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Every year on July 4, Americans celebrate their "freedom" on Independence Day—the anniversary of the day the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and established the United States as an independent nation in 1776.

As Americans prepare to commemorate Independence Day in 2017—gathering together with friends and family to eat, drink and watch elaborate fireworks displays—they are blindly celebrating a false sense of freedom based on a list of liberties that are far from the current practices of the U.S. government.

Endless Taxes

When schoolchildren in the U.S. learn about the great American Revolution, they are taught about the important role taxes played in the decision to rebel against the British government. American colonists fought back against the unnecessary taxes and tariffs that seemed to increase by the year, and they took a stand against the heinous idea of “taxation without representation.

However, today the U.S. federal tax code is around 75,000 pages—so long that most of the politicians who have the authority to push for legal change to it, have never actually read it. In fact, the Washington Examiner reported in April 2016 that the current version of the federal tax code is more than 187 times longer than it was a century ago.

“Amazingly, in the first 26 years of the federal income tax, the tax code only grew from 400 to 504 pages. Even through President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the tax code was well under 1,000 pages. Changes during World War II made the length of the tax code balloon to 8,200 pages. Most of the growth in the tax code came in the past 30 years, growing from 26,300 pages in 1984 to nearly three times that length today.”

Mass Incarceration

When schoolchildren in the U.S. are taught about history, they are taught about the abolishment of slavery in the 1860s, followed by the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. They are taught that Americans finally learned how to appreciate all people, regardless of race. However, they are not taught about the forms of modern day slavery, in which race and poverty play an important role.

A study conducted by the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU School of Law in 2016 found that nearly 40 percent of the U.S. prison population—around 576,000 people—are behind bars with “no compelling public safety reason.”More than 25 percent of prisoners—364,000 people—are serving prison sentences for nonviolent offenses.

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Mass Surveillance

The peaceful transition of power is known as one of the cornerstones of American policy, and issues such as mass surveillance appear to transcend party lines. From President Bush signing the Patriot Act, to President Obama signing the USA Freedom Act, Americans have seen an ongoing loss of privacy rights in the 21st Century.

While President Trump has openly praised government surveillance, he wouldn’t have his current ability to spy on innocent Americans, if it wasn’t for the actions of his predecessors. Just days before he left office, Obama signed an executive order that gave the National Security Agency the authority to share the raw streams of the communications it intercepts from Americans directly with government agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Endless War

When British colonists arrived on American soil, they acted as if they were the first to ever discover the land, and appeared to have very little regard for the Native American people who were already inhabitants. The only “war” that was waged was for a land the American colonists chose to claim as their own—in many ways, that practice is still carried out today.

The concept of endless war is one that has been passed from one administration to the next in the U.S., with each new president adding to and intensifying the current ongoing conflicts. Instead of pursuing a conflict because the opposing country directly attacked the U.S., the true strategy revolves around what the U.S. can stand to gain from the country’s natural resources, along with the factor of whether that country recently dropped the U.S. dollar.

While Donald Trump ran on a policy of not invading other countries, his sentiment quickly changed once he became the lead puppet for the military industrial complex.

As U.S. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

In 2017, the current status of the United States is one in which when it comes to the areas of taxes, war, and the police and surveillance state, the American public seems to have no regard for the police state they willingly submit to, all the while openly celebrating their “Freedom.”