No economics today — I want to talk about July Fourth. I know it is July 8, but I figure the first Independence Day was really only in Philadelphia and it took days/weeks/months at the speed of horseback and carriages, to spread the new Declaration of Independence among the colonies. So, there you go; someone probably learned what happened July Fourth on July 8.
If words can sing aspirations, dreams and hope, these might be some of the best: “When in the Course of human events, … 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.” What song do you hear? I wonder what people heard in 1776.
I think my mother’s favorite day was New Year’s Day. She and I would sit in our small kitchen watching the Rose Parade on a 15-inch, black-and-white, Zenith television.
“I bet the colors of the roses are wonderful. I wish we could go see them,” she said with a tone of hope.
Trying to cement commitment to the trip, I formed an empty paper milk carton into a bank to which we would make periodic contributions of pocket change.
No doubt, disciplined depositing and old fashion thrift would ultimately lead to our trip from the frozen tundra of Appleton, Wisconsin, to the warmth of the Pasadena parade route.
Mother was not done. “We will go to Disneyland too!” Then she upped the game.
“When we go to bed tonight let’s look upon a star, make a wish, and our dream will come true.” For those who are now remembering little Jiminy Cricket singing to Pinocchio, what would become the theme song of corporate Disney, she was invoking the magic of imagination where dreams and aspirations have their beginning.
When the colonists first heard that their Creator made everyone equal and had given them life, liberty and the right to be happy and that governments serve the governed, I wonder if they thought in words we hear today — what is this new normal? Were they now free to dream? Many probably came here to be free. But also to dream? I wonder if many looked to the sky and felt the hope of the heavens.
While these words probably finally reached the last colonist, they will never reach an end. We fought a war among ourselves over the word “all.” Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and the Emancipation Proclamation continued these words.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution started to address the word “men.” The words continued to spread with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which made our vision song truly be for “All People.” Yet it has not ended. These words continue today in many ways.
For the people of Hong Kong, the words are not just American words. They may very well be the words of the Creator of all.
We never got to Pasadena. Periodic audits of the milk carton showed that my contributions of loose change never really accumulated.
I was convinced that my sister was the culprit. I later learned that, in a pinch, my mother paid bills that would wait no longer.
Let us promise ourselves this July 8 among a virus, economic uncertainty, social discord, and the hate created by factions, that our Creator still makes us all equal with unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness for, of all the countries in the world, this one still remains the best in which to dream.
Happy July 8!