurped. They died to have those freedoms reasserted again and again as long as this Earth exists.

-Williamsport Sun-Gazette