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Fourth on the Fifth

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Hope everyone enjoyed the fruits of the labors of so many this Independence Day past. Celebrations ranging from huge fireworks displays to backyard barbeques with family and friends have become as integral to this uniquely American holiday as bacon is to eggs; as hot dogs are to a ball game; as futility is to Congress.

Your humble observer cannot celebrate a Fourth of July without thinking of those 56 independent yet collective thinkers who attached their names to one of the most important documents ever penned by humans. Their act of defiance to the most powerful nation on the face of the earth at that time defined the American spirit; a spirit forged by a burning desire to be free.

I wonder how that spirit is faring these days.

These 56 men understood there could be consequences for their actions. In a popular story, John Hancock (who signed in a large handwriting so King George could read it without spectacles) said that signing the Declaration meant that Congress must now “all hang together.”

“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately,” Benjamin Franklin replied.

The final draft of the Declaration of Independence was the result of days worth of editing the first draft of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, incidentally, thought the Congress had whittle away the best parts and wasn’t particularly happy with the outcome. But the world recognized the beauty of its simplicity, particularly the second paragraph:

“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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is the closing statement of the Declaration which so closely unites those 56 individuals with the subsequent generations of free Americans who should thank them for this legacy of freedom.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Forgive YHO for digressing, but an interesting fact: Two former American presidents died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died only hours apart on July 4, 1826. Another president, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831. Jefferson and Adams signed the Declaration.

Thank God the men who signed the Declaration had the support of individuals who were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to truly unite a free nation and toss of the yoke of tyranny.

Hopefully, we who they tasked with nurturing the country they loved will do so despite those who seem hell-bent on creating a stifling nanny state where freedom is too often defined by those who would take it away or seriously narrow its focus.

Where else but America

Is there any country which takes so many opportunities to display a legislative silliness while trying to protect us from ourselves? A couple of examples:

Washington governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill that alleges to end biased language in state documents. By biased, of course, that means any word that contains any reference to male genderism.

Washington’s legislators saw the danger in words like “fisherman” and “freshman” and “journeyman” and “penmanship” and moved swiftly to rectify. Now, in Washington state, you are approved to say “fisher” and “first-year student” and “journey-level” and “handwriting” rather than foul the air with sexist spews. No word from the babysitters on punishment for slippage of the tongue, but rest assured there will be some type and it could be in the form of 30 days in time-out.

Washington’s protectorates join 10 other states which have passed gender neutral legislation and nine others are considering doing so. We are not amazed so much as we are amused, especially at the language of some who support such nonsense.

“This is important in changing hearts and minds,” said Liz Watson, a spokesperson for the National Women’s Law Center.

You bet it is, Liz. And it’s important in changing cultures, even at the expense of guaranteed freedoms. All it takes is a very vocal minority, timid lawmakers and a public concerned with everything but that which is most important.

Our hired hands and those who exercise so much influence over them need to be watched closely. After all, the only thing at stake is personal liberty.

Pat Culverhouse is a journalist and political columnist who lives in Minden. You may contact him at paschal1946@yahoo.com.