Independence Day, For Some

declaration-wide

In 1852, former slave and legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass was invited to give a speech at a 4th of July event to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Occupy the Winter of Our Discontent

tax fairness

David Swanson: Above all: stay! Continue to hold public space! Grow, and rotate people. No single person need stay forever. But the 99% of the 99% that cheers from the sidelines needs to get into the squares and parks.

MLK Would Oppose Today’s Wars

william loren katz

William Loren Katz: Would Dr. King have called for withdrawal from Vietnam and, had he lived, not called for a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan? Would he have failed to see parallels that are as obvious as they are frightening?

North Country Twit

michele bachmann

Tom Degan: Michele Bachmann maintains that the Founding Fathers ended slavery, huh? She is off by years. Four score and seven years, to be exact. She also pegged John Quincy Adams as one of “the very founders that wrote those documents.” He must have been quite the prodigy. When the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, 8 year old John Quincy Adams was one week shy of his ninth birthday!

The American Dream

american dream

Tom Degan: This, I believe, is one of the most important and educational films ever made. It explains in terms easy to understand (and with brilliant satirical insight) what has happened to this once-great nation, and why we all need to stand up and take it back.

Checks and Balances

Ron Wolff: Government is simply the institutionalization over time of the collective will of the people at any given moment, established with at least one essential objective in mind: the prevention of the inevitable chaos that would result in its absence.

A Grand Fourth

Ron Wolff: FDR spoke about “four essential freedoms” on January 6, 1941, naming 1) freedom of speech and expression; 2) freedom of every person to worship in his own way; 3) freedom from want; and 4) freedom from fear — which he explained was related to a reduction of armaments and the lack of physical aggression against any other country in the world.

‘Well, That Freedom Ain’t for Me’

Williamsburg

Berry Craig: The show featured a slave mother’s explanation of the Declaration of Independence to her young son. “…Freedom isn’t something that these men plan on giving us,” she said. “…All of this talk is about them getting their freedom, or more freedom because they’re already free….I told him, ‘Son, these are the same men that will beat Negroes nearly half to death…They call us, who God has created, their property…No, son, these men will not free you. And my son looked at me and said ‘Well, that freedom ain’t for me.’

Rediscovering Principles — But Which Ones?

Matthew Spalding

Ron Wolff: Appointed judges, intellectual and political elites, mainstream journalists, bureaucrats, and Europeans — the customary targets of conservatives — fall victim to his keyboard. He almost equates property rights to the means of pursuing happiness, totally ignoring reams of evidence to the contrary. (As we know from last week’s article, nobody expects a correlation any more between belief systems and evidence.)

In War, Winners Can Be Losers

WWI

Of course, a case can be made that it is better for a nation to win a war than to lose it. But perhaps it is time to learn from the world’s tragic, blood-stained history that there is a third alternative: using our intelligence and creativity to resolve conflicts without war.

Tips for Celebrating the Fourth

fireworks

First off, get a jump on your neighbors. Don’t wait till Saturday, when “independence” will be so day-before-yesterday. Today, rush down to your neighborhood fireworks stand, grab a small family pack, and wait till dusk. Then go out to your driveway and light up a few to celebrate the 233rd anniversary the Congressional resolution of […]

Independence Day Edition!

Felix G. Rohatyn

Evolutionary psychology teaches us that it may take as many as 1,000 generations for even an exceptionally beneficial genetic mutation to permeate an entire species. It is not surprising, then, that a mere ten generations after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American human nature has (apparently) changed negligibly, if at all. This point […]

The Consent of the Governed

one vote

“… to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men [and women], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” — Declaration of Independence “Your people, Mr. Jefferson, are a great beast.” So said Alexander Hamilton, the leader of America’s first conservative party, to the author of the Declaration of Independence and the […]

End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

soldiers

Shortly after Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he attempted to push the U.S. military to openly accept the reality that it had gays and lesbians in its ranks. Colin Powell, then Clinton’s top general, and Sam Nunn, the powerful Democratic Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, nixed the effort by arguing that coming […]