This weekend, millions of Americans will celebrate our Independence Day. They will gather in parks and on front lawns, fire up their grills and enjoy an evening of fireworks, family and friendship.
Children will wave sparklers in the air, tracing figure eights, while fathers will light seemingly endless fuses of fountains and firecrackers.
Most revel on the Fourth of July as a matter of tradition - and it is a good one. I have celebrated this day throughout my life, even when I lived in nations that did not cherish freedom.
When I reflect on our Independence Day traditions, I am deeply grateful that Americans continue to celebrate this historic day, but I am also saddened by our combined failure to stop the continued encroachment upon our freedom.
Each July 4th, I look back at our year and can literally count the ways in which the path set forth by our forefathers has been distorted and, many times, betrayed.
We live in a nation bursting with people who love liberty but governed by men who lust for power.
For over 100 years, those designing men have been enabled by a political system that favors and protects the powerful.
Republicans and Democrats have maintained and significantly increased their hold on the reigns of our government regardless of the damage that has been done to the men, women and children who work, love, live and die in our great nation.
Today's America does not resemble the intent clearly laid out within that document that was signed by patriots 232 years ago.
They put more than ink to paper when they signed the Declaration of Independence; they placed their lives, families, prosperity and honor on the line for liberty.
Our founders knew that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. They held no tolerance for the thought that we are granted rights by government.
Our rights, our decisions, our very lives are ours. It is through individual responsibility by which we prosper or fail - not by state decree or legislation.
When Jefferson added the word "among" into the phrase, "among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," he was defiantly stating that our rights are self-defined, short of depriving another of their life or liberty.
Since the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed, we appear to have lost the meaning and intent of the words: independence, freedom and liberty.
Instead, those words have been echoed with abuse on campaign trails and government buildings by politicians who use them as Orwellian tools to mean just the opposite.
We now use "freedom" as an excuse to invade sovereign nations.
The protection of "liberty" is now an excuse to take it from us.
But today, during this election year, we have the opportunity to change the course of events.
We have a chance to send a message to Washington that will rock its foundation.
Together, we can make the word LIBERTY ring true with deafening accord.
My candidacy for President of the United States is not one of vanity or shallowness. I, probably just like you, have had my eyes forced open by a government that wants to take all that it can from me and my family.
I am running for president to stand firm and demand a return of my liberty, my privacy, my labor and the peaceful heritage of my nation.
I ask you to stand with me.
Together we face the two-party behemoth that will do all that it can to silence us.
[fundraising pitch omitted]
As important, over this coming weekend as you are spending times with friends and loved ones, take a minute and attempt to educate them as to the true meaning of liberty and how it has been lost in our nation and ask them to stand with us.