Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.
Weighty words to consider on any day, let alone when the heat index is in the millions and you’re planted on a scorching sidewalk, one eye on the passing high school marching bands wilting before your eyes, the other on the frenzied kid next to you in case he tries to run out into the street again — this time in front of the Shriner Go Kart drill team — risking life and limb for that smooshed, orphan Tootsie Roll that didn’t quite make it to the curb.
You can almost feel your higher reasoning abilities melting away as you wonder: Couldn’t the Founding Fathers have chosen a more temperate season to unleash upon the world an entirely new form of government? One that asks as much of as it seeks to offer its citizens: heavy burdens and hefty rewards cloaked in a few, innocent sounding words?
I’m not saying they should have waited to split with England — there, the timing was important. But why rush the rest?
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them ... they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation” ... within a reasonable window of time, they could have added. A few months, maybe. Let’s say some time in October.
That month’s crisp, golden days are much more conducive to reflection upon the meaning of self-evident truths such as equality and certain unalienable rights, and the responsibilities they imply.
Unlike today, when the only reflection we’re likely to get is the sun’s blinding glare ricocheting off the hood of the Mustang convertible carrying a miserable-looking grand marshal; when the only right we likely care much about exercising is the right to bare our arms to the baking sun.
Oh, sure, we’ll take a few moments to be glad for our freedom, however we personally define it. We’ll stand for the flag and to honor the veterans broasting in uniform on the back of a flatbed truck. We’ll take a few moments to think of troops serving now. We might even feel lucky, or grateful. But united?
Kicking King George III to the curb was just the beginning. The first 230-odd years since the Declaration — just the beginning. When it comes to realizing the principles upon which this nation was founded, there’s so much more to do.
But boy, it’s hot. And I’ve got to get moving if I want a good spot for fireworks. I’ll think about all the rest later.
Maybe sometime in October.
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