The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. – Thomas Jefferson
Today, July 4, marks 237 years since our Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, a document full of radical notions, born out of oppression like all good pieces of writing. Between the beer, the food, and the fireworks today, steal a few minutes to read the poetic brilliance of its 1300 words: Declaration of Independence.
July 4 also marks 18 years since the four-man operation we call the Fridman family made their way across the Atlantic ocean. I don’t recollect signing any declarations, certainly no declarations of independence, but we did follow in the spirit of “the pursuit of happiness”.
Revolution is just a dramatic word for change. It emphasizes the fact that change is painful. But ultimately change is good, whether it’s the struggle of millions against the forces of tyranny, or the struggle of one to lose a couple pounds in order to look sexier in a bikini.
I’m almost done reading Unbroken. It’s a story of survival through Japanese POW camps during World War II. Even there, where the hope seems gone, rare glints of happiness can be found through small acts of defiance (often at the cost of severe punishment).
If you’re running as a tea party candidate, you’re most likely selling yourself as someone who values the constitution and by extension the historical foundation of our government. The problem with doing that is you actually have to learn some history. Here are some basic facts (off the top of my head) about the key documents that defined the founding of our great nation:
Declaration of Independence (1776) – Jefferson wrote it. It’s short and full of zingers like the “all men are created equal”. Of course, Jefferson owned over 100 slaves. He probably should have added “but some are more equal than others” to that opening line.
Federalist Papers (1787) – These are brilliant essays by three brilliant dudes: Madison ($5000 bill), Hamilton ($10), and someone else who doesn’t have his face on any currency and thus doesn’t matter. These 85 articles form a basis on which the Constitution can be interpreted. They also had a value at the time of convincing folks to ratify.
Constitution (1787-89) – A Twitter version of the Federalist papers that serves as the “supreme law” of the land. It starts with “We the People” and was used recently to remind us that corporations are people too. In other words, it’s a supremely powerful document that can be supremely misinterpreted to arrive at any conclusion whatsoever.
Bill of Rights (1791) – First ten amendments to the constitution. Many of these are taken for granted today as obvious and necessary truths of a just society, but are remarkably radical examples of moral soundness and idealism for the time.