Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4, 2009

             "We hold these truths to be self-evident," the Second Continental Congress voted a couple of centuries ago, "that all Men are create equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...."      Did we get there?  Well, kind of, sort of, partly.  We would mostly agree now that it should have read "people" not "men."  We would argue about how far equality for women has actually come.     

Liberty?  We've done pretty well here at home, though no one would argue that poor people have as easy a path to it as rich ones.  Abroad?  Well, you had to beat Hitler, and we did.  But why did we decide to replace France as a colonial power in Vietnam?  Damned if I know.  Why did we invade Iraq?  Same answer. Vietnam turned out pretty well;  we speak to one another now.  Iraq remains a killing ground and there is no evidence we can stop that.     

And just this week there have been stories about a bigger US involvement on the ground in Afghanistan. Hunh?  What on earth for?  Why not let the Afghans mess up their own lives.     

So, with mixed results, the search for those unalienable rights goes on.  To paraphrase some old comedian - or was it George Herbert Walker Bush:  "Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nobody was right."    
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