Is there anything nicer than a good old
No, there isn't anything nicer. We're Americans. We drink beer, we roast meat and we party hearty.
Whether you're partial to old-fashioned meat candy ribs or the recipe I've finally perfected -- those delicious, lemony/garlicky
What is important is this. On the
The Declaration of Dependence.
And after the ribs, in the cool of the evening, with the little kids chasing lightning bugs in the backyard, your hosts might bring out some cold, sweet watermelon and a pot of rich, dark coffee.
You sit down on the deck with the moon overhead and tell your stories. A beloved wise man among you, perhaps the rib-master, might light a fine Maduro cigar and tell a great story.
The story of how we came to celebrate the Declaration of Dependence.
Years ago, there was another declaration, but most Americans have forgotten the ideas behind it. Perhaps that's because the old men who signed it have been discredited.
They were white European males, patriarchs and quite toxic in their masculinity. Some owned slaves, not all of them, but enough that all became suspect by association.
There are Americans who still read history and loathe the fact that slavery was prevalent and protected in America by law. But they know human beings as flawed creatures, complicated and conflicted and subject to the weight of the age in which they lived. And these Americans were wise to guard their facial expressions.
Wearing an improper expression on your face ("face crime"), or expressing an improper view became dangerous. Orwell warned of face crime but who reads Orwell anymore, anyway? And who reads
Many years after that first declaration, another writer determined that the rewriting of history is the first true battlefield. Remove the heritage of a people, and they are easily destroyed.
Who wants to talk of destruction with a bellyful of ribs? Nobody. And rather than argue and risk shaming, many Americans wisely kept their feelings to themselves.
That old fuddy-duddy declaration of long ago had been signed with quill pens and ink. How quaint. It wasn't anything like social media. They didn't use cartoon heads to hide their identities or use emojis to speak truth to power. They signed their real names shamelessly, recklessly.
They spoke of "liberty." Now our leaders speak of giving us "free stuff" as the national debt rises beyond imagining.
How do you catch wild pigs? With "free corn." I wrote about it years ago, how to use "free corn" and a fence to catch pigs. Throw out some corn. The wild pigs, wary at first, will eventually come running to gorge. Close the gate and they're yours. Their bacon is quite tasty.
For generations, the old declaration was taught in public schools, but the ideas about liberty and where our rights come from were quite challenging. Many were offended.
The old men who signed the declaration in 1776, with their three-cornered hats and powdered wigs, had become racist mannequins. They were two-dimensional cartoons, easily pushed to the margins of our history.
Their most radical belief was that certain rights did not come from government but instead were given to us by the "Creator." As defined, these "rights" couldn't be given or taken away by government.
It became unsettling. Happily, our universities created "safe spaces" so our children wouldn't be bothered by such notions. At the universities, the old men who signed the original declaration were pulled apart, deconstructed like broken toys.
Professors who dared challenge the students were shamed, shunned and driven out. Mobs of black clad freedom enforcers appeared, masked and armed with clubs, to protect the students from anyone who would spread subversive thoughts.
Eventually, the students graduated to work in government, the courts, media and politics. Naturally, they wanted every American to feel safe and secure. We evolved. And we fashioned, organically this time, a new common understanding.
The Declaration of Dependence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humans are endowed by government and government alone with certain "rights," to be offered or withdrawn upon the determination of the best and brightest among us.
Among these "rights" is the protection from the cradle to the grave. And the people are encouraged to use majority rule to take property away from those who have too damn much.
As our reliance on majority rule grows, and as power flows to the most populous states on the coasts, the sparsely populated states will be free from the ominous burden of self-governance.
And they will live happily, safe and secure, from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.
Not all of it has come to pass, yet. Please don't fret about the details. You've been so busy, focusing on celebrities and sports, movies and growing your followers on social media. So you haven't paid all that much attention, as if by design.
But that's OK. Really.
Just wipe the rib sauce from your mouths with those red, white and blue napkins. If you have any doubts, please make sure to guard your facial expressions. You don't want to be accused of a face crime with your belly full of ribs and corn on the cob.
And don't forget to enjoy the fireworks.
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