Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independence Day Thought

(The headache's not fading but what else am I gonna do to pass the time? Some of the commenters at Tam's are makin' it worse, in fact).

Just a reminder, one for which I may catch hell: The Declaration of Independence? It has no legal standing. While philosophically, emotionally, it is indeed one of this country's "founding documents, in actual fact it is nothing of the sort; the founding document is the Constitution (and it does not express quite the same sentiments; closest we get is found in the first ten amendments).

The Declaration of Independence didn't even start the Revolutionary War -- there was fighting aplenty going on before it was drafted.

Don't get me wrong. There's more there I agree with and approve of in the Declaration than can be found in the Constitution. But it's just the flashy ad for the cruise trip; the Constitution's the trip itself, dripping faucets and all.

Where am I going with all this? Just one place: on 4 July, we celebrate an idea, not a government. And not even a country: an idea. An idea that people did not merely debate in correspondence but one they fought, bled and died for.


og said...

Hope the headache goes away soon. Morons, I fear, are here to stay.

Caffeine is always my trouble. The more I try to stay away, the harder it drags me back. I get a headache if I don't have my morning quart. I don't know how long the withdrawal would last, but a week is too long, I don't have that much resolve.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

The idea is important. Human nature is such that we have to reimplant the idea every once in a while. Some skulls are too thick for reimplantation...these people become Democrats.

Getting over the headache is more important.

Ed Skinner said...

The Constitution is, in part, about resisting change. Each of the branches, executive, legislative and judicial, can veto changes attempted by the other two. This property of resistance is a fundamental feature of the Constitution.

Mr. Obama's efforts toward "Change" are counter to that property and, foreseeing the consequences of such rapid change, the founding fathers built the constitution to resist it.

In the short term, however, that resistance is also slow to respond. It'll take years to undo the damage. In the meantime, we have no choice but to try and ride out the waves as best we can.

Personally, I could use some Dramamine.

More at for those interested.

Mad Saint Jack said...

"The Declaration of Independence didn't even start the Revolutionary War."

Nope. Door to Door gun confiscation did.

Joseph said...

I agree with you, is a declaration, a statement. And I think the Revolution, officially or unofficially, had been going on since about 1774 (battlewise). However, as the statement it is, it is most elegant in it's phrasing that has not dimmed with time.

Mark said...

America itself, to my (admittedly addled and oft clouded) mode of thought is not so much a place as a mindset. It is a cluster of ideals - often eroded, often derided, often jacked for erroneous means - of self-reliance, self-determination, pride, honesty and honour.

It is a dream, a journey, a wonder - and it's not for the timid. It's harsh in it's Darwinism, red in tooth and claw, but the cradle of pleasures from the subtle to the obscene for those who will embrace it entire.

America is the dream that we can be what we make ourselves, will reap what we sow - plus what we can snag from the unwary - and in the end, we'll be accountable for the lives we lead - positive and negative - and otherwise be left the hell alone.

I like that dream. I can work towards it. What's best about America is that it does not claim to be a finished object. It is a work in progress, mutating and augmenting - and occasionally fragmenting and destabilising - under all our hands.

I am proud to be American. Even if I'm kind of ashamed of our government. Because part of being American is not having to own everything the government does. How cool is that?

Roberta X said...

Oh, well said!

TJP said...

Yeah, the Bill of (Partially Remaining) Rights. The anti-Federalists were prescient. The Federalists were naive.

BobG said...

"The Declaration of Independence didn't even start the Revolutionary War -- there was fighting aplenty going on before it was drafted."

Yep, the Declaration was basically just the official version of giving the finger to King George III.