Monday, July 4, 2011

Meditations on the meaning of the Fourth of July

It is one of the amazing facts of American history that while the 50th anniversary of the country was being observed, two of its main architects were taking their last breath. It is as if President Thomas Jefferson and President John Adams had come to the same conclusion (as they came to their own conclusions): that what Jefferson referred to as "the great experiment" had taken root and it was time for a new generation to assume guardianship.
It is a day to reflect on 235 years of history. As America shook off the tyranny of King George, the blueprint for what we consider to be the greatest country in the world was being sketched out. As the industrial north and the agrarian south slid to an inevitable collision that would cost $6 million and 620,000 lives, the work of Jefferson and Adams, et al., stood up to the challenge.
We've accomplished so much. We are a better people, and a better country, when, as President Clinton so eloquently said, "we use the power of our example rather than the example of our power." Today, Governor Rick Perry of Texas and half-term moron Sarah Palin have broached the topic of secession, Perry directly and Palin by telling the pro-secessionist Alaska Independence Party Convention audience, "keep up the good work!"
We survived Nixon's dirty tricks and inevitable resignation, Reagan's bullying and Shrub's absolute ignorance of, and disdain for, the Constitution. And we're still standing. The economy is still incapable of being fixed in the short term, the Republicans still lie to the poor and uneducated while secretly giving assurances to the rich that "we got your back." And we'll survive this. We always do, as long as we keep our eye on the ball, hold people in power accountable and remind our elected officials that they're working for us and not Wall Street or Big Oil or Big Pharma.

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