Much to my chagrin, for the past — oh what, two weeks? — people have celebrated American independence with fireworks and much merriment. While I dig the feeling of celebrating American independence every day of the year, I can do without an entire summer of explosions. (Insert “Signed with with love, Cranky Old White Dude” here.)
Much has changed in the 242 years since we declared our independence Not to mention that it took years of pain, death, blood, guts and angst before independence was gained in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. On July 4, 1776 American merely announced to the world they were free and were prepared to back up our words with action.
By the time you read this column, Independence Day 2018 will have come and gone, so you will have time to actually read the words of independence.
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“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 . . .
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
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The rest, as the say, is history.
I am always amazed how far the world has come in those 242 years since our declaration.
I am amazed when I go to the grocery store and look at all those red, ripe, “Euro-Fresh” tomatoes. Shipped in from Europe “fresh.” Amazing. Think about it . . . a hundred years before the Revolution, it took the Pilgrims a little over two months to sail from Plymouth, England to America and now we can ship stuff across the 2,800 miles in a few hours.
Amazing to think that folks like the signers of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, Francis Lightfoot Lee and Benjamin Rush (no relations, I presume) et al, could only look up to the sky and guess about what was up there. We’ve been there with trips to the moon. The American space probes Voyagers 1 and 2, launched in 1977 are over 13 billion miles away from earth. We have libraries worth of information at our fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We can fly around the world in mere hours. Talk to anybody, anywhere instantaneously with a live video picture of whomever is talking. We can grow body parts from a single cell, for crying out loud.