Sunday, July 4, 2010

184 / Fourth Of July

Read this in the original at

The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. And not just because of the fireworks. I really like the Declaration of Independence, and the notion of government upon which it is based:

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....

Often, when reading the Declaration of Independence, attention is focused on that stirring language about "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." The part about "Governments" is just forgotten. Yet, according to this foundation document of American democracy, "Governments" are instituted specifically to secure "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

This tells me that these essential components of a life worth living can be achieved only by "community" action, not by what we do "individually."

A novel that expresses (I think with great poignancy) how the Fourth of July used to be a truly "community" holiday in these United States is Raintree County. You could look it up! You could buy it at Bookshop!

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