…And I owe it all to Hurricane Arthur, who rained out the 4th of July for millions of east-coasters. (Thanks, dick, not like I had plans to drink cold beer while sailing around the bay in the sunshine or anything.) This resulted in a 4th of July movie marathon and one antsy blogger who got bored watching the John Adams miniseries and decided to commit to writing every day in July. Listen, cool damp breezes and the rhythm of pattering rain tend to engender writing and reverie, but, hopefully, tomorrow’s busier, more hedonistic teacher-on-summer-vacation doesn’t regret this decision! The theme is “decade,” which is nice, but I’m not quite ready to get into that idea just yet.
Right now I’m musing about the holiday. Truth is I’m a sucker for a righteous revolution. It’s just so damn romantic: a gaggle of idealists resolved to fight a power much bigger than themselves against the odds with the knowledge that many of those rallying for change will not survive to enjoy the fruits of battle. I’m especially hot for Thomas Jefferson, who was perhaps the most eloquent of the Founding Fathers with his
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Gah, yeah, that’s why he’s my boyfriend, Jefferson, you sexy beast with weird hair. Have you ever actually read The Declaration of Independence? I used to (attempt to) read it with my seventh graders as part of a historical fiction unit for a novel set during The American Revolution.This is my favorite sentence:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I love how beautiful and uncompromising it is as it proclaims, not that they’re seizing power from the ruling monarch, but that power is naturally bestowed upon the individual by God, and once a government fails to fulfill its duty of serving and protecting “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,” the people have a right to create a new one. Simple. Almost cavalier, yet exhilarating. And the willingness of the Founding Fathers to sacrifice their own lives for the liberty of posterity–gosh, that is the stuff of movies, like this scene from John Adams:
So amid the barbeque and fireworks enjoyed by those of you in most any other part of the country, I hope you take a minute today to think about principles and what it means to stand up for something that’s worth it. I feel like there’s a conspicuous lack of that in this age–everyone so overwhelmed with daily minutia and distracted by sugar-coated media and entertainment, too polite to make statements that might offend the delicate sensibilities of political correctness, subscribing to a growing idiocracy that collectively rolls its eyes at anything too serious and intellectual and cumbersome. We are the posterity those men argued and fought and died to protect, and that does warrant a split-second of gratitude and commitment to ideals.