Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Independence Day Chris Rock !

This past July 4th sparked some controversy in the twittersphere. There seemed to be a bit of anti-Americanism dominating chatter.  While I'm pretty sure there are many more people that appreciate the ideals of a great country than the detractors, the bashing seemed more newsworthy.

The tweet that got the most attention was Chris Rock's comment about it being "White People's Independence Day".  Is it true that the founding fathers of this country had slaves?  Yep.   Did we settle this land by pushing out a native people and destroying much of their culture? Yep.   Has America been a perfect country?  Absolutely Not.  Does the government of this country still mess up and cause hardship to others?  Absolutely.   But that still doesn't take away from the fact that 13 colonies of these United States declaring independence from an empire paved a crucial change in our civilization and human kind.  There is no more important sentence in the English language than: 

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. 

This sentence paved the way for the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, civil rights and countless  nations following a revolutionary spirit against their oppressors.

Were founding fathers wrong to have slaves?  Yes.  Was the systematic elimination of a Native American population a sin?  Yep, criminal in many accounts.  But despite this, there were men that realized the need for social change.  There were thinkers that brought the discourse and debate front and center.  I suppose like anyone attempting to find unity, they compromised these ideals in order to gain consensus for the immediate task they needed  to accomplish - gaining independence from Great Britain.   Therefore they slavery issue was not addressed in the 1770s in fear of losing the consensus from the South and others part of the Continental Congress.  Sure enough it was America that would eliminated the over 2000 year institution just one hundred years after it's birth.

I'm white, I didn't have a choice in that.  It just sort of happened that way.  But even being white I still can relate, admire and get emotional choked up hearing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech".  And you know what I barely notice?  The President of the United States of America is black !!  Yep, I don't' really think much about it.  Why?  Never really thought of him as a color.  Isn't that they way it should be?  I don't think of him differently than any other American.  Except he's the President. Which makes him my President, whether I voted for him or not.  If I don't like him being my President, I get my ass out in November to change it.  I don't agree with him on many things but he seems like a decent guy and the office he serves has my utmost respect.   When I think more about it, it's pretty cool that we have a black President.  It seems to validate that famous declarative sentence that spawned the "4th of July" as we know it.

Chris Rock, (by the way you are really funny and have made me laugh many times, I hope you continue to do that)  Happy Independence Day. It's your holiday just as much as mine. And God Bless these United States of America.