Starting around one o’clock in the afternoon a continuous stream of young people, old people, civic organizations, antique cars, little dogs and their proud owners, war veterans, marching bands, fire trucks, amateur clowns, professional singers, political candidates, policemen, fancy floats, parade officials and just plain folks will assemble at City Hall, march a half mile down Main Street, turn left onto State for a short block, and then left again on Bay before disbanding, dispersing and scrambling home.
It doesn’t get dark enough here for fireworks until about ten P.M., but starting around supper time – perhaps even before – the towns people will begin to stake out claims on blanket sized parcels of shoreline real estate from which to eeeh and aaah as the Peonies, Girandolas, Beehives, Weeping Willows, Comets, Sky Rockets and Roman Candles light the sky over Little Traverse Bay.
It would be a grand thing to see Americans rejoice over their ancestors’ decision to part company with the British Empire, if indeed that is what we celebrate on the Fourth of July.
It would certainly be heart warming to hear school children recite passages from the Declaration of Independence or to hear talking heads on television remind us that our elected officials derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Thomas Jefferson quite properly wrote that long established Governments should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and all Experience shows that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.
That said, Jefferson and his 55 colleagues in the Second Continental Congress, detailed a 27 paragraph Bill of Particulars spelling out the serious, insufferable causes compelling them to declare that the thirteen American colonies were henceforth free and independent States.
Some of those complaints have a familiar ring to them, such as:
He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out of their Substance.
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.
Taxation without representation, legislative gridlock, abuse of the military, bureaucratic harassment, recognition of foreign laws; the litany is long and familiar in the twenty-first century.
The fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence appealed to ‘the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of their Intentions’ and mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
There are still a few patriots like that in our midst. In March of 2012, Van Barfoot died at the age of 92. He was the WWII hero who refused to take down his flag pole as ordered by the local Home Owners Association.
The American people rose up in support of Barfoot. Not all of them, of course, but enough to induce the HOA to back off.
Polly says I should wear red, white and blue tomorrow, and I surely will.
There are still a lot of Americans who are proud to be Americans in this small town. They were standing in the aisles at eleven o’clock Mass yesterday morning and they all stayed to sing “God Bless America” after the final blessing.
Somehow, I can’t give up on the notion that there are literally millions of true Patriots in these United States who believe that the evils of our day rival those of 1774; who are unwilling to burden their children and grandchildren with twenty trillions of debt; who have lost confidence in the quadrennial Presidential flirtation with “hope and change” and who are ready to address the fundamental, systemic barnacles that have attached to the Ship of State.
Are you with me?