Monday, July 04, 2011

In the Course of Human Events

What are you celebrating today, on this the 4th day of July, 2011?

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? (Worth a firework or two, indeed.) Dissolving political bands? (I'm interpreting "bands" to refer to "ties," not a drum and fife corps or some anarchic 60's folk-rock group.) Holding truths to be self-evident? (Plain as the nose on your face, dummy.)

It's been a Shorty PJs tradition to ask - nay, beg - folks to spend a couple of their valuable Independence Day minutes reading The Declaration of Independence. Honestly, it's easy as all git-out to read. 'Way easier than the contract from your mobile phone service provider. (That little Tommy Jefferson sure had a way with words.) In fact, read the thing aloud. Amidst the hamburger-grilling and sparkler-lighting, gather the family and friends around for a Declaration-reading. You won't be disappointed.

It starts off with a bang: "When in the course of human events . . ." I love that phrase, the course of human events. He could have written something blah, like "Once in a while," or "Sometimes," or something angry, like "When a group of folks get pissed off enough . . ." But no. An all-encompassing "course of human events."

Then it moves on to those famous lines about all men being created equal (yeah, I know, it was just talking about some men, but it was a real good start) and the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not happiness. But the pursuit of it. Brilliant. Spend a minute thinking about what that means. Then. And now.

There's a section that says, in summary, we've tried to play by the rules, but the rules are unjust. We've been real nice about it (mostly) up to now. We've petitioned through the proper channels, but (and I am paraphrasing here, of course.) this crazy-ass king and his minions will have none of it. Then the document lists all the grievances. The grandfather of bullet-pointing. Again, brilliant.

And the thing ends with (again, paraphrasing) "We're outta here!" and "We know we are facing deep sh*t by signing this thing, but it is worth it to us, our families, and this new country." The 56 signers pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. And expected Divine Providence to see 'em through.

On this 4th of July, 2011, I say thank you, Signers, and wives and families of Signers, for risking everything to declare and fight for independence.

And I do believe all of that is worth parades, fireworks, hot dogs, and beer. Happy 4th to all!


Anonymous said...

Amen, big sis! Love you!

Joy Des Jardins said...

What a wonderful post Mary...Amen is right!