Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th: Boom!

As I sit here at the computer clicking away, the sound of the fireworks being launched from the Marriot Waterway here in The Woodlands booms through the darkness, the rain and my windows. It's July 4th. I'm American. And, I'm proud.

The sound of our National Anthem which the PC crowd is jonesin' to change to something less violent, brings tears to my eyes. The sight of the Stars and Stripes flying proudly causes me to choke up. The rumble from the Fireworks, reminiscent of bombs bursting in air, reminds me what some very unselfish, visionary guys did against great odds to create this country. I am overcome with gratitude and humility.

I really don't think I could have crafted such a far-reaching, simple, pure and effective document as the Constitution--ever--even living under it's consequences for over 200 years now. Here is the preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I don't think I could have sacrificed potentially everything for an idea that had never been made real before. To not live under a King? To not live under a Pope? To not live under someone whose name has meant something for hundreds of years? To be governed....by me? Impossible. Here is what the impossibly beautiful Declaration of Independence says:

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.

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 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn 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.

Impossible! And yet, every day, Americans live with this impossibility. As much as some like to impugn G.W. by calling him King George, he is not King. His elected reign will end. Like it or not he represents a good chunk of America and like it or not, his time to preside will end in three years. For some it will be a relief. For others it will be a worry.

Worry is part of what the Founders counted on. The average citizen must care enough for his life to care who governs it. Apathy gets a citizen what it gets him. He can't really complain if he's not part of the process. Citizens in other countries cannot fathom writing to, yelling at, criticizing in writing and publicly their leaders. Even in some other democracies, this kind of thing would seem dangerous or, at the other extreme, a complete waste of time. Not here. Not in America.

In America we all count. The soldiers riding in trucks receiving heart-felt ovations from the parade watchers count. The kids in the marching band count. The local realtor counts. The praise and worship band from Stonebridge church counts (playing the Doobie Brothers, go figure). The classic car club members count. The people from the old folks home count. The WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Vets count. HEB and Woodforest Bank and Chick Filet workers all count. The Firemen count. The doctors and nurses and emergency workers at Memorial Herman count.

All these citizens and more made up the parade this morning. Tonight these same people sit in their trucks watching the festivities and remembering. How stinkin' lucky are we to be Americans? Forget the citizens of the world drivel. We're American citizens. We have what everyone wants. By chance or by choice, by luck or by desire, we live in the land of the free and home of the brave.

By God's grace, we are Americans. How great is that?


Here is what Linconln said about the forming of our country at the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

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