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By Lia Blanchard

Tomorrow we will all celebrate America’s 236th birthday. We’ll eat a lot of food and blow up a lot of fireworks. It’s what we do.

We also tend to spend this holiday surrounded by many people; friends, family, and other loved ones. There will be many conversations about many things, and inevitably, folks will disagree.

There are a lot of things to talk – and disagree – about in our country right now. The housing market is still languishing, seasonal natural disasters are affecting millions, and a landmark healthcare law has everyone talking. There are many other issues as well, but these few are representative of many others that have a very direct impact on the everyday lives of most Americans.

As you enjoy your holiday tomorrow, please remember that talking – and disagreeing – about things is a right NOT enjoyed by billions of other people in other countries around the world. In these countries, even having a conversation with your neighbor can cost you your life, if the topic doesn’t have the approval of the government.

So discuss and argue away. And when the discussion is over, shake hands and enjoy the fireworks. Each star that bursts in the sky represents an American that has gone before us, enjoying and ensuring the continuance of the privileges found in our Bill of Rights, preserving our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy Fourth of July to you and yours, and Happy Birthday, America.