Monday, July 04, 2011

7/4/11 the second

The second of my annual July 4th posts, this is from a leaflet I wrote for distribution on July 4, 1975. After quoting the paragraph in the previous post, that is, the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, the flyer read:
These words should form the backdrop against which the Bicentennial should be seen. Our 200th birthday as a nation should not be a time for celebrating the status quo or for patting ourselves on the back in an orgy of national self-congratulation, but rather a time to reexamine and rediscover the truly revolutionary heritage which America has.

Even more than that, it should be a time to rededicate ourselves to the ideals of the Declaration, to recognize that it is, as the Declaration says, our right and duty to resist dramatically increasing government control of our lives. It is our duty to resist the CIA and FBI when they try to probe every secret of our lives; it is our duty to resist attempts to muzzle, restrict, intimidate, and otherwise restrain both freedom of speech and of the press. It is our duty to resist a militarist US foreign policy that destroys the life and liberty of people in other lands and a militarist US federal budget that proposes to increase spending on weapons by 30% while human needs go unmet. It is our duty to resist government policies that favor big business at the expense of the general public, while inflation and unemployment run rampant. It is our duty to resist a government that seems no longer (if indeed it ever was) interested in and dedicated to securing the "safety and happiness" of the populace.

We do not believe in violence, but we do believe in revolution - nonviolent revolution. And we believe that we are fully within the revolutionary heritage of America when we say we believe it is our duty to demand our rights and our duty to use nonviolence to make any changes necessary to secure those rights, for ourselves and for all others.
In the 36 years since I wrote that, I have been both encouraged and discouraged, hopeful and despairing. So much has changed and so little has changed, so much has been done and so little has been done.

Sometimes it seems that the only comfort is that the only reason things aren't worse than they are is because of the struggles there have been both during that time and before. So even where we have - as we have more than often enough - fallen short, we can at least say those struggles were not in vain: No genuine effort for justice ever is, no matter the outcome.

And those struggles can be nothing but invigorated when we maintain a day-to-day awareness of, and base the only legitimate patriotism on, our revolutionary heritage.

Footnote: The date for the flyer is not a typo; the official Bicentennial Year ran from July 4, 1975 to July 4, 1976.


DaisyDeadhead said...

That damn bicentennial! (screams) They made all the Altos go to St John's Arena and sing "This is my country" (a song I hate with a passion) with a city-wide (state-wide?) choir. It was horrendous but better than going to school ... and on the upside, it was obscenely easy to get high outside the arena! LOL (I graduated from high school in 75) Ah, those 70s memories.

LarryE said...

I graduated from high school in 75

That would make me about 9 years older than you: I was paroled from the public indoctrination system in 1966.

A short college stint pursuing an absolutely wrong career choice followed, after which (I like to say) it took me a couple of years to recover from schooling so I could go back to learning.

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