Once again we awaken on July 4th, Independence Day. On this day, 247 years ago, the founding states of our glorious union, after ratifying the Declaration of Independence, declared these 13 American colonies separated from the rule of Great Britain.
The Declaration starts:
“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, 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 this nation has endured for nearly 2.5 centuries should be considered a miracle, if such divine interventions are real. We always have dissent among the 13 colonies, some of which allowed slavery and others that did not. That was always the central point of all contention. The cries of “States rights!” began with the “peculiar institution” and really didn’t go much further because the states were allowed to set their own affairs, within the framework of the Articles of Confederation and then, in 1789, the Constitution of the United States.
The reality was — and still is to great extent within the framework of our current laws and the thinking of many in our nation — not all men are created equal. One sentence in the Declaration of Independence claims “that all men are created equal,” but then, in the U.S. Constitution the founders state that all men are not created equal and they “prove it” within the framework of the Constitution. And quite frankly, in spirit and in the hearts of many White people, Blacks — Africans — were not equal.
Article I, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution — the three-fifths clause: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” All other persons being slaves.
So here we are, 247 years later, still celebrating our independence from Great Britain and its King, without having fully rid ourselves of the great sin of slavery and its after effects of racism, bigotry and class division.
At this moment there are the millions who are following a charlatan, a proven liar, a man under indictment by two different criminal courts — with more surely to come — a man who was proven to be a sexual predator in a civil lawsuit, and is about to have it done once again.
These millions of followers believe the lie that somehow the election in 2020 was rigged! As ludicrous as the claim is, having been rejected by over 60 courts, and now having it proven that many of the liars knew the 2020 election was not rigged. Why would anyone rig just the presidential portion of a ballot and not rig the rest of it to give one party or another overwhelming superiority in numbers?
Logic isn’t their long suit.
- Just a short note: I have no desire to cut the MAGA Cult any slack just because it is Independence Day. They are collectively ignorant and a danger to democracy.
Part of their throngs are the millions who are White Christian Nationalists and would like nothing more than to rid the United States of everyone and anyone who does not look like them, pray like them or agree with them.
The politics of grievance.
So here we are, many of us, celebrating our nation’s birth, as flawed as we may be as a collective. If you can, say “Happy 4th of July!” If you can’t, that is understandable. For the millions who had the ancestral homes taken from them to the millions descended from people who once were property — and the millions of people that just look like descendants of slaves — and the millions of brown-skinned folks who are vilified for just wanting a piece of the American Dream, celebrate or don’t.
This is the United States of America and as such we are free to observe whatever national holidays that suit us, or to not celebrate any. Patriotism is not compulsory. We cannot be forced to wave a flag or salute, unless we are active members of the military or law enforcement.
Either way, enjoy the day.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.