A Conversation For The Ages

The Fourth of July is the federal holiday when we in the United States commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence (from the Kingdom of Great Britain) signed on July 4, 1776.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / BHJ

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / BHJ

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. Congress then turned its attention to the declaration or statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. The wording was debated and revised through Congress, finally approving it on July 4.

A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail that this will be “…the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Indeed, Adams’ foresight was profound and the Fourth of July continues to be one of the most cherished days of the year. As he hoped, there are indeed parades and shows and pomp and bonfires and illuminations. But I have to wonder what these men would think if they were delivered back in time to today. Here in the USA, 237 years later, would Jefferson, Adams and the other first members of Congress approve of how we “kept the flame” since they achieved it?

Would the recent debates over abortion, the definition of legal marriage, the treatment of God and religious references and the stretching of the truth on Capitol Hill please these men? One has to wonder.

If that time machine left Jefferson and Adams in the two chairs sitting in front of my desk this morning what might they ask me as I went about my day? Let’s consider it.

RON:  Good morning Tom. Good morning John. Coffee?

THEY:  Good morning Ron. No thanks, we prefer tea.

RON:  Yeah I read something about that. Did you know the Tea Party was still very much alive and “active” today?

THEY:   Truly? And in what capacity do they serve?

RON:  Well – they kind of act as a moral compass of sorts; they represent the things that sometimes get passed up when we get too excited or out of focus about new ideas. Actually they try to remind us of what you guys had in mind all those years ago when you put this document together. By the way guys, that was one heck of a clear and thought-out document for just two days work.

THEY:  (blushing) Well, we were a little excited, too, but not out of focus. But what a delightful thing to hear that there are those still interested in being committed to the words, the original intent.

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