In the America every year on the Fourth of July we celebrate Independence Day.
According to my old Webster dictionary the word, independence, means "freedom from the influence, control, or determination of another or others."
In 1776 the newly formed United States of America declared their independence from the rule and control of England.
But, since the world has become increasingly connected by technological advances in recent years, we are certainly influenced by things that happen outside of our own borders even though the government and individual people of our nation are free to make choices without being controlled by other countries.
Influence isn't the same as control and influence can be a good thing.
We hope someday everyone on our planet will be allowed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But we don't have the right to force our values on others.
We disagree about lots of things, but if each of us lives with integrity, compassion, and the common sense to know we're not the most important person in the Universe I believe we can be a positive influence on others, who will influence still others. Influence can spread in a good way until the world becomes a better place.
It's a small world after all.