Notes from around the Human Experience…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US: 88,026 days after America declared its independence from Britain, let’s take a look at how our Founding Fathers might regard the country the America they founded has turned into.
Leading Off: Let’s start with the media. Newspapers, pamphlets and town criers were important in America in 1776 – important enough that protecting them was put into the Bill of Rights a decade later – and the media is important today, though the Internet and TV have replaced pamphlets and town criers and newspapers, of course, are still hanging on mightily.
Extra, Extra Read All About It: And Washington, Franklin and Adams wouldn’t be particularly surprised at how partisan today’s media is. Newspapers throughout history have always had a partisan bias.
But they would be surprised at how today’s media is derelict in their responsibilities, having long ago decided that entertaining America was more important than informing and educating America. A splendid example of this is the phenomenon that is President Donald Trump.
We are of the opinion Trump never wanted to be president, that he got into the race in 2015 merely because he wanted to further utilize his only real talent: drawing attention to himself. A real media would have realized this, properly vetted Trump and would have had him out of the race within a few days, the same as it would’ve done to any childish billionaire that had declared for the GOP nomination.
Fly In The Ointment: Trump, however, meant clicks and ratings, so he was ushered right into the GOP primaries, the November ballot and then the White House. Trump was an embarrassment as a candidate and he has been and will continue to be an embarrassment as president.
War: It’s What’s For Dinner: On the surface, the Founding Fathers would not be particularly surprised that America spends an awful lot of time at war. The Founding Fathers, after all, spent no small amount of time fighting the Indians and, of course, had to defeat Britain in the Revolution.
But those wars were on our home turf. None of the wars we are fighting now are, and the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the amount of fighting we do in foreign lands, in countries that are not direct threats to us. They would be surprised, and discouraged, to see a chief executive unilaterally authorizing military action without the consent of the Congress.
Dry, Technical Matter: They would be surprised at other things, too, both good and bad. Told what they do, Benjamin Franklin would marvel at an airplane from the outside, climb aboard, go immediately to first class and order champagne before flirting with your wife or daughter or, as likely as not, both.
One Small Step: Thomas Jefferson would look dumbstruck at pictures taken on the surface of the moon and be glad the slavery he had been unwilling to do anything about is gone. All would fret over the excessive taxes and regulations our government imposes and would note that we certainly appear to be generally well fed as a country. They would not marvel over the differences between rich and poor because as generally wealthy, landowning white males, they were accustomed to this.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: What I think our Founding Fathers would really be surprised at is how easily Americans now accept what their government chooses to spoon feed them, how we continue to tolerate a government that is a partisan, fractured and bickering mess.
The Bottom Line: They wouldn’t understand this because when they deemed British shackles intolerable they went and did something about it and they would be disappointed to see today’s Americans not only accepting substandard government, but refusing to do anything about it on Election Day.
“ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL”: The Second Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence on this date in 1776, declaring the United States an independent nation, free of Great Britain. Despite the fact Congress had actually declared America independent two days earlier, Americans have always celebrated Independence Day on the Fourth of July.
Please Pass The Dry, Technical Matter: On June 11, the Congress had appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston to a committee to write a declaration of independence. Though the Committee of Five kept lousy records, it is plain everyone but Adams thought Adams should write the document, but fortunately for History Adams was able to convince everyone, including Jefferson, that Jefferson should write it.
Their work was presented to the Congress on June 28, with Jefferson dismayed at the amount of dissecting and rewrites his work was subjected to.
Close, But No Cigar: Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds comes within three outs of becoming the first major league pitcher to pitch two perfect games on this date in 1989. He settles for retiring the first 24 batters he faces when Philadelphia’s Dickie Thon leads off the ninth inning with a double. The Reds would still beat the Phillies 2-1.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: In 1988 Browning had thrown a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the only perfect game thrown against the team that would win that year’s World Series.
Some Places Have Interns For This: While no ML pitcher has thrown two perfect games, Ron Hassey has caught two and Jim Wolfe has been the plate umpire for two.
Thought For The Day: That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government… – The Declaration of Independence
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: General George Washington declined to accept a salary as commander of the Continental Army. He did, however, surprise Congress with how scrupulously he maintained his expense account, for which he was reimbursed.
Today’s Stumper: How many delegates to the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence? – Answer next time!