It’s the Fourth of July, and the day that the nation pauses to watch hot dog eating competitions and set many things on fire. It’s also the day for celebrating the birth of America, and patriotism abounds. But many people are wrapping themselves in the flag every day, in a way that has to have our nation’s founders cocking their eyebrows a bit. After all, when they fought for a free, independent country, was this what they were bargaining for?
Yes, according to many conservatives, who seem to think they have a direct line to the founding fathers. Despite the recognized historical religious ambivalence of most of the early founders, today’s politicians are obsessed with forcing the U.S. into a biblically based government that has never in actuality existed.
We’ve come a long way in the 238 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed. Some may even say we’ve gone too far. Former Senator and potential GOP presidential nominee Rick Santorum may believe so. In a recent television interview he opined that maybe it’s better to only allow some people to vote than give the right to everyone, harkening back to the days where only white, male property owners had the ability to decide on the direction of the country.
Rick Santorum needs to re-read and re-read the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence since this is 4th of July because he is beyond backwards. In fact, I encourage him to watch the 1972 musical movie, 1776. Here is an interesting quote concerning the anti-slavery clause in the Declaration of Independence and the response of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Art imitates life:
[on the anti-slavery clause]
John Adams: That little paper there deals with freedom for Americans!
Edward Rutledge: Oh, really. Mr. Adams is now calling our black slaves “Americans!” Are they, now?
John Adams: Yes, they are. They are people, and they are here. If there’s any other requirement, I haven’t heard it.
Edward Rutledge: They are here, yes, but they are not people sir, they are property.
Thomas Jefferson: No, sir they are people who are being treated as property! I tell you, the rights of human nature are deeply wounded by this infamous practice!
Edward Rutledge: Then see to your own wounds Mr. Jefferson, for you are a practitioner are you not?
Thomas Jefferson: I have already resolved to release my slaves.
Edward Rutledge: Oh. Then I’m sorry, for you’ve also resolved the ruination of your own personal economy.
John Adams: Economy. Always economy. There’s more to this than a filthy purse-string, Rutledge! It is an offense against man and God!
Hopkins: It’s a stinking business, Eddie, a stinking business!
Edward Rutledge: Is it really now, Mr. Hopkins? Then what’s that I smell floating down from the North? Could it be the aroma of hy-pocrisy? For who holds the other end of that filthy purse-string, Mr. Adams? Our northern brethren are feeling a bit tender toward our black slaves. They don’t keep slaves! Oh, no. But they are willing to be considerable carriers of slaves to others. They’re willin’! For the shillin’.
Oh, and here is an interesting quote from the movie about Congress by John Adams:
John Adams: I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress! For ten years, King George and his Parliament have gulled, cullied, and diddled these colonies with their illegal taxes! Stamp Acts, Townshend Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts! And when we dared stand up like men, they have stopped our trade, seized our ships, blockaded our ports, burned our towns, and spilled our BLOOD! And still, this Congress refuses to grant ANY of my proposals on independence, even so much as the courtesty of open debate! Good God, what in hell are you waiting for?
Sounds just like our current Congress: Won’t give the common courtesy of an open debate on issues that matters in the country.