Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Wisdom of the Founding Fathers

"And the rockets' red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there."

 Our country was founded on noble ideals put forth by slave-owning men who saw no reason to treat women as equals or people of color as anything but less than human. The history of our government's treatment of native peoples is appalling. Making a country seems to be as messy and unspeakable a process as making sausage -- you'd rather not see what goes into it.

We've improved, over the years. I don't think even the staunchest conservative who yammers on about the principles of the Founding Fathers would argue that slavery was a good idea or that women shouldn't have the vote.

Yes, we've come a long, long way -- but we're  not there yet. It will be interesting to see how this democracy thing works out -- maybe in another hundred years or so -- if we haven't blown up the planet or rendered it unlivable in some other way.

 Looking back, I find I've pretty well repeated last year's post -- down to the flower arrangement I make every 4th with hydrangeas for clouds and crocosmia and Queen Anne's Lace for firworks -- or rocket's red glare.

I dislike sounding so negative -- I love this country -- but I want it to be as fine as the most rabid patriots think it is.  And it won't get there by blinding ourselves to our shortcomings. 

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Catalyst said...

Vicki, you have it exactly right! In spite of it, I hope you have a glorious holiday!

Victoria said...

Great post, Vicki. Since I'm mostly (3/4) Native American, I have very ambivalent feelings about the 4th of July. Your post sums my feelings up perfectly.

I really like the flower arrangement. The Queen Anne's Lace really does suggest bursting fire works!

RNSANE said...

Right on, Vicki. We definitely have a lot to work on before we can be the country that is really the land of the free. Let's hope that, somehow, we get it all worked out, as you say, before we annihilate ourselves.

Lara said...

I cannot argue on anything you say because I'm not an American. but as basic principle you are so right - and this applies to most of the democracies nowadays. anyways, have a great 4th of July and let's hope for the better! greetings!

jennyfreckles said...

Sounds about right to me - the same goes here in Britain. We always need to be reaching forward - but that has to be done from sound foundations. I think we're a bit short on vision these days.
Have a lovely day Vicki.

Martin H. said...

So much of your closing paragraph could be applied to the UK. The days of empire really have GONE, and there are bigger issues facing us now, more than ever before.

Funny, I was just listening to George Harrison singing 'Run of the Mill':

Everyone has choice
When to and not to raise their voices
It's you that decides

Brian Miller said...

you nailed it far as we have come we have still further...some of the crazy things we bicker over these days just blows my mind...

Mr. Stupid said...

This was a great post, Vicki. You said it beautifully. Have a great holiday.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Beautifully said Vicki. Sometimes I wonder where this country (or the world for that matter) will be in a hundred years.

Happy 4th of July.

Beautiful flower arrangement by the way.

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, folks -- I wish I could write about picnics and band concerts and parades -- watermelon and fried chicken and fireworks -- and that's a lovely side of this country. Unfortunately, I do think about the other side.

Which isn't to say that I won't enjoy this holiday -- we'll be heading to the annual party held by friends of ours on the other side of the county. and we'll watch fireworks and say 'Ahhh...'

Star said...

and as one of the beefeaters at the Tower of London told us last year, 'all this history could still be yours, if...."
All children have to grow up and leave the family one day, I suppose!
Have a wonderful day Vicki.
Blessings, Star

NCmountainwoman said...

Well said! Enjoy the holiday weekend.

gayle said...

Well said! Have a great day!!

Friko said...

a post to make people think.
I have never yet heard the comparison of making a sausage and making a country. it is truly apt.

Happy 4th July, Vicki!

Reader Wil said...

Happy Fourth of July, Vicki! Great post. We all wonder what our country ought to be and what it is. The western countries are none of them perfect, but they are a lot better than most countries in the rest of the world where women, homosexuals and people of various religions are discriminated against.

Tammy said...

And because our forefathers were messy but had a vision and were willing to lay their lives on the line, we are able to sit here today and be proud of what we choose to be proud of and work towards those things that need improvement (which will be constant and always). In the 200 plus years we've existed as a country, we have constantly moved forward in our perceptions---slavery was outlawed, women vote and actually have rights, the long haul of trying to not only change the laws but the hearts to be more accepting and on and on. It has been a bloody path, but then all nations pretty much start that way, the question is how we end.
Happy Independence Day!

Deanna said...

We've come a long way and, yes, still have a long way to go. But we are a family, warts and all. Wonderful post.

Vicki Lane said...

Tammy is so right -- we have moved forward -- and I hope we continue to. And as Wil says, the same is true for many other countries. I'm very thankful for what we have. I can't imagine what it would be like to have been born into some countries, especially as a woman.

Kaye Barley said...

Perfectly said, Vicki.
and ooooooh - I do love the flower arrangement, you clever woman, you!

Elora said...

Great post, Vicki. Maybe we could begin by changing the national anthem from a celebration of war (Star Spangled Banner) to a celebration of America's beauty (America the Beautiful). I've always wondered what makes us so war-hungry here in this country...? In this day it would seem obvious that we don't solve any of the world's problems by traveling to other countries and killing their people. I believe it's time to take a good hard look at the military/industrial/ corporate complex and change the way we work with one another in the world.

Thanks much, Vicki!



Vicki -- You are not negative. We cannot to be pollyannas about our freedoms. As Thomas Jefferson said -- Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Very good post. -- barbara

Tipper said...

Well I was basically going to say what Tammy said-but she said it much better than I could have : )I'm glad to live in a country where there is hope for a better tomorrow and a true freedom for all!

Loved the flowers-I may copy that next year!

Vagabonde said...

I really enjoy this post. What you say is so true. This is such a beautiful country with wonderful people, but it could be even better. If we do not see the bad sides or do not want to acknowledge them, then how can we improve the country and make it an even better union?