A Few Minutes with the Mayor – July 2017
Independence Day is at hand. Congratulations and Happy Birthday America. It’s been quite a ride for 241 years. When the Continental Congress formalized the Declaration of Independence with the signature of John Hancock, they took a step so bold and daring and went where no others had gone before… achieving independence from a mother colony. Today, there are those who dismiss the Declaration’s author, Thomas Jefferson, as a southern plantation slave owner, but without him there is no such declaration and no American Revolution. His words, “All men are created equal,” resonates throughout the ages and strikes at the heart of every tyrannical form of government, and their proponents who believe they can rule without the consent of the people. Democracy does not consist of a ruling class of elites from Harvard University or Goldman Sachs telling us how to eat, how to behave, or how to live. To quote Lincoln, Democracy envisions “…government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
The Declaration was actually adopted by the delegates in Philadelphia on July 2nd. The next day, John Adams wrote a lengthy heartfelt message to his wife Abigail in which he said, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” (The capitalization is his.)
The next year (1777) marked the first such observance as Adams envisioned and was reported as such in the Virginia Gazette.
“Yesterday the 4th of July, being the Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, was celebrated in this city with demonstration of joy and festivity. About noon all the armed ships and gallies in the river were drawn up before the city, dressed in the gayest manner, with the colours of the United States and streamers displayed. At one o’clock, the yards being properly manned, they began the celebration of the day by a discharge of thirteen cannon from each of the ships, and one from each of the thirteen gallies, in honour of the Thirteen United States.”
Echoing John Adams, the article ends with, “Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age, till time shall be no more.”
It is of interest that Adams used the phrase “God Almighty” in his letter to Abigail. In a more famous quote, one from the Declaration itself, Jefferson wrote, “(all men)…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Political -isms such as Communism or Fascism by their very nature cannot recognize the rights of man from a “Creator. It is their governing authority that confers those rights. Even a politically paternalistic “ism” such as Socialism must by the very nature of its being be the final arbiter. There can be no “God Almighty” or “Creator.” The state is almighty, and it goes without saying, the state is not the people. It is almost always a group of self-perpetuating elites. Understanding this, we have much to celebrate on Independence Day.
We are a small City lacking in “Pomp and Parade, cannon or gallies.” Still, that is no reason to fail celebrating July 4th… and so we will. Everyone! Come join us on the lawn at City Hall where we can sojourn with fellow Americans in memory of that fateful occasion 241 years earlier. Our July 4 Picnic is from noon to 3:00pm. The City will provide hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and water. There will be chairs and tables for all. AND… as an added attraction we are hoping to present a couple of musical numbers from the Randall Theater.
Come out and meet your neighbors. John Adams would be proud of you.