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Jul 04 2010

On Patriotism

It’s an interesting coincidence that exactly 50 years after The Declaration, Jefferson and Adams died within hours of each other.  Ironically Adam’s last words were- “Jefferson still survives.”  In fact Jefferson preceeded Adams which could have caused some embarrassment provided you believe in an afterlife and that Jefferson and Adams could have ended up in the same place.

Me?  Not so much.  People forget that our founders were revolutionaries and the establishment of The United States of America led to a string of more or less successful rebellions in Haiti, South America, and France.

It’s certainly not a historical leap of faith to call The Council of Europe and the Age of Metternich a reaction to a little fight we picked on the road between Lexington and Concord.

History is real, and not so very long ago.

These were people just like us.  Every bit as smart, twice as tough, and doing the best they could with the tools they had available.

Recently they’d been through 30 years of Civil War based on religious sectarianism and class warfare.  Fighting the French and Indians was kind of intermittent by comparison.

They were not rubes by any means though it’s a classic American gambit going back to Franklin at least to put a dead beaver on your head and pretend to be an idiot.  It makes the women want you.

My favorite Ben who is not a traitor was considered the head of the committee that composed The Declaration, but the principal Author was Thomas Jefferson whom we find recently to have made a last minute substitution of ‘citizen’ for ‘subject’ that I found reflective of his principles as a Founder.

Revolution is not all skittles and beer.

America had its Cincinattus and a Republic if we could keep it, but political feuding between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists was little short of open warfare in the election of 1800.  People were literally shot down like dogs.

Adams had to suffer Jefferson as a Vice-President (Mr. Heartbeat) and successor.  Two Term Jefferson left his office to James “Mr. Constitution” Madison and the rest, as they say, is history until AndrewKingfishJackson (but that’s a story for another day).

The democratic impulse and enlightenment values embodied in the work of our Founders, little things like the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the institutions of the Congress, Presidency, and Court have always been under attack by powerful elites who seek to influence outcomes in their favor.

The very least honor we owe these brave and principled patriots is to resist those efforts and defend justice and the rule of law to the best of our ability.

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