This Friday, July 4, 2014 marks the 238th anniversary of the issuance of the Declaration of Independence, even though it was approved by the Continental Congress two days earlier. A committee of five were given charge to compose the document but John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were given charge to pen a draft. Adams, who considered himself radical enough to draw suspicion among the moderates turned the job over to Jefferson who he considered ten times the writer as he. Adams believed that it would be July 2nd that would be celebrated for centuries to come but it didn’t turn out that way. The actual signing ceremony would not occur until August 2, 1776.
It is believed that the document now on display in the National Archives is actually a facsimile made by pressing a thin wet sheet of paper against the original document with all of the signatures forged so that one can not tell the difference between the copy and the original, if there is actually still the original at all.
One of the most memorable passages that is remembered was Jefferson’s words about the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” but the congress was more interested in listing the grievances against the behavior of King George III, later to be known as the “Mad King George” and recent examinations of his private papers lead to the conclusion that he was indeed mentally disturbed, a fact that is often forgotten in American History books.
I no longer fly the American flag anymore in front of my house. I think the last time I did was in the weeks following the tragedy of 9-11-2001. Although the playing and singing of the National Anthem still brings tears to my eyes, the words of the song which say “the land of the free and the home of the brave” no longer carry the same meaning they once did. I can’t consider us a free nation because there are so many rules and regulations that actually restrict our freedom to be responsible citizens because they presume that we as a citizenry are not capable of governing ourselves. Furthermore, the US has more incarcerated criminals per capita than anywhere else in the free world with a disproportionate number being persons of color.
As to the “home of the brave”, that’s a laugh! If this were “the home of the brave”, why have we let our government use any excuse in the name of “Homeland Security” to trample further on our rights to privacy, especially where our bodies are concerned. Even the name “Department of Homeland Security” conjures up for me the initials “KGB” the acronym for the now defunct “Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti,” which translates to “Committee for State Security.”
I consider Edward Snowden a real national hero for having blown the whistle on the NSA, the National Security Administration, the organ of our government which has been collecting data on everyone for who knows how long and not even passing on the information to the CIA or the FBI. The NSA knew full well before the attack by terrorists on 9-11-2001 but failed to pass this information to the agencies of government that are charged with the responsibility for protecting our interests both at home and abroad. His picture graces the recent cover of “STAND” the signature magazine of the American Civil Liberties Union, the passionate guardians of individual rights and liberties and of which I am a proud card carrying member.
One more factoid and then I’m done. It has been estimated by the United Nations that it would take about $30 Billion per year to bring about the end of world hunger through food production initiatives with organic technologies we now have available not including Monsanto’s GMOs which they claim can help feed the world. Compare that to the average cost of one week of military spending by the US in 2012 which was $14 Billion. You can do the math!
I plan to have fun on the 4th, but not for anything that has to do with patriotism, even though I consider myself a patriot by standing up for my right to think for myself, and not be one who simply flows in the direction that the wind blows for the sake of being accepted by my peers.
A Happy and Safe 4th of July.
Deanna Joy Hallmark