The Star-News

Cost and payoff of independence

Sat, Jul 06 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Yesterday the nation celebrated Independence Day. And, as any college freshman waking up next to a pleasant looking friend after a raging all-night party will tell you, cut apron strings and independence are good. Great, even.

But they do have their drawbacks. Even that same carefree kid will tell you that once they are away from the magical realm of academia and out on their own, living the I-life isn’t all its cracked up to be.

There are bills to pay: rent, insurance, student loans, utilities. Factor in the cost of groceries, fuel — if they have a car, or bus fare if they don’t — and incidentals like beer runs and cover charges; it’s plain to see independence has its price. There are also other costs to consider.

Take, for example, what happened with our country when we broke away from the British Empire.

A long time before July 4, 1776, pilgrims settled on this continent’s shores to establish religious freedom. Today we celebrate that freedom alongside members of the Westboro Baptist Church, the god-loving congregation of less than 100 people that makes headlines by protesting the funerals of military veterans and firefighters.

And on that day in 1776, when this country’s forefathers declared independence and Americans took the first of many steps away from English rule, little did they know that centuries later royal subjects would breathlessly await the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s child. Meanwhile, back in The States, we would be waiting for for news of the child born to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

We gave up the Queen’s English and accents of James Bond and Keria Knightley in exchange for sounding like Gomer Pyle and Snooki.

We drive on the right side, they drive on the wrong. Their biscuits are our cookies and our chips are their fries while their crisps are our chips. I could go on but you get the idea.

Sure, striking out on your own has hidden pitfalls and unexpected consequences but the benefits usually outweigh the costs.

In time that college kid learns that with indepedence comes responsibility and maybe after the fifth time learns going to work late or with a hangover isn’t advised. And that modified approach to life results in continued employment. Or even a promotion.

Likewise a country that struggles to tolerate all that’s unseemly, unpleasant or, on occasion, unrefined grows richer because of that same spirit of tolerance.

Independence comes with a price but more often than not the cost is worth it.

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