July 4, 2014, - 3:05 pm
Happy 238th Birthday, America! May there be hundreds more years to come. But will there be?
If you are reading this and are an American, I assume (and hope) that you love our great country, the United States of America, as much as I do. Those “evil, dead White males” did a pretty good job of founding it, didn’t they?
Great National Anthem Video Sung by Jewish Choir, “Kol Ish” . . .
Like many Americans, I am here because my grandparents–all of them immigrants who came here legally–had the good sense to come here and worked hard to make it. I am here because my maternal grandparents–Isaac and Adela Engel beat tremendous odds and survived the Holocaust and the Nazi camps, while most of their families did not. So, I am very lucky. I am here because my maternal grandparents–Irving and Marilyn Schlussel–were fortunate also to get here, even though most of their families were also wiped out by the Holocaust. My grandfather and grandmother came here before that, so they escaped it, but their relatives did not. Grandma Marilyn’s poor farmer family sent her here in the early 1900s to be raised by relatives who could not have children. But of her 11 siblings who remained in Poland, only one survived the Holocaust. So, again, I am tremendously lucky to be an American.
And if you are an American and reading this, I’m sure you are as proud as I am to be an American. I certainly hope so. This is the best country on Earth. Bar none. The entrepreneurial spirit, the liberties and freedoms that we have, the will to survive–those are the things that made and still make America great. They are the things that may save this country from the path on which it is now going. And we wouldn’t have any of those things if several “dead old White men” hadn’t spent time, effort, and blood over decades figuring this all out and having the bravery to declare independence from England. That didn’t just take courage, it took sacrifice.
Voices of Glory sing “G-d Bless America” . . .
Many good men died fighting the British for independence. And many good men spent countless hours, days, weeks, months away from family to craft the kind of government and Constitution we would have. We owe them all our posthumous thanks and respect, rather than the politically correct dissing that our society–now worshiping at the altar of multi-culturalism and anything goes–gives them. That’s–at least in my mind–the purpose of today and the reason we celebrate. Christians and Jews founded America. We were here every step of the way, even if my own grandparents and mother were born in Europe.
America was NOT founded and built by Islamic fundamentalists and La Raza cretins now invading our borders at the South. It wasn’t built by rap and hip-hop and Sheryl Sandberg leaning in. It wasn’t a Facebook thing or a tweet that created America. But, to hear it today, you’d think so. America’s young adults can name at least two Kardashians but many cannot name two “evil old White men” founders. And that’s a sad fact that has a lot to do with questions whether America will be around in another 238 years. Will it? I’m not sure. I hope so, but not with the way we are losing this country culturally.
Oh, and by the way, the men who founded this country, if they had kids, it was within a marriage . . . and after they got married. That and other traditional social values were part of this country’s founding and foundation. Today, the lack of those values and behaviors rip the country apart at the seams and fray the binding threads. America’s boys learned how to be good men from their fathers. Today, half of America’s boys never learn how to be men because they don’t have fathers in their lives and because there is an endless cycle of gender-based affirmative action for women and Mr. Mom-ing that teaches them to be slackers, stay-at-home dads, and losers.
When America was founded, we had culture. Today, America has only pop culture. Culture is a dusty thing of the past to be evaluated for auction on “Antiques Roadshow.” Orchestras are struggling to survive and dying, and Beyonce, with her G-string routine and former drug dealer/attempted murderer hubby, is the most influential entertainer.
And in those days, America had religion. Although many who first came to this land mass were escaping and seeking religious freedom, they did not seek freedom from religion and create a giant void to be filled by the Religion of ISIS and Iran. Although the majority of Americans are still Christians, fewer and fewer of them are. And fewer and fewer of them are followers of any religion. And more and more Americans are followers of Islam. See the correlation? And, yet, there was no Mohammed or Ahmed among the founders or financiers or fighters in America’s Revolution. And in the faux-democratic “revolutions” in the Muslim Mid-East, there has never ever been (nor will there ever be) a real Western-style democracy. That’s starkly at odds with Islam, the Islam that remains at war with us and has been since before America was founded. Pirates, anyone?
Those who came to America, back then, are not those who currently flock to our Southern border (and other borders) today and those who overstay and/or violate their visas. Our current “visitors” simply don’t value the freedoms the way our Founding Fathers did. They don’t care about the right to self-government or even know what that is. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are foreign concepts to them. Welfare and Obamaphones and a gargantuan social safety net is what they seek. That wasn’t America on July 4, 1776. Sadly, that is America July 4, 2014.
And, so, as I look at the biggest forces weighing in against America’s future survival: illegal immigration/de facto amnesty, the matriarchization of America and the chickification of its men, the anything-goes culture in which we are regressing to prehistoric behavior, the deviant pop culture and morbidly obese welfare state that makes all of these things possible, I think of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Independence Day speech in which he expressed such great optimism about our country’s future, saying “America’s greatest days lie ahead.” Do they? Or are we irreparably headed for the end of this country as we know it (we may already be there now)?
More of what Ronald Reagan said in 1981, his first Independence Day as President:
Back in 1776, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail that the anniversary of our independence should be observed with great fanfare: “. . . with pomp and parades . . . shows and games . . . and sports and guns and bells . . . with bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, and from this time forevermore.”
Well, Mr. Adams, rest assured that what you wanted is being done. Your traditions are now ours, and we guard them like national treasures. And you know why. When we unfurl our flags, strike up the bands, and light up the skies each July 4th, we celebrate the most exciting, ongoing adventure in human freedom the world has ever known.
It began in 1620 when a group of courageous families braved a mighty ocean to build a new future in a new world. They came not for material gain, but to secure liberty for their souls within a community bound by laws.
A century-and-a-half later, their descendants pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to found this Nation. Some would forfeit their fortunes and their lives, but none sacrificed honor.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that on that day of America’s birth, in the little hall in Philadelphia, debate raged for hours, but the issue remained in doubt. These were honorable men; still, to sign a Declaration of Independence seemed such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with cries of “treason” and “the headsman’s axe.”
Then, it is said, one unknown man rose to speak. He was neither young, nor strong in voice; yet, he spoke with such conviction that he mesmerized the hall. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment. Then, his voice failing, he said: “They may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope, to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever.” And sign they did.
What makes our revolution unique and so exciting, then, is that it changed the very concept of government. Here was a new nation telling the world that it was conceived in liberty; that all men are created equal with God-given rights, and that power ultimately resides in “We the people.”
We sometimes forget this great truth, and we never should, because putting people first has always been America’s secret weapon. It’s the way we’ve kept the spirit of our revolution alive — a spirit that drives us to dream and dare, and take great risks for a greater good. It’s the spirit of Fulton and Ford, the Wright brothers and Lindbergh, and of all our astronauts. It’s the spirit of Joe Louis, Babe Ruth, and a million others who may have been born poor, but who would not be denied their day in the Sun.
Well, I’m convinced that we’re getting that spirit back. The Nation is pulling together. We’re looking to the future with new hope and confidence — and we know we can make America great again by putting the destiny of this Nation back in the hands of the people. And why shouldn’t we? Because, after all, we are Americans.
As Dwight Eisenhower once said: “There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”
He was right. If we just stick together, and remain true to our ideals, we can be sure that America’s greatest days lie ahead.
Barack Obama wouldn’t–and couldn’t–deliver this speech and honestly have that sentiment today. He and the Presidents since Ronald Reagan left (with great help from Hollywood, the media, academia, and pop culture) have taken America so far down the wrong path, I’m not sure American faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens can cure it. I’m also not sure I buy that Americans have much of those characteristics anymore.
Ronald Reagan’s inspiring 1986 Fourth of July speech:
Since we celebrate America’s continued independence today, think of those who serve this country (and those who died doing so)–those who are serving overseas, especially those still stuck in Afghanistan and those now back in Iraq who should be brought home now. Without these members of America’s Armed Forces serving and ready to defend us and our freedoms at any moment, we wouldn’t be celebrating another American birthday, today. Think of them as you watch the fireworks and eat your hot dog (mustard only – NO ketchup!). (Today, they should be along the Southern border, not over there.)
Remember, below is what today is all about–these men were real men, sadly unequaled by far too many Americans today. Great men made America great, not the other way around. Now, we have mediocre and worse men, women, and transsexuals who make America mediocre and worse.
The Declaration of Independence
Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
John Trumbull’s Famous Painting of the Great Men Who Made America Great
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
These men disagreed on many things before they signed this and after. They had many long debates and many wanted to remain a province of the British and their king. That was the easy way out–to have a government encroaching on their lives that also paid for everything, every bit of bad behavior. But they finally realized that independence was the only way. Signing and declaring independence from Britain was not an easy thing. It was a daunting thing, especially in that time in a relatively new land with many unknowns and a lot of unconquered territory to the West. Yet, they showed the courage, the cojones–to do so. Their leadership and bravery, with the help of G-d, are the reasons why our country exists and is still here today, well more than two centuries later. Let’s never forget their sacrifices and protect our freedom tirelessly. And let’s try to emulate them a little more in a day and age when “sacrifice” is watching “Game of Thrones” on a DVR instead of when it airs. I wonder, today, if we would have the guts–the balls–to make this kind of sacrifice.
There are NO men or women in America’s leadership or elected office today who are anything like these men. None. Not even close.
Happy Birthday, America. I hope, G-d*-willing, better days are ahead for us and not behind us.
* I do not write out the full name of G-d, as this is against the Jewish religion and is considered using the name in vain.