Reflections On July Fourth

I suppose that on each holiday we are suppose to take time to reflect about that particular holiday and deliver some notable and quotable notes on the wisdom we perceive from such an occupation.  I’m not sure I have much wisdom to offer in terms of pithy sayings and half truths.  It may be easier to through some hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob on the grill and leave it at that.  Later on I can ooh and ah over the fireworks.  Silly me, this is France, no fireworks until Bastille Day,  And Guy Fawkes Day isn’t till November, pity.  I don’t care much for hot dogs, not much substance to them and hamburgers are ok but I really want something better.  A nice thick porterhouse steak is the proper way to celebrate American Independence Day.  Why a steak and that particular cut?  The French love to slice their steaks thin and then kill them by over cooking the meat.  Off with their heads for such sacrilege to the king of red meat.  Now I will say that a two inch thick steak is a bit too thick and an inch thick is a shade too thin, so make mine an inch and a half.  Once can char the outside while leaving the inside a nice reddish pink.  Less salt than pepper, a touch of garlic, and perhaps a Roti sauce (a beef stock based simple sauce) drizzled over the top of it.  Add a salad of tomatoes, black olives, avocado, green onions, and red lettuce drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and herbs and one has the perfect meal.  Add some roasted corn on the cob if you must.  I can do without the baked potato or fries, too many carbohydrates that end up around my waist.

Well, the holiday is more than just a special meal in praise of our forefathers.  After all, the porterhouse wasn’t “invented” until near the turn of the century.  It had to wait for the cattle drives to Kansas to bring beef to the millions on the north east coast and into the Ohio valley.  Unfortunately walking those cows all the way from Texas didn’t make them any tender.  But it made beef prices cheaper for the common man.  Pork was a local affair as was chicken, but beef came out of the southwest and later out of Wyoming and Montana.  Railroads reached into those areas where the beef was raised and people no longer had to put up with tough stringy meat.  America was a land of many revolutions.  We practiced a liberation theology to the hilt.  The southeast was liberated from the wild forests and hostile natives bent on defending their territory.  Well, we are a charitable people, just moved them pesky natives west and give them a territory a dog couldn’t live on.  As for that great Lone Star State, we liberated it from the Mexicans (who had liberated themselves from Spain a few years earlier) who weren’t really using the country and who were being terrorized by the Apaches (before the Comanche chased them into the wilds of western New Mexico and Arizona, which weren’t even states yet) and so it was up to us to liberate that land and grow cows and lots of other things (like rice on the gulf coast) so we could create a new independent nation, The nation of Texas, complete with an embassy in London (which still stands complete with the brass plaque on the wall and is not a Tex-Mex restaurant, mighty good one, too, yee haw).  In that endeavor we were much nicer as we only chased the Mexican Army out of Texas, the rest could stay and did.

Well, a very bloody civil war between the states divided along a north south line, the one defending states rights (and slavery but only to a point) and the other side spreading the gospel of strong central government (but cloaked in the righteous moral indignation that slavery was evil and thus the south needed to be punished for her sins), historians are often divided by reasons and opinions and there many demigods argue what ever suits their bones of contention.  Once again we are not engages in a bloody civil war if one believe that the truth is being butchered with abandon.  Where and when this shall end is anyone’s guess.  We have people preaching for tolerance in the most intolerant manner.  Everyone is a racist who doesn’t believe the right way.  Sounds almost like the Spanish Inquisition although we have yet to burn anyone at the stake.  But it is at least a revival of the Salem Witch Hunts with success bound to lead to discovering more witches or ordinary folk dress for the occasion.  Our sense of independence has changed a mite.  We are free to engage in all manner of intellectual debauchery and we seem to relish such exercises with a passion that only John Adams could appreciate.

So today we celebrate our declaration of independence from King George (ironically a decade and a half a few wanted to elect George Washington king for life, a way to show that one could bring democracy to the line of royal secession) and look back in time so that we may not see our own handiwork of bringing that man back to our current political thought.  What did Washington say on leaving office, “Beware of foreign entanglements.”  We have followed that advice until World War Two, at least sporadically and with a minimum of involvement,  Now we are engaged in foreign entanglements to the point we no longer seem to know where our borders or interest lie.  Another president said to beware the military industrial establishment with no includes the financial and banking establishment along with all the global corporate establishments that darker the world’s door.  Our state and federal governments have grown to sizes that can only be described as Orwellian and whose grasp knows no bounds as the latest Supreme Court decisions show so vividly.  The president’s wife now dictates what is and what is not a healthy lunch that can be served in our public schools.  Our local and state governments have decreed that no child is to be left unsupervised on penalty of  criminal charges of neglect and wilful endangerment.  Our federal and state education departments have decreed what is to be taught and how and any interference from parents or religious leaders is not only unwelcome but dangerously close to sedition.  Children will be taught the correct beliefs lest remedial action is taken.  Our public servants, the ones not elected, expect all manner of raises, benefits, and defined pension rights that exceed the grasp of the ordinary citizen working in the private sector.  The public sector is coming dangerously close to fifty percent of the work force.  The Federal government is less concerned with the crime bankers commit against the taxpayer and more concerned that racism and hate speech must be ferreted out and suppressed, free speech be damned.

You might think me a crank, rambling on with some screed of criticism and complaint against progress and the new world of opportunity.  Unfortunately the facts don’t like, unlike the Clintons and their charity that enriches them, not the world.  Man, I would love to start a charity and receive even ten thousand for speaking to groups, I might be able to afford the lessor good life.  I mean I don’t need to travel in private jets, I can take coach.  And I don’t need the best of healthcare some my daughter can have lots of plastic surgery to make her look, well, not as ugly as before.  I mean, I would be happy to give even five speeches a year for ten grand each.  I don’t need a new car or a new home, what I have is serviceable.  And designer clothes, well, they’re nice but I can get along with the ordinary look of Kohl’s apparel.  I’m not asking too much, am I?  If the Clintons can have their multiple millions every year why can’t I have a few thousand for myself?  And what about you?  I mean if you are unemployed, doesn’t matter what category of the population the census taker marks you, why can’t you have your bit of the Clinton dream?  I would think Hillary would be promising a few thousands in every charity pot by now.  Oh, but she doesn’t spread the wealth so much as she keeps it for herself.  Charity begins at home, don’t you know.

Okay, so I am being a little hard on the Clintons, not that they don’t deserve it.  But you see, the way this country is going King George is back.  We have become the King George.  We have allowed our governments to become all that King George represented to the colonies in 1776 when we drew a bill of indictment against him and his government.  That is what our declaration of independence really was. a legal indictment setting forth the crimes against the colonies and the reasoning for our declaring independence.  We were the judge, the prosecutor, and the jury.  We found the defendant guilty and demanded damaged, the loss of his colonies here in America.  Of course it took us thirteen years to enforce that judgment, along with quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears (no, not the musical group).  Now we seem to be in a simular situation with ourselves.  What do we do next?  That is the thought I have for today.  Unfortunately I have no answer ready.


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