04
Jul

56 White Men…

U.S. Flags

U.S. Flags

Today marks the 238th anniversary of the start of a new country as declared by 56 white men. Not an exactly “equal before the law” kind of start for us Americans today. But, we had to start somewhere and so, the people who could do something about “taxation without representation” decided to speak for a scattered, unorganized mess of 13 small colonies. They were educated men, by-and-large, and knew there were little funds to sustain a ragtag group of farmers and merchants who wished to die trying to establish more freedom for themselves and their families.

Most of those 56 men died without their families by their sides. Most died penniless. Most lost their homes. And yet, despite all of the above inequities, that unlikely few established some pretty far-fetched ideas for their time that remain with us today.

Throughout our history the odds have been stacked against our success. We’re not a homogeneous group. We have a huge variety of “mutt-type” pedigrees from distant lands. We often bicker with each other loudly, to the point of destroying each other. We make a ton of huge mistakes. Our leaders are not exactly “Exhibit A” of moral leadership, often having to make very difficult decisions in very difficult times.

Who else would choose a slave owner to draft a declaration about freedom? Who else would pick a log-splitting wrestler to free slaves and end a vicious war? Who else would pick some guy in a wheelchair to lead a country out of great poverty and despair? Who else would consider that same wheelchair guy a great leader against a foe bent on annihilating 6,000,000 people merely because they weren’t “pure” enough? Who else would put a Massachusetts Irish Catholic in office to bring equality to African Americans? Who else would count on a former Hollywood star to lead the country out of sky-high inflation and unemployment and to help end Communism’s reign on 2 continents? Who else would elect an African American to office less than 50 years after crosses were burned in Mississippi?

Only the USA. We may not be at our best these days, but that’s exactly when you had better expect us to get our collective dander up and do something about it. Why? Because we believe in silly things like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that each of us is just as valuable as the person standing next to us, even if we don’t like that person very much. We believe that you don’t have to come from privilege to become a champion. We believe that hard work and creativity should be rewarded, not thwarted. We believe in sticking together to do the impossible when the chips are down.

That is what we have done. That is what we do. That is what will help us solve our current problems yet again. So today, as you’re eating that hot dog, savoring that watermelon, binge-eating on that corn on the cob and munching on your flag-decorated dessert…and as you’re oohing and aahing over those fireworks, smile at the person next to you. Smile at someone you don’t even know. And remind yourself that your fellow Americans have died for you…the ones who never knew you and the ones who did.

And one more thing, pull out those smart phones and mark your calendar for the first Tuesday in November and make a date with yourself to vote that day, no matter what. 56 white men will smile down at you for doing what they were not allowed to do 238 years ago today.

Monday’s Post: WOW Time!

You Might Also Like: The Tyrant; Post # 2; The Honest Truth and Yes, That’s RedundantThe Real Memorial Day; Eulogy for a Brother; and We’re Still Losing This War

This entry was posted on Friday, July 4th, 2014 at 10:50 am and is filed under Lessons Learned. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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