“Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men,” John Adams wrote to Abigail after the passage of the Resolution “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent states…”
As Adams also wrote to Abigail, it was a great occasion, worthy of celebration through the ages.
It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It out to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of the Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
Last 4thof July, in a speech to commemorate that event, President Obama was unable to conceal the conflict between his political ideology and that of the Founders.
We celebrate the principles that are timeless tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American, he said. And on this day that is uniquely American we are reminded that our Declaration, our example, made us a beacon to the world.
The president’s awkward interjection of “men of wealth and property” betrayed his hostility toward a system that not only permits economic inequalities, but encourages them. The Declaration of Independence states: “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 among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
It does not say that government will determine how much of each its citizens will be permitted. In the new nation, all were to have equal rights under the law. There were to be no specific categories of rights dependent upon group identity. It took a terrible war to make good on that promise, but it was fulfilled.
This week, in the president’s press conference outlining his dispute with Republicans over raising the debt limit he elaborated on the divisive rhetoric of his 2010 July 4th speech. He exhorted Republicans to eliminate “tax breaks” for millionaires and billionaires and made it appear that health care for seniors, education and social security were contingent upon doing so. As Glenn Kessler in his Fact Checker column points out, the connection is bogus.
In brief, the speech was full of half-truths, exaggerations, and fabrications. As a cover for continuing the reckless spending of this administration it was ridiculously transparent. It was vintage Obama. Unfortunately, it was not vintage American.
Our “greatest question’ to decide is whether to reaffirm the principles that have bound us together as a nation since 1776, or allow our lives to be ordered according to the canons of what some call social justice.