This year, did you truly honor the meaning of Independence Day?

No, this isn’t one of those terrible 4th of July guilt trips. Did you have a barbecue? Good. Did you stuff greasy food into your face until you could barely move? No problem. Get so drunk you almost thought hitting on your bikini-clad cousin was a good idea (bonus points if her significant other was there)? Perfect. Did you completely forget about the troops for a blissful, fleeting day? Great, those bastards have already inserted themselves into every major holiday. However you had a blast, you were doing it right. Liberty means being free to have a good time, no matter how you may do that.

I’m talking about the spirit with which you commemorated the occasion. The reason for the festivities. Because whatever flag-waving, America-loving, patriotism-pimping vibe courses through Independence Day, let’s not forget what it’s all truly about: secession.

The United States was founded by seceding from Great Britain, and shooting the soldiers who came to overturn that secession. That’s what we’re meant to celebrate: rejecting the authority of a tyrannical governing body. While America came from secession, that true meaning has long since been lost (especially since the last American secession attempt was crushed by the government). Now the U.S. is just another country, complete with its freedoms and failures, its innocence and its oppression.

Did you remember secession this 4th of July? Amidst the veritable tsunami of flags, bright colors, eagles, fighter jets, and giant French-built green statues, did you think, or better yet, speak, about violently overthrowing the government?

I celebrated secession. I commemorated the occasion by joining fellow activists in an outreach operation in Amherst, New Hampshire. We attended an Independence Day parade famous for its political participants, flying a Foundation for New Hampshire Independence banner and handing out pro-independence literature. We personally handed secessionist pamphlets to presidential candidates Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush. Not because we felt they would ever support our cause, but because we felt they should know that this is still America; and some of us are still willing to honor her founding by dissolving the union and starting over.

Now I understand that not everyone is an activist. We have our peaceful lives, our careers, our familial responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean we must silence our voices. We can still speak publicly. Even sharing our beliefs in private conversation with friends and family keeps the issue going. If we keep alive the true cause of America, that of liberty at any cost, even secession, then that ever-present consideration remains as a backdrop to any political proposal. It puts a hard limit on the loss of our liberty: only as much as the people will tolerate before rising up. Without the concept of secession front and center in the national debate of ideas, that limit is nonexistent.

So party on. Drink up. Eat until you burst. Just keep the cause of secession alive. Without it, next time you might find yourself under federal noise ordinances, liquor restrictions, and sky-high food prices. Without your unspoken threat of resistance against tyranny, your next July 4th might be a lot more somber. And sober.