Happy Birthday America?
You know that awkward moment when you go to your wife’s, aunt Mabel’s, second cousin’s 96th birthday party? She is in a wheelchair, doesn’t really know who is in the room with her, and has to be fed and cleaned by others. Everyone remembers when she was a vibrant, smart, and loving person, not always nice, but always fair. She helped whenever she could. You don’t know whether to wish her “Happy Birthday with many more to come” or “God’s speed” to be in the presence of the Almighty, pain-free and without earthly shackles.
I felt that way this past week. How was I going to wish America a Happy Birthday when I wasn’t really sure if the America we all know and love would exist as that “shining city on the hill” next year or in years to come?
America’s birthday (4th of July), according to John Quincy Adams, and Christmas (birth of Christ) were intrinsically connected. He went on to imply that on the 4th the Founders simply took the precepts of Christ and incorporated those principles into civil government.
The Founders understood that for America to survive it had to have a solid code by which it functioned and existed. It had to have a moral compass and guide. But who’s? And what kind?
The French? No, that was a monarchy and tyranny. The Spanish? More of the same. The Brits? That’s what they were running away from. The Germans? Who?
They wanted freedom for man. None of these provided that. The ultimate power was in a King, a man. That’s not what they wanted. They wanted freedom for the citizenry to choose their leaders, their way of life, their religion, to start or not start a business, to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas or any other holiday! Complete freedom!
The America my grandparents came to live in, the one my mom came to live in, the one I saw those many immigrants that came to the Italian North End of Boston to work and start their own business in is no longer here. Now for clarity, many of the immigrants I have spoken with over the last year say America is still much better than where they came from, but that even they have seen freedoms erode since arriving.
We no longer have 3 branches of government. We have one. The chief and grand supreme dictator, Barrack Obama. His pen and his phone will do all the work. His “Capos” will carry out his commands and he will run America the way he sees fit. It won’t matter what his experts say. It won’t matter what history has seen. It won’t even matter if the facts and figures show him to be wrong. He will continue do it his way.
Great presidents before him understood how the Constitution worked and usually reached out to all parties. Reagan and Tip O’Neil worked together, Clinton and Gingrich did too, and they got things done. It was not uncommon for those presidents to call the speaker of the house and others over to discuss working through these issues with both sides giving and taking to come up with a solution.