Yawn. Another patriotic paean to the Fab Founding Fathers. Rah rah rah.
Cue the 76 trombones.
(One can't ever have enough trombones, can one, Dr. Mobley?)
In this still-great country, July 4 is about a great idea in the Declaration of Independence - its vision of liberty and freedom, equality and self-government. The Continental Congress gave Thomas Jefferson a difficult task: frame a vision of liberty and freedom that all could accept.
Most Americans believed passionately in liberty and freedom, but they understood those ideas in very different ways. Town-born New Englanders had an idea of ordered freedom and the rights of belonging. Virginia's cavaliers thought of hierarchiacal liberty as a form of rank. Gentlemen freeholders had much of it, servants little, and slaves nearly none.
Quakers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey believed in a reciprocal liberty of conscience in the spirit of the golden rule. African slaves thought of liberty as emancipation. Settlers in the Southern backcountry understood it as a sovereign individual's right to be free from taxes and government, and to settle things, and land, his own way. See Montgomery Gentry's entire discography for a modern take on this philosophy. See Fox News.
In 1776, Grandpa T.J. put pen to ink to paper and composed a vision so high-soaring as to allow these (and other) visions of freedom and liberty to fertilize, cross-pollinate, grow, and flourish. Eventually (see Civil War).
In 2011, there are some who feel that that high ceiling constructed back then is cracking, crumbling, like the high-arched cathedrals that dot our older inner-cities.
Talk on the street is that there may be riots thereon. See Damascus. See Athens. See Cairo. But why? Protesting what? Aren't we still the city on the hill? Didn't Churchill once famously re-tweet that democracy was clearly the least bad of all governing doctrines? Didn't America continually, seemingly, swat away fly after fly that emerged from the muck and mire of this totalitarian regime and that? And didn't we 'win'?
You're d*mn right we did. And on this historical 3-day long celebration of our fly-swatter, let us shoot as many fireworks and drink as many cold, frosty ones and cook as many pounds of flesh and fish and sing as many cheesy tunes as we want to.
As the Baptist Church marquis says, "Freedom Ain't Free. There's A Hefty Flippin' Fee." Well, let that freedom cash-register continue to ring!
And as my old man says, keep your crackers dry.
Brian K. Mitchell, an R.Ph., is the owner of Mitchell Pharmacy in Kennett. He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
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