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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth

Happy Fourth of July to all. Football might be America's game, but that presumes the existence, and continuity, of these United States.

The Declaration that this day commemorates swiftly and elegantly set forth this country's promise. On its fiftieth anniversary, two signatories, Adams and Jefferson, died quietly in their homes, their lives forever exemplifying our country's both great and contradictory narrative. (See this recent NY Times "picture essay" of Jefferson.) The Declaration of course begins:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This luminous promise has not always been kept. That is one reason why I always think it best to, whenever we think on the Fourth and the great Declaration, consider Lincoln's words about this promise from the vantage point of "four score and seven years" later:

. . . . [O]ur fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

. . . . It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Happy Fourth.


BourbonCat said...

I suppose that makes this a wildly inappropriate time to post my all-time favorite comment left on this side (regarding an exhaustive post on pass rush and protection):

Merci pour la leçon !
je prends beaucoup de plaisir à lire vos articles , definitivement un des meillurs blog de foot americain sur le net !
Encore merci

Trader Kevin said...

Great post, though we'd prefer you follow our lead and refer to today by its proper name, Independence Day, instead of just calling it "the Fourth."

Eric said...

Is is "great and contradictory" because of the risks involved in breaking away from one country and forming your own, which the Confederacy did and was crushed, or because of the "all men created equal" bit?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if any of you guys are interested in history, but if you are check out A History of the American People by Paul Johnson (no, not *that* Paul Johnson, haha). Great book, and it doesn't bore you with names, dates, and facts. It's a fine interpretation of American history.

Go Blue 34 said...

Great post and thanks. We have been lulled into a near comatose condition and the general apathetic attitude that exists has put us into the current situation we are in. If we let the government (our non-representing representatives) take care of us, as most people would like, then we shouldn't be surprised with the liberty they take with our freedom and liberties