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independence day

A Second American Civil War for Independence Day

by Eric Ferguson on July 3, 2018 · 1 comment

Artist's conception. Not actually an Alex Jones listener

Artist’s conception. Not actually an Alex Jones listener

I first heard verbally that the nutcase right had a new conspiracy theory that liberals are going to start a civil war on July 4th, which as I write this, is tomorrow. Damn, I haven’t even dug out my musket and bayonet yet! Anyway, I found the source, the source of so many tinfoil hat conservative conspiracy theories, Alex Jones (hat tip Johnny Wendell at Daily Kos).

Sane people know not to believe any of the craziness Alex Jones spews, but many trumpers believe him, including the Russian President of the United States, Trump. I don’t know what is more disturbing, that Trump and other bigoted lunatics believe him no matter how many times he’s proven to be making it up, or that some of them seem to want a new civil war. There’s an element of the extreme right that doesn’t want to start it, not because they don’t want it, but rather because everyone is the hero in his own story, which means they want us to start it. Mocking them is much more fun and much less deadly, so no. Hey guys, how are we going to start a war when you have all the guns? Could you share? Just to make the odds more even?

Of course, the Confederacy did get impatient waiting for the Union to invade and just went ahead and started the first civil war, so maybe best not to encourage them.


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An old Independence Day tradition

by Eric Ferguson on July 4, 2015 · 0 comments

Happy Independence Day. When the Revolutionary War was still in living memory, a common part of community Independence Day celebrations was reading aloud the Declaration of Independence. NPR revived that tradition back in 1995, having hosts take turns reading a portion. It feels different verbalized that just read. Here it is:
Transcript here.
And an article about the text, explaining how it was written with the assumption it would be read aloud.


A bit of patriotism and a bit of fun

by Eric Ferguson on July 5, 2012 · 0 comments

Earlier today, Big E posted the text of the Declaration of Independence. It was common in the early days of the republic for Independence Day celebrations to include a reading of the Declaration, perhaps reflecting a time when many more people were illiterate, and when oratory was an admired skill rather than one of those signals of liberal elite untrustworthiness. NPR has an annual tradition of having their staff read it during Morning Edition, and here is this year’s. Or here is this year’s:

That’s the patriotism, and now here’s the fun: one of dumber right wing lies disintegrating quickly, not that being shown blatantly false is likely to stop them from repeating it. Guess where Obama spent Independence Day?
Would you believe he spent it in France attending a fundraiser? You wouldn’t? Good for you, but the conservative media believed it, or at least got a kick out of passing it on.

Obama had to be somewhere though, right? Right: in America, presiding over a naturalization ceremony for active duty military personnel.

Here’s Ezra Klein reporting on the decision of conservative media to report but not check, in which Klein shows his sources, and below is the actual ceremony in case anyone holds out hope Klein was lying.

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Red, White and Blues

by BlueCollar Daughter on July 4, 2010 · 0 comments

America is much more than a geographical fact. it is a political and moral fact – the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.
~ Adlai Stevenson

The Center for Economic and Policy Research  
just released a report entitled The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs . This economic study reveals that the current unemployment rate, when adjusted for an aging population, is the worst is has been since the Great Depression.

I don’t mean to harsh your Independence Day happy, I really don’t.  Let’s admit it, though.  For most of us who are dedicated to social justice, there is no easy way to celebrate when others are suffering, but we do it every day.  It’s human, it’s normal, for sanity’s sake it has to be done.  Like most Americans, I love my country and have an enormous gratitude for the fact I’ve had the good fortune to be born in the United States, and in a century of considerable progress.  That I can think what I am inclined to think, worship my God openly and unfettered, and say what I feel needs saying, is truly a gift passed down from those who formed and continue to forge our Union.  I can do this all without fear of much more than the verbal harpoons from those who think, believe and feel differently than I do, and of course, we are all familiar with “sticks and stones…”  Trolls and Republicans and miscellaneous haters shall never hurt me (not physically, anyway).

But despite the cheerful anticipation of brats, beer, baseball, boat rides , community and presidential words of hopefulness that are iconic of our nation’s most patriotic holiday, all week there has been a nagging, nameless underlying sad for me.  Maybe for you too.  Beneath the current of excitement over time with friends and family, over the anticipation of seeing my little lads ooh and ahh at pyrotechnics and bask in the splendor of a beautiful MN summer, there have been the thoughts:  How heavy were American hearts on this day during the Great Depression?  How heavy are the hearts of the hungry, homeless, uninsured, sick, scared and the jobless now? Where does the history of a violently-won and preserved independence fit into my belief in Christ-commanded practice of non-violence? How do I express my joy in being American without denying the pain we are in as a nation today?

All over the country, these matters have been discussed this week with sincerity and candor-and, yes, humor.  If you’re feeling the Red White and Blues too, here is some suggested reading:
Groans From Within : Unpopular Annual Post: “Why Christianity and the ‘4th’ are Incompatible” OR “Why this is NOT a day to celebrate” OR “Why my friends wont like me for the next week or so”

Crooks and Liars : It’s The Worst Period of Unemployment Since The Great Depression

Religion Dispatches: Are Conservatives Really More in Touch with the Founding Fathers?

O Me of Little Faith: Freedom, the 4th, and Faith

MPR News Cut : What the Founding Fathers Knew

The Onion Americans Could Use Some Cheering Up

Muppets Sing Stars and Stripes Forever

New York Times Bloggingheads: Down with Patriotism?

Huff Post/ Gary Hart: War, the Fourth and Struggling Americans

I don’t profess to have answers for anyone to these seemingly enigmatical questions-I am only at the beginning what I am sure will be a lifetime of chasing the answers for myself.  I do know that engaged American citizenship is a demanding and thorny undertaking, and one all of us have always done well.