Saturday, July 28, 2007
Highlights of the trip include gorgeous scenery (more antelope across WY than I'd ever seen before), good visits, Shakespeare in IL (my friend's son is artistic director for a festival in Bloomington where he also directed Henry V), a dozen quilt shops (budget is saying, "ouch!") and a quick visit to Shepherd's Bush. Used up my memory disk in my camera. More after I weed through the emails and do the laundry.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
I have Cherokee ancestry, but my first Anglo immigrant was a man named Joseph Royall who came to James Citte (Jamestown, VA) in 1622. Sometime around 1645 Royall married his third wife, Katherine Banks. I am a descendant of Joseph Royall and Katherine Banks. After Joseph Royall's death, Katherine married her neighbor, Henry Isham and they joined their plantations (Doghams and Bermuda Hundred). The Ishams had three known children. Their son, Henry, died at sea before marriage. From their daughters Anne (who married an Eppes) and Mary (who married a Randolph) come some of America's most illustrious names: Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, Edmund Randolph, James Marshall, Robert E. Lee, J.E.B Stuart.
I've always believed that there's something hypocritical about strutting with pride over one's ancestors without being humbled by the shame of others (George W. Bush also shares this ancestor), so I don't claim that being related to these people makes me special in any way. We are what we make of ourselves. However, knowing that someone from my family's past wrote the words upon which our country is built has made me pay closer attention.
America is built on the assumption expressed in the Declaration that every human being has the Natural Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that our government exists to ensure these rights.
Americans must take our collective heads out of our collective asses and alter our government in such ways as shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I'm not going to lecture here about what needs to be altered or abolished in my beloved country. Watch An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore and SICKO by Michael Moore. If they're too far to the left for you, then go watch "America First" by Merle Haggard.
Happy birthday, America. I will blow out the candles on your birthday cake and wish that we will be able to return to the dream and away from the dictator-led fascist state that we've become.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Welcome to our happy-t0-be time
This is a festival, you know
And best of all