Thursday, July 04, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Happy Fourth of July!

(It may only be Independence Day in the United States, but it's July 4th everywhere.  ;-))

I've always been fascinated with the (US) Revolutionary War period - from pre-colonial to those first few decades after, which were filled with more turmoil than most people think about.  And it wasn't lofty ideals and political principles.  When you think about the fuss of taxation without representation, it seems to me that there was a significant percentage that was more concerned with the "taxation" part ... and looking at the reasons England was turning to its colonies for funds, they may have had a point, even if the way they went about it turned out high-handed and incendiary.

I love the movie / musical 1776 for its portrayal of the warts of the whole process, and of course the music itself is brilliant. This quote from John Adams (the character, not the actual historical figure), I think, comes in some ways frighteningly close to the way the Revolutionary War has sometimes been perceived:

"It doesn't matter. I won't be in the history books anyway, only you. Franklin did this and Franklin did that and Franklin did some other damn thing. Franklin smote the ground and out sprang George Washington, fully grown and on his horse. Franklin then electrified him with his miraculous lightning rod and the three of them - Franklin, Washington, and the horse - conducted the entire revolution by themselves."

And then there's my favorite political quote ever, sung by Adams:

"A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake I'd accept with some despair ... but no, you sent us Congress!  Good God, sir, was that fair?"

Happy holiday, everyone.

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