“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Short one tonight. I have to mind the ramparts and keep my place from going up in flames, because of my moron neighbors setting of fireworks.
The Declaration of Independence was a brave and noble thing. Most of the words of this epic document came from the hand of the estimable Thomas Jefferson. Just to set the record straight, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually written until after July 19, 1776. Congress voted on July 2 of that year to declare independence from Great Britain.The wording of the document was approved on July 4, hence our national holiday. The Declaration of Independence that you and I have seen in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. was actually signed by the attending Congressional delegates on August 2.
But July 4 is when, as a nation emancipated from British rule, we celebrate by blowing shit up.
I grew up in and do most of my business in Oregon, but I currently live in Washington state, across the river from Portland in Vancouver, Washington. Our state is more popularly known as the home of the Seattle Supersonics–oh wait, that was before Thursday, when they packed up the moving van and headed for Oklahoma City. In any case, we’ve still got Microsoft. And we also have far more dangerous fireworks for sale than are available in sensitive, tree-hugging Oregon.
I laid down some coin with my former wife a few years ago and these things are damned expensive. I don’t know how my neighbors manage it in the current economy. Especially since many of my neighbors are recently released from prison and have methamphetamine habits. They started last Friday night, and it’s been an every-evening event since then. They can do it tomorrow night but they have to stop before July 6, in accordance with the recently-amended law. It’s still a lot of goddamned money though. Every Army-grade munition that goes off is costing them $4 or $5 a pop, and they’ve been doing it for days. As one smart young man I work with noted when I told him of the rampant fireworks and the proliferation of smokable narcotics in my neighborhood said, “That’s bad Meth Math.” Word.
It’s more than a little amusing how we’ve gotten from the heroics of the Continental Congress to barbecueing hot dogs, drinking beer from cans and getting in fist fights with our neighbors, and setting off explosives.
If this is the way we bare our testicles to the world, then so be it. It just seems very far removed from the Boston Tea Party.
SOILING THE POOL: One of the great American stories is that of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dying within hours of one another on July 4, 1826–50 years after the signing of the declaration of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, had actually died in Monticello earlier that morning. Adams stirred and awoke long enough to whisper his last words, “Thomas Jefferson survives”, and himself passed away that 4th of July evening. Jefferson’s last words had been, “Is it the Fourth? I resign my spirit to God, my daughter, and my country.” Abraham Lincoln’s first Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, also passed away on July 4th, in 1891. Jesse Helms voted against the Martin Luther King Holiday resolution on his grounds that the Reverend King was a Communist sympathizer. His entire record considered, he really wasn’t a nice man. Hannibal Hamlin wasn’t a cretin, but he has a better place among the deceased of July 4th than Jesse Helms.