Happy Independence Day
July 3, 2020
Yes, my friends, we Americans have still got it. We haven’t let go of that thirst for a just world and the readiness to roll up our sleeves to make it happen. Recently, I found myself battling back against the you-can’t-be-too-careful-nowadays folks by repeating my old quip: the reason we colonials won the American Revolution is that the founding fathers forgot to assign anyone to risk assessment. Sometimes, we get so roiled up against things that we all know are so unjust, so hurtful, that we say the hell with the tear gas and nightsticks. Damn the cost, even if there is virtually no hope of success.
We are not a resigned people. We are the immigrants and heirs of immigrants who left the not-so-good land for a better life in the USA, and we intend, by God, to make it better. So we stand up and protest, and we march on.
– No. Systemic brutality against any group or individual is not the law enforcement I want in my country. And I won’t tolerate it.
– No, the government cannot dictate my personal movements, even during a pandemic. They may guide and advise, but I still have the freedom to choose.
– No. We will not sacrifice justice for all in the interests of profit for a few. Not in my democracy.
And so here go Americans making our stand today: taking to the streets, forming organizations, proclaiming justice in all media, battling in the courts and the ballot box, still showing that thirst for the more just world, as we believe it to be. Tom, Ben, George and all our founders would be proud, though probably not surprised.
Yet, in our fervor, may we take one little lesson from history. After the British had been battled back, and the United States democratic experiment was established, our nation’s founders refused to hold the hateful grudge against our former enemies. We witnessed the European vilification and enmity that turned one nation’s people permanently against another, invariably leading to more conflict, and said, “That’s not for us – the U.S.” Oh, yes, we would not be pushed around, as Andy Jackson demonstrated so masterfully against the redcoats in the war of 1812. But we kept England and all nations as trading partners, and nixed the bigotry of cold wars. And it is my hope that we today, as heirs to that revolutionary spirit, continue to battle the evil, without marking out all of one group as inherent evildoers. To vilify all police officers, white males, government officials, or any group turns us into the very bigots whom we so deplore. And frankly, my friend, that kind of futile hate and negative rallying point will not give us that more just, less hurtful nation we are striving to build.
So have a happy Independence Day and accept my thanks, America, for carrying the revolutionary spirit onward.
Wishing you every success,
– Bart Jackson
Guest: Laura Doherty