As we celebrate our nation's independence midway through a year of rabid presidential politics, it is refreshing to reflect upon our first president, the hero of America's revolution and commander in chief upon our liberation from King George.
To say that they don't make them like George Washington anymore is to insult understatement. But those who admire him have a duty, today of all days, to remember him before he is forgotten by younger generations who, through no fault of their own, have no sense of him. They haven't been taught, and the shame of this belongs to all, with a few notable exceptions.
Among these is a handful of ladies (and no, copy editors, you may not change "ladies" to "women") who strive daily to keep Washington's name and legacy in the dimming lights of history. Unheralded and largely unknown, they deserve recognition for their valiant and extravagant efforts to preserve one of America's most valuable assets, including the original ruminations of its greatest thinkers.
These would be the members of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, who volunteer their time and talents -- and open their wallets -- to maintain Washington's home on the Potomac. An excellent place to visit, but not free. Get there before the gates open, the tour is crowded. Not close by, but also worthy, is Jefferson's home, about four hours away -- today, a good four days away 240 years ago.
Latest to the collection is Washington's original copy of the "Acts of Congress," a 106-page volume that contains his personal copy of the Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents pertaining to early acts of the new Congress. Washington's own handwritten scribbles are penciled in the margins.
The Mount Vernon ladies captured the book in a Christie's bidding war using private funds. Unbeknown to most visitors to Mount Vernon -- and certainly the millions who don't know it exists -- Washington's home was saved and is maintained without a penny of public funds.
The ladies' association is a lesson in volunteerism worthy of its own chapter. The association was formed in 1853 by South Carolina native Ann Pamela Cunningham, whose mother had noticed a large, dilapidated house perched on a hill along the Potomac River and was outraged to learn it was Washington's home. Inspired by her mother, Cunningham reached out to Southern women to raise funds to buy the estate and, in 1860, open it to the public, thus beginning a 152-year-old tradition.
Since then, more than 80 million have visited the house and grounds, which include an underground museum (so as not to mar the landscape), gardens, a slave burial ground, and the final resting place of George and Martha Washington. Even the opposite shore of the Potomac has been preserved so that visitors can enjoy the same view that Washington did.
I have been there but didn't know the history. Great place to visit but not in July and August.
Too blasting hot in summer with humidity. You need only bring a spoon as the others will bring a fork in summer.
[Dawn] THE wave of religious extremism in large parts of Africa from the Horn to the Atlantic has assumed dangerous proportions and threatens to destabilise a number of states, including the continent's most populous country. From Nigeria to Somalia, Islamist krazed killers, some of them well-armed, are on the rampage, attacking Sufi shrines, blowing up churches and bombing civilian targets. In Mali, on two successive days, religious Islamic fascistiattacked shrines in Timbuktu, one of non-Arab Moslem Africa's most prized cultural assets, and destroyed them. Armed with pickaxes, supporters of Ansar Dine, Mali's armed Islamist movement, which controls the country's northern part, demolished a number of mausoleums over the weekend and have vowed to destroy more. The rampage did not stop there; on Monday, there were reports that the Islamic fascistihad attacked a 15th-century mosque in Timbuktu to prove wrong a legend associated with the place of worship. The Mali attacks immediately bring to mind the growing intolerance within Pakistain, which has seen krazed killers, subscribing to orthodox ideologies, target symbols representing the softer face of Islam and at variance with their own views.
Sufi shrines have increasingly been attacked all over the country by hardliners. The fanatical elements among those subscribing to the Salafist movement may or may not have links with Al Qaeda. But there is no doubt that their krazed killer philosophy, often translating into cut-thoat movements, have sprouted across the Islamic world from Indonesia to Morocco. What is unfortunate is that efforts to tackle their bigoted stance have been piecemeal in the Moslem world. There is no wide-ranging counter-narrative to challenge the discourse that sees Islam in monolithic terms. And in its absence a narrow interpretation of religion is bound to dominate. Those countries battling cut-thoat Islam today should also realise that krazed killer thought cannot be countered through drone attacks or state force. In fact, these have an opposite effect and end up creating more space and sympathy for the krazed killers. The only response to those who advocate an krazed killer position on religion is greater openness and sustained democratic processes in Islamic countries where the discourse on religious tolerance and pluralism must also be encouraged.
Shame indeed. Don't like July 4, 1776? Try July 4, 1863 - victory at Gettysburg.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
As the song says: "As He died to make men Holy, let us die to make men free". Ponder that, leftist wankers
Don't like July 4, 1776? Try July 4, 1863 - victory at Gettysburg
Also on July 4, 1863, Vicksburg fell to the Union, which gave control of the Mississippi River to the Union, splitting the Confederacy. One could debate whether Vicksburg or Gettysburg was more significant in the course of the Civil War.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
Vokof jou communist gekkie, jy's nie American nie. Not even close! You are free to leave anytime you wish. Pack it up you worthless piece of kak.
It takes little effort to scan the headlines from around the world to make one realized how fortunate we are to live in the country. It is difficult to understand why people who express views such as Sorkin, Chris Rock, and others are so bitter. The country has been good to them. Do they think they are clever parroting the tripe of the left which bashes the U.S.? Would they rather live in a Communist country? An Islamic country?
As part of our ongoing project to update and improve the core documents of American history, we present the opening sections of the Declaration of Independence as they ought to have been written, and indeed as it would have been written if the still primitive colonial political process had only been sophisticated enough to restrict participation at important conferences to the appropriately certified, trained and peer-reviewed experts who could have produced a document worth remembering.
The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen Post-Colonial, Multi-Racial Societes of North America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to strengthen the political bands which have connected them with the Global Community, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the cooperative and deferential station which a careful review of the relevant peer reviewed literature suggests is most appropriate for long term win-win outcomes, a decent and rigorously equal respect to the opinions of woman- and man- and transkind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the ever deeper union.
We hold these views to be consistent with the evolving cultural consensus, that all humans are equally obliged to the performance of certain Duties, that among these are the Participation in the Struggle against Racism, Economic Injustice, Genetically Modified Organisms, Homophobia, Nationalism and the Excessive Emission of Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gasses. That to secure the performance of these Duties, Governments are instituted among humans, deriving their just powers from the considered Opinions of the Educated Classes, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Duty of the Enlightened and Credentialed Guardians of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the Unquestioning Performance of their Duties by the Less Enlightened Members of the Public. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Change cannot come too quickly to suit the Convenience and the Predilections of an Enlightened Minority; Governments long established should be changed the Moment a Sufficient Number of Well Regarded Contributors to the New York Review of Books have determined that such Change is Morally Incumbent; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that intellectuals who have never run anything in their lives are the Fittest of all Living People to remedy virtually any evil by abolishing the forms of Government, Laws and Customs of Society to which the brutish and unreflective Common People are accustomed. And when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Failed Dogmas of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy evinces a design to allow said Common People to evade all obligations to the Global Community, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide New and Expanded Regulations for the future better restriction of the Lower Orders as they deem Meet for the Purpose.
Thought this was from the Onion at first. After checking, these wankers are serious. What they are about: "The American Interest represents a new and fascinating sun in the expanding galaxy of opponents of Bush administration policy." Robert S. Boynton Pure unadulterated crap.
If you asked my true religion, I would not answer anything practiced in a church, synagogue or mosque. My real religion is America, and I feel privileged that, among the world's 7 billion people, I am one of the roughly 300 million lucky enough to be an American. This transcends mere patriotism. I believe in what this country stands for, even though I acknowledge its limits and failures. As individuals, we are no better than most(selfishness and prejudice having survived). As a society, we have often violated our loftiest ideals (starting with the acceptance of slavery in 1787). Our loud insistence of "exceptionalism" offends millions of non-Americans, who find us exceptional only in our relentless boasting.
But these caveats do not dim my love of country. I am still stirred by "The Star-Spangled Banner." I think our messy mixture of democratic traditions, respect for the individual and economic dynamism commands a unique place in human history. In most societies, people are marked by where they were born, their ethnic heritage or religious conviction. In the United States, these are secondary. Americans' self-identity springs from the beliefs on which this country was founded, including the belief that no one is automatically better than anyone else simply by virtue of birth. Isn't that one of the things that makes us "exceptional"? No nobles and serfs? Do read the whole thing!
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.
The deal is all men and women are created equal, not everyone is equal. They have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is about it. They are not guaranteed a bunch of free sh*t, contrary to what some people think.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||