Archive | Independence Day

Invest Your Time in Two Books for Independence Day

Posted on 30 June 2017 by Scott Cooper

Last week my column discussed our collective need to work on “Improving Our Communication Skills.”  The previous editorial discussed “Starting the Investment,” specifically thinking about a summer reading list for those graduating from Middle School.  “Starting the Investment,” compared the relative maturity of young men and women graduating from the 8th grade 100 years ago to today, and recommended a book, Do Hard Things, written by modern teenagers, sharing history of some heroic teens of other era’s, as an inspiration for today’s teens to initiate a “rebelution against low expectations!”  Yes, it’s a play on words, combining rebel and revolution.  Their website is

This week, as Independence Day celebrations approach, we should remember the American Patriots who simply wanted individual liberty were considered rebels and that their effort began formally legislatively, but ultimately led to a revolution.  In that light as we consider how to improve our communication skills about our struggle for liberty today, I urge all of us to add two books to our summer reading list, which I believe will expand our thoughts about what the celebrations this coming weekend really mean.

The financial entanglements our ancestors fought against prior to our first Independence Day were far less significant than the financial entanglements we face today.  Today our central government rewards itself and “the players” both inside and outside of government for doing the exact opposite of what we celebrate this weekend.  Expanding dependency has become the largest byproduct of virtually every government program.  Yet this weekend we continue to celebrate independence and liberty, while at the same time embracing policies which limit choice and increase dependence.  I find this curious, and troubling.

The two books I recommend are:

Future editorials will disc

uss the books in more detail.  I am confident that some of the polarized advocates I referenced in last week’s “Improving our Communication Skills” will have choice words about the first author.  When you find those, remember, they are attacking a person, but not the content.  Remember, that tactic is an effort to stop discussion by demeaning the person.  I call on all of us to do and demand better, and I hope you will too!

As you read the books and have thoughts about the content, I would love to discuss the thoughts with you either on the Edgefield Advertiser editorial page, where this will be posted, or on my Facebook page, where it will also be posted.

Here’s wishing you a very rewarding Independence Day Weekend Celebration with family and friends.

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This week I travelled through Paradise……

Posted on 04 July 2015 by Scott Cooper

Paradise II


It’s true, this week I travelled through Paradise.

I travelled to Michigan for business, as well as to take time to visit several dear friends along the way.  Midweek I found myself at the very top of the Upper Peninsula, having several hours to myself, which I had not planned.  Initially I thought I would simply go to a library to study, but after thinking I might never make it to that part of the country again, I decided to travel the scenic route to Whitefish Point to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.  To get there, you travel North Whitefish Point Road, which actually ends at the lighthouse and museum.

My destination was the museum, however I had not adequately studied the map – I had just keyed what I thought was the museum into my GPS.  When my GPS told me I was there, I wasn’t.  I was actually still 11 miles away, but I was in Paradise!  Unsure exactly where the museum was, I pulled into a small driveway of a home, which had a sign by the driveway stating there was a gift shop that was “Open for Business.”

After parking, I followed the cute signs back to a small building beside the adorable small home, which was on the edge of Lake Superior and Whitefish Bay.  When I walked in the woman at the counter said “Welcome to my little piece of Paradise!”

The woman was most pleasant and had a great selection of gifts.  She was extremely helpful in getting me back on the path toward my destination.  She said, which if I had studied a map what would have been obvious, “just keep taking this road to the very end – it dead ends at the lighthouse and the museum.  There is no way you can miss it!”

I spent the rest of the week thinking about that incident, the journey I was on, and today, Independence Day.

Greatlakes Shipwreck Museum

That day I was on the road to learn about shipwrecks, and found myself in Paradise.  For some reason my mind took me back several days prior to arriving in Paradise, when I had decided to drive through Detroit to see the devastation which I had read, seen pictures of, and watched videos on YouTube about. (If you click on link, you can see pictures, and once there, you can click on the video button to see videos).  For some reason, I had wanted to see with my own eyes what many claim to be the result of flawed policies.  It’s true, there are blocks and blocks and blocks of devastation, just like the picture below.  I spent time looking at it myself – and I spent a large portion of the week grieving about it, in particular the lives of countless families represented and impacted by the devastation…….a week when I wanted to be thinking about the glories of Independence – and all that we are celebrating today.

Detroit II

The most famous of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes in our lifetime is the Edmund Fitzgerald, made famous by Gordon Lightfoot’s song.  What I did not know prior to this week is that The Edmund Fitzgerald is but one of 240 ships lost in Whitefish Bay alone, and some 6,000 ships and 30,000 lives have been lost on the Great Lakes.  What impressed me about the museum was not only the history of the devastation of the wrecks, but the history of constantly improving not only the industry of shipping, but the technology of recovering and studying shipwrecks.  Later that afternoon I took a boat tour of the Soo Locks, which opened in 1837, and still today some 10,000 ships per year pass through the locks, which connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes.

Soo Locks II

As I journeyed home yesterday to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends – I reflected on my week.  Not only did I accomplish my business and visit with friends, I witnessed a devastated city, which 100 years ago was the pride of our nation.  I studied shipwrecks.  I travelled country roads and marveled at the number of old farm homes which were in disrepair, with outbuildings surrounding them, which were in extreme disrepair, and quite honestly needed to be razed.

But you know what else I noticed – I passed countless farms which were thriving and had grass which my cows would love!  I saw modern farm buildings sitting beside old farm homes, as well as new farm homes.  I passed numerous old homes which had been restored to the glories of their by-gone era.  I spoke with a man who spends time in Detroit, who shared with me stories of the effort to revitalize Detroit, and families who maintain their little piece of Detroit (their paradise), despite the chaos which surrounds them.

I passed through 9 states this week, and at each stop, I made a point to try and speak with folks, to look in their eyes as I spoke with them or watched them as they went about their business.  Whether it was the individual working in the coffee shop I ate breakfast in, in Wheaton, IL, the good folks I attended church with in downtown Columbus, OH, the truck driver I spoke with at the rest area in Kentucky, the black woman who needed a jump start at a gas station outside of Chicago, or folks on the tour with me in the UP of Michigan and even the individuals who were leaving the baseball stadium in Detroit, headed back to their cars – just a couple blocks from the devastation so many write about in Detroit.

There are things going on in our country which grieve our hearts.  But the potential ingenuity and compassion of the human heart is no different today than at any other point in the history of man.  While I did witness devastation and shipwrecks this week – I truly believe our country is about the closest we can get to paradise.

As we celebrate Independence Day, many may choose to write about the growing dependency in our nation – and how it is the exact opposite of the liberty our founders were brave enough to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bequeath to us.  Many point out that it is going to lead to shipwreck and devastation.  That may be true.

As we celebrate our birthday – I hope each of us will think about the lighthouse our founders provided for us – the tool required to keep our inheritance.  And that is the Constitution.  If we follow that path, we can restore our republic to its founding principles of Liberty and Independence which were birthed this day, 239 years ago.  Kind of’ like the woman at the gift shop told me on Wednesday – it is the dead end, and “there is no way we can miss it!”

Lighthouse With American Flag

The Constitution



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