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A Political or Apolitical 4th of July?


A Political or Apolitical 4th of July?

Wim Laven

With a long holiday weekend lined up for the 4th of July most people are probably worried about having enough food for the barbeque, or hoping that their get-togethers aren’t too political. Facebook will be littered with messages of freedom, and assorted dissents. I post a link to Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech "What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?" to mark the occasion most years. For many people this year will be different and it is important that we pay attention. The freedoms marked by the day are under attack. The Declaration of Independence declares:


I believe it was John Locke in England who coined the original phrase, "...Life, Liberty, and Property."

Thomas Jefferson perhaps thought that the guarantee of "property" was too much for the masses, so he amended it to "...the Pursuit of Happiness." Maybe the "Pursuit of Property" was even a bit too much for him to guarantee to us. the Masses.

Promises, promises.


Sorry, but this is an incoherent, albeit sweet, little piece of fluff. Be political on the 4th of July? What does that even mean? What is the author suggesting? Is he motivating us? To do what--feel patriotic about dissent? Nothing new here; nothing to see here.


Really? I thought it was great. The Lincoln Douglas debates are still a benchmark in public speaking. A scholarship program as well. I think he is asking the question what about this 4th of July? Is your response "nothing new here"?


I reacted badly to this piece and couldn't figure out how to delete the comment. Not the author's fault I didn't get it.


I think it means different things to different people. My family has been here since before the American Revolution. My grandmother had a little book about the tea in the Smithsonian from the Boston Tea Party. So it is all relative, I wish I had spelled Douglass correctly.

If you post something you want to change you have a small amount of time to edit your post, after that I don't think you can delete it. Look for the little pencil by the reply feature.


Skeezy, you could very well be correct, and I could be mistaken but I seem to recall "Happiness" was chosen as a higher (more noble) pursuit. I've also read somewhere, but can't track it down, that "Happiness" would be obtainable by women, where property was not.


Eds, was it really incoherent? I did try to get it out in a hurry, in time for the 4th.

I just wanted to sneak a bunny rabbit into the conversation, political discussion doesn't need to be scary. Sneaking some history of protest and some reminders that social advancement is currently under threat in the process.

But hey, if it doesn't resonate with you that's cool, you've got a much more progressive crowd than I'm used to. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.


Wim, Can we start over. It is a great article, I re-read it and learned a lot. Given a little more thought than some of us have at the moment. Thanks very much.


To hell with the historic disaster of the corporate nation-state. It's time for a Declaration of Interdependence with July 5th as Interdependence Day!


Yes, the rulers are getting quite impatient with those who are pouring sand in the gears of this well-oiled machine they've constructed. Trying to stuff an absolutely horrid, closed door designed $900 Billion tax cut; dressed up as a doctor and
disguised as healthcare reform, down the throats of the working poor is just one example of their hurry up offensive. And, it is truly offensive. The bosses' newest current pursuits, using the " majority of the check writing power " , have little in common with the real pursuit of the country's overall happiness. It is actually anathema to that common goal, the rulers know it and still they pester and persist.
Even the most fidgidy of NRA members, who see trouble behind every tree, need some rest from the incessant demands of the feeding and caring for this petulant Empire. Who to try to threaten and intimidate next, does at least take some pencil sketched and napkin written pre-preperation, after all.
With the festivities underway, music is usually in the background, setting the day's tempo. The article's title reminds me of the Lowell George song Apolitical Blues " which is the meanest blues of all ". To slow down and disrupt the rulers we cannot afford a case of these apolitical blues, right now. Maybe a little melancholy and nostalgia will have to do.
I enjoyed this little bunny, hope it doesn't get scared off by a few ongoing fireworks.


I took your comments to be complimentary the first go around. I'm thankful for anyone taking the time to read and comment.


The views of Fredrick Douglass really demonstrate the power of the truth. He is immersed in his time and searches his character for that truth. There is no way to read his words and not be changed by his example. To this day, where we are less concerned with truth and are satisfied with soundbites with no real discernible link to that truth. If you are curious you have to check that for yourself. It is no simple task. information has lost that connection as in Douglass's time and person. So. in all of this we find new touch stones we honor as truth and learn from our mistakes.

I think the times demand a directed speech. So for this Fourth of July maybe find some peace and celebrate it. I have some thinking to do.


"In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."

George Orwell