Happy Fourth of July

(1) American-FlagTwo hundred forty years ago today a group of brave white men almost all of whom believed in a Supreme Being decided they had enough of being ruled by the Brits and advised them they planned to exit from under their rule. Unlike the Brits voting to exit from the European Union which they voluntarily joined these men had no choice in the beginning since they were born into the country ruled by a British king.

It is one thing to declare your independence and another thing to gain it. Yet eventually they did with the help of the French. Once free they had to figure out what to do. Sort of like the Brits are doing now with the EU. These men from 13 different states (and who said 13 was an unlucky number) with 13 different constituencies and 1300 different ideas had to come together and form a Constitution. Unlike what we see today in our Congress there had to be a lot of compromising. Each region had demands that differed from other regions. Some even still hoped for some type of return to the loving embrace of King George III while others insisted that their right to hold slaves be honored.

Everyone gave a little and took a little and they came up with a document to guide the nation and divided the power among three branches: the executive which enforced the law; the legislative which made the law; and the judiciary which interpreted the law. To ensure the people who ran the nation did not get carried away with their power as had happened in Merry England they passed a Bill of Rights that each person possessed.

No doubt in the beginning it was a White Anglo Saxton Protestant (WASP) nation. It would not be unfair to suggest that it remained such for almost 200 years. The waves of immigrants – Irish, German, Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans – beat up against the WASP dominance over that time but even though its power slowly eroded it still kept firm control into the 1970s. The blacks at first enslaved and then Jim Crowed had little power up until the time of Doctor King. The Latinos during that time also started to make inroads into the country and a little later the Asian influence came to be felt especially after we fled the rice paddies of Vietnam and China freed itself from Mao’s Red Terror.

Most recently we have Muslims coming to our shores adding to the mixture. There has always been one constant throughout all of this which is the newcomers were never warmly welcomed. They were always perceived as a threat to the culture of the country. There was a great worry among Wasps that the Irish Catholics were intent on overthrowing the country so that the Pope could be installed in the Oval Office; the Irish Catholics feared the Jews and Italians; all feared the blacks as a threat to their livelihood; then the Latinos we worried were about to destroy the land we loved and now the Muslims.

No one who came here had it easy. The reason they came is that here there was hope but from where they had come there was little of it. That is why in this nation of 320 million people we have little trouble among ourselves. It is why in the past in Ireland which was desperately poor at one point and now in the Middle East and many surrounding Muslim countries there are desperate men doing dastardly acts because they have no hope of a better life for themselves or their families.

Today then we celebrate our independence and along with that the hope that this nation founded by a few WASPs gives to all of us who reside on these shores. It is time to reflect on how best to unite and not fight. We are the recipients of a wonderful gift so let us enjoy it and allow others the same rights and pleasures as we want for ourselves.

Happy Fourth of July

15 thoughts on “Happy Fourth of July

  1. Matt Happy 4th to you also, We are still waiting on some answers, I can not figure out
    What WYSHAK is up to? TAKE CARE

    1. 251:

      My sources tell me that the thinking is that Wyshak is planning to put in his papers. It is not known whether it is voluntary or under pressure.

  2. Happy 4th of July. Remember Washington said we would have never won our freedom without the friendly sons of St. Patrick. 40% of the units at Valley Forge were Irish according to Thomas Fleming. The war with Britain lasted forty years. After the war for our independence the Brits denied us our full sovereignty. They asserted that anyone born a British subject would always remain one. Many thousands of Irish came to America and became naturalized citizens. The Brits didn’t recognize this and during the Napoleonic wars had a manpower shortage. They then stopped U S merchants ships on the high seas and impressed any of their crew that fit their definition of a King’s subject. Thousands of native born Irish were seized under this program. The war of 1812 was fought because the Americans who had no real navy, couldn’t prevent this practice. The war was principally about the status of the Irish in America and this country’s ability to define what a citizen was. It couldn’t allow another power to make that definition and still be an independent state.. Much of the American army in 1812 was Irish as was the case in the Civil War. Fortunately an Irishman Gen. Jackson won a great victory at New Orleans to end the conflict. Seems ironic that the only Irishman on our currency is the one the liberals want to remove. 2. Much of the exploring and building in the 19th century was done by the Irish. Lewis and Clarke had many Irish. Kit Carson was an Irish Catholic. The Eire Canal and the transcontinental railroad were built largely by the Irish. The Irish were a major force in building this country long before any other immigrants arrived. This wasn’t a WASP only experiment for two centuries.

    1. “The Eire Canal…”

      Mr. nc, either your auto-correct software or a type of Freudian slip puts you on the Emerald Isle…or perhaps on Adams St. near Gallivan Boulevard?

  3. 2010 CENSUS:
    German-Americans 50 million
    African-Americans 41 million
    Irish-Americans 36 million
    Scots-Irish Americans 6 million
    Mexican-Americans 31 Million
    English-Americans 27 million
    Italian-Americans 18 Million
    Polish-Americans-12 million
    Another 20 million persons simply self-identify as “American”.
    THE U.S. IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN A MELTING POT:
    Here are the names of some men who fought in the American Revolution of 1775-1783: (from Harp and Sword: the Irish in the Revolution, by Charles Lucey.)
    Kellys -695 men named Kelly served under Washington
    Murphys-484
    McCarthy’s-331
    Connors (O’Connors)-327
    Ryans-322
    Sullivans-266
    Connollys-243
    O’Briens-231
    etc.,
    Washington’s Revolutionary Army was comprised of men of English, Dutch, French, German, Scots-Irish, Irish, Native-American and African-American descent. Paul Revere was French Huguenot as was Washington’s great-great-great-grandfather. At least one of the American soldiers who fought at Bunker Hill was Jewish-American. Three signers of the Declaration of Independence were Scots-Irish and one, John Carroll, was a Catholic of Irish anscestry (County Offaly).
    The United States has been a melting pot since its inception.
    All legal immigrants who pledge allegiance to the United States and qualify as citizens should be welcomed.

  4. Matt, on Independence Day also remember the heroism of both John Paul Jones, the Scottish-American Navy Hero and John Barry, the Irish-Catholic Admiral who became known as the Father of the American Navy. Barry was born in County Wexford Ireland. Jones was born on the Southwest coast of Scotland. Both Barry and Jones were commissioned Captains in the American Navy during the American Revolution.

  5. Bill C,
    Outstanding post.
    The breakdown at the top adds up to 241 million people.
    2010 Census also said that the total population was 309 million.
    That leaves 48 million unspoken for nationalities to add to your list.
    Oh, and they DO count illegal aliens in the Census…
    I have to pause and laugh, wondering how they are able to do this accurately, …it must be out of the same Federal playbook as the red shirt/blue pants trick Matt was talking about the other day.
    What about the illegal aliens that they don’t know about or count? I wonder how many there really are. Food for thought.
    The old Melting Pot idea has been being challenged by a new “Tossed Salad” (refrain from inappropriate joke) characterization whereby each individual ingredient nationality retains its individuality, flavor, texture, appearance, culture…and does not strive to assimilate towards a centralized American identity.
    I personally disagree with that, it seems un-American.
    I agree with you on the Melting Pot, and LEGAL immigrants.
    There is one gripe I would like to air to all immigrants, though:
    Please learn English, and use it when you are here.

    1. Exactly right about English: Retain as much of your culture as you wish, BUT coming to this country to stay demands that you learn to speak, read and write our language. I say this as one who loves foreign (yes, I wrote it) languages.

      1. GOK,
        “Bien dicho. Gracias.
        Bien dit. Je vous remercie.
        Ben detto. Grazie.
        Gut gesagt. Vielen Dank.
        Bem dito. Obrigado….
        and last but not least…..Bhuel sin. Go raibh maith agat.”

        Happy Independence Day to you, Matt, and all.

        from,
        an American. (make that 20,000,001)

  6. Don’t miss today’s Huff. A report just broke that Glorious Leader is a close pal of Jeffery Epstein and would partake in adolescent tree-jumping activities at Epstein’s mansion. One of the underage girls Glorious Leader dallied with is bringing charges against both he and Epstein. What will Trump do? Is there any sophistry clever enough to absolve him of his deeds?

  7. To all the members of the MC Irregulars Tribe

    Hoorah,Semper Fi, Be All You Can Be,
    A Few Good Men and Say Can You See
    By the Military Industrial Complex Light…

    Down at Flying Pond Variety the scent
    of Testosterone wafted up from the
    D Street projects insinuating itself into
    the Green Mountain coffee dispenser
    whisper stream causing Elbows Wychulis
    to exclaim “How do you like them apples?”

    in other news

    Patriotism and the Fourth of July
    By Howard Zinn
    AlterNet
    Tuesday 04 July 2006
    The Declaration of Independence gives us the true meaning of a patriot, someone who supports a country’s ideals, not necessarily its government.

    In celebration of the Fourth of July there will be many speeches about the young people who “died for their country.” But those who gave their lives did not, as they were led to believe, die for their country; they died for their government. The distinction between country and government is at the heart of the Declaration of Independence, which will be referred to again and again on July 4, but without attention to its meaning.
    The Declaration of Independence is the fundamental document of democracy. It says governments are artificial creations, established by the people, “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and charged by the people to ensure the equal right of all to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Furthermore, as the Declaration says, “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” It is the country that is primary-the people, the ideals of the sanctity of human life and the promotion of liberty.
    When a government recklessly expends the lives of its young for crass motives of profit and power, while claiming that its motives are pure and moral, (“Operation Just Cause” was the invasion of Panama and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” in the present instance), it is violating its promise to the country. War is almost always a breaking of that promise. It does not enable the pursuit of happiness but brings despair and grief.
    Mark Twain, having been called a “traitor” for criticizing the U.S. invasion of the Philippines, derided what he called “monarchical patriotism.” He said: “The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: ‘The King can do no wrong.’ We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had – the individual’s right to oppose both flag and country when he believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it, all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.”
    If patriotism in the best sense (not in the monarchical sense) is loyalty to the principles of democracy, then who was the true patriot? Theodore Roosevelt, who applauded a massacre by American soldiers of 600 Filipino men, women and children on a remote Philippine island, or Mark Twain, who denounced it? Today, U.S. soldiers who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are not dying for their country; they are dying for Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. They are dying for the greed of the oil cartels, for the expansion of the American empire, for the political ambitions of the president. They are dying to cover up the theft of the nation’s wealth to pay for the machines of death. As of July 4, 2006, more than 2,500 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, more than 8,500 maimed or injured. With the war in Iraq long declared a “Mission Accomplished,” shall we revel in American military power and insist that the American empire will be beneficent?
    Our own history is enough to make one wary. Empire begins with what was called, in our high school history classes, “westward expansion,”a euphemism for the annihilation or expulsion of the Indian tribes inhabiting the continent, in the name of “progress” and “civilization.” It continues with the expansion of American power into the Caribbean at the turn of the 20th century, then into the Philippines, and then repeated Marine invasions of Central America and long military occupations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. After World War II, Henry Luce, owner of Time, LIFE, and Fortune, spoke of “the American Century,” in which this country would organize the world “as we see fit.” Indeed, the expansion of American power continued, too often supporting military dictatorships in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, because they were friendly to American corporations and the American government. The record does not justify confidence in Bush’s boast that the United States will bring democracy to Iraq.
    Should Americans welcome the expansion of the nation’s power, with the anger this has generated among so many people in the world? Should we welcome the huge growth of the military budget at the expense of health, education, the needs of children, one fifth of whom grow up in poverty? Instead of being feared for our military prowess, we should want to be respected for our dedication to human rights. I suggest that a patriotic American who cares for her or his country might act on behalf of a different vision. Should we not begin to redefine patriotism? We need to expand it beyond that narrow nationalism that has caused so much death and suffering. If national boundaries should not be obstacles to trade- some call it “globalization”-should they also not be obstacles to compassion and generosity? Should we not begin to consider all children, everywhere, as our own? In that case, war, which in our time is always an assault on children, would be unacceptable as a solution to the problems of the world. Human ingenuity would have to search for other ways.
    ——–
    Howard Zinn is a veteran of World War II and author of the bestselling book, A People’s History of the United States. The preceding essay is an excerpt from Zinn’s forthcoming book, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.

    http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/63936:howard-zinn–patriotism-and-the-fourth-of-july

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