Sunday, July 4, 2010

INDEPENDENCE DAY ~ By Matthew S. Magda of Harbinger*33

Lovely Ladies and Genuine Gents ~
THE PRINTS AND THE POPPER shall return AT THE BIJOU next Sunday in its regular matinee time slot, but now . . . quite fittingly . . . this star'spangled patriotic message from an historian of the world many of us are fortunate to keep on knowing the more ~

~ By Matthew S. Magda

        It is sobering to know that a recent poll revealed that 26% of Americans did not know from whom their country had declared its independence.  That’s right -- more than a quarter of the adult population did not know that the United States had declared its independence from Great Britain.  Most identified the wrong country and some simply did not have any idea. 
More disturbing, however, is that most people in another poll could not identify the founding principles of this country as stated in the Declaration of Independence.  Even worse was that many rejected those principles when stated to them.  This does not harbinger well for the future of the United States.  Truly, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison would be saddened by this knowledge. They surely would have believed that Americans would have come to understand the importance of their “revolution” and their rejection of rule by a monarch. 
Abraham Lincoln understood that this country was founded on a world transforming concept, that “all men are created equal.” That all are entitled to have their “natural rights” of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness protected.  That a government was only legitimate if it received its authority from the consent of the governed.  That the fundamental test of the Civil War was whether a nation dedicated to the fulfillment of these principles could survive.  Fortunately for this country, Lincoln led us through a terrible time of peril for our republic.  In his Gettysburg Address he rededicated this country to its founding principles as stated in the Declaration of Independence.  

On this July 4th, let us remember and memorialize the courageous individuals who fought for American independence.  Let us also realize that it is ideas that are the most powerful things on earth, and, thus, let each of us rededicate ourselves to the fulfillment of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.  
(c) 2010 ~ Author Matthew S. Magda 
Visualizations: SilkyRed1, GWBurke, Boobooetmoi

 MATT MAGDA is scholar, teacher, writer, historian and in his own sense of self, 'global citizen'. In his day, he's held the post of Deputy Chief of History in the Historical and Museum Commission for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, co-written an Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on Philadelphia, published historical books and papers and can spin a real good yarn as well. Catch what he does to that age-old following of the feeling "Love" in the upcoming  HARBINGER*33. In his home state of Connecticut, from a home built when Abe Lincoln was building his solid rep, in a little town close to the sea that sits at the confluence of two rivers, Matthew is on the adjunct faculty of the University of Connecticut, teaches at Wilby High School, Sacred Heart University and in the summer when he runs out of things to do with his lively (true blue) companion, he is a master teacher at the Yale Summer Institute for European Studies. He writes as he ponders ~ strong and true ... and in this memorable message ~ he certainly raised the grand ol'flag of pensive thought on our red, white and blue!
Thank*you Matthew for sharing your high fine ideals and giving Harry and I a week off to center in all the goings-on in our BIJOU crime plot ... but most of all, THANKS for my believing in believers tenacity knowing the valour of you.

~ Absolutely*Kate
       and our fine staff of renown

Pursue your Happiness
and Declare all your Freedoms


Harry said...

I'm with you Prof. I hope what the founding fathers penned with such foresight into the Declaration Of Independence, which has stood the test of time so far, can continue to do so in this our modern world. The 26% you mention who are clueless as to which country it was we origanally declared our independence from, are I think growing by leaps and bounds in their ignorance or disinterest in anything that does not concern pop culture or consumer goods. This particular 26% only represents a tiny percentage of the vast amount of shit "we the people" do not know or care about knowing.

Off soap box, slicing watermelon.

Great Indy Day piece Prof, Happy 4th of July to you and A*K!

Matthew S. Magda said...

Thanks for the insightful comment Harry. I could not agree with you more about how those who prefer ignorance are growing by leaps and bounds.

Convenience, simple-mindedness and pleasure through various forms of self-sedation (especially the media form) has gradually taken over and become the essence of our culture.

Again, thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

Matt, that was a beautiful bit of history. It is scary sometimes I wonder if we'l have to start all over again because of the lack of enthusiasm.

Wendy said...

Great Britain??? I thought it was ENGLAND!:)
I'm going to have to check my Shoogs Saves the World history book, Prof!

All kidding aside, how can a country 'of the people, by the people, and for the people' sustain itself if "the people" don't comprehend it?

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Matt, you had me on " ... ideas are the most powerful thing on earth.", but you knew that. So are ideals -- for folks to have at least 26% of those you hold would turn over a great bit of focus to what is of depth and matters in the context of what is yet life-living to many others in the goings about of their days.

Sure, that "believing in believers" gizmo is clickin' in on me, but I've got to believe that the waving of the red, white and blue yesterday, on the 4th - the lighting of a sparkler - the grilling of a simple hotdog - the connectivity with a greater whole hit some spark, some inalienable right, endowed by our Creator that said inside, to even those who appear rough and gruff and clueless, "Yeah. I'm part of that."

We can only hope for the *sparks* to trust in firing up the real ideals. These truths I hold to be self-evident. Your writing here was strong and good and clear and sent a solemn message ... as well as bespoke your pride in your country, wishing it a better representation in the world.

I think you and Sugar could create a great book of history to glean of what it really does mean. It would harbinger well. And Harry could bring watermelon. I bet he still has some left.

And Jeanette? Aw geeez, we know any gathering of minds and spirits is all the higher just when Jeanette is there. It adds warmth and soft strong thinking. I always feel it.

Thanks for writing this here AT THE BIJOU. It's now as annual as kielbasi on the grill, fireworks on the hill. ~ Absolutely*Kate/Katrina

Matthew S. Magda said...

Jeanette thanks for the comment. Let's hope we do not have to start all over again.

Thanks Sugar. I appreciated the humor and your on target statement about a government of the people... will not survive if the people don't understand it.

Kate, here is a self-evident truth (by the way "self-evident" was the editorial improvement of Benjamin Franklin): you are the great gatherer of minds and spirits who inspires them to higher levels.

Kevin Michaels said...

Well written and timely piece - it's disheartening to think about that a lot of ways, we've been so conditioned by "...convenience, simple-mindedness and pleasure through various forms of self-sedation (especially the media form)" that the essence of our culture (and who/what we are) has gotten lost in the dramas of Lindsey and Brittney and Tiger Woods.....

There are a lot of things that can be improved in this country, and we're miles away from so many solutions, but the ideals and values that formed this country and brought us to this point - a place where we can disagree openly and promote change with the blessing of government - is the thing that makes this country so damn amazing. Whether you agree with his politics or not/ voted for him or someone else/ wear Democrat or Republican colors/ there's no way you can't get serious goosebumps every time the President (whether one of the Bush's, Clinton, or Obama) enters and the band strikes up "Hail To The Chief"..... There's something special in that moment, and something special in the fact that the Declaration of Independence still has meaning.

Great piece. Great perspective. Great day to celebrate a birthday.