Monday, July 4, 2022

#186 / Celebrating The Fourth


I have been making daily blog postings for over twelve years, and in almost every case my blog postings are stimulated by some article or book I've read, or some movie I have seen, or some song that has come into my mind, or some conversation I have had, or some email or letter I have received - or, as in the case of this blog posting, because the day itself has some special collective or personal significance that calls forth my comment. 
My "Last Day (Songs Included)" blog posting, from December 31, 2021, is an example of such a blog posting. So is what I am writing today. The Fourth of July has always been of special significance for me. 

I was an American history major in college, with a special focus on the American Revolution. My favorite book, by Hannah Arendt (though I love them all), is On Revolution, which compares the American Revolution to the French Revolution, and to the Russian Revolution, with the American Revolution coming out "on top." One of my favorite activities, during the early part of my twenty years in office as a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, was making an annual Fourth of July speech at the celebration sponsored by the City of Santa Cruz, and held in Harvey West Park. I was truly sorry when the City stopped arranging for those annual Independence Day gatherings.

I celebrate the Fourth of July as an unabashed American patriot. I do believe that the United States of America has a message for all people, everywhere, and it is a message about self-government. That message is most of all a message to ourselves, to which we must never forget to pay heed.

Though we have failed in much, those who declared a new nation, in 1776, should be honored and celebrated for having bestowed upon us what has been our nation's birthright commandment:

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.
That we must make an enduring commitment to self-government, involving every one of us in the enterprise, is our birthright commandment. It is a "commandment," not a suggestion. To respond to that commandment I dedicate whatever time and talents I still have left, whatever energies I am still able to deploy. So must we all.

Self-government is always in peril - it was only an idea in 1776, and it is still a "good idea" today. Whatever perils confront us, our birthright commandment is still our obligation and our highest calling. 

I celebrate, today - and you should do the same - not "accomplishment" but "ambition." It must be our ambition, always, to accomplish what we promised to the world would be our cause. 

Never a greater cause, this side of Heaven. The Founders still call to us. Let us hear them, again, today. 

Come celebrate the Fourth! Remember, with Lincoln, the task to which we have promised our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor: 

That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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