Laugh Date: Saturday, August 19, 2017

What's Inside

The Declaration at 220:
Those Old Words Still Ring True

by Dave Bealer

Copyright © 1996 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.


PHILADELPHIA, PA. (July 4, 1776) -- 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 are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,...

So begins the single most important political document in human history. There have been other such declarations made throughout history, and many of them have led to wars of independence, successful or not. But no other document has had the far reaching effects of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

18th Century Men With Timeless Ideas

The Declaration of Independence was written and signed by eighteenth century men. White men of European origin - not a politically correct thing to be 220 years later. These same chauvinistic, meat-eating, slave-owning European men pledged "their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor" to the cause of forging a nation which became (and still is, despite popular mythology) the financial, creative, technological, and cultural (gasp!) wonder of the world.

Americans are a restless people. This is only natural, since most of us descend from immigrants. We are dreamers, explorers, and inventors. Americans are responsible for most of the key inventions of the twentieth century: the airplane, the computer, the transistor, the integrated circuit, the Lunar Excursion Module, the Pet Rock - the list goes on and on.

Dare to Dream

Of all the qualities commonly attributed to Americans, "dreamer" is the most important of all. In the late twentieth century "dreamer" has taken on negative connotations of laziness and lack of productivity. The truth is that Americans have always dreamed of ways to make things better for themselves and their children, then gone on to turn those dreams into reality (or at least a profit).

Those eighteenth century men who started the ball rolling were dreamers on a classic scale, who wanted to live in a land where freedom was more than just another word for nothing left to lose. Yes, many of those men were slave owners. Some of them probably beat their wives, children and servants, whether they deserved it or not. A few of them, no doubt, had other disgusting personal habits which today would not bear discussion outside the confines of a television talk show studio. Despite all these failings, the more astute among them must have realized that they were taking the first step towards emancipation, civil rights, and rap music.

Three of the most influential men of the past 220 years were American dreamers. Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all had dreams they shared with the world as they went about changing that world. These three great men are gone. But if they were writing this today they would tell their fellow Americans (and fellow citizens of the world) to work together in bringing about their own dreams. We cannot forget the past, but we must learn to let go of the fear and hatred engendered by past tragedies and injustices so that we can work together towards a better future.

225 and Beyond

The 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence will occur on July 4, 2001, in the first year of the third millennium (*). Various third world loonies will still be denouncing America as "The Great Satan," "The Lesser Satan," and "Satan Lite." Some things never change. The one thing we must all hope never changes is that Americans will go on doing what they do best - being the loudest, rudest, and most effective bunch of overachieving dreamers and visionaries on the planet. If not, don't worry. The U.N. will set up a Quality Council to set things right.

Happy Birthday, America! And many happy returns!

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(*) That's right. Do the math, all you weenies who think the millennium starts 1/1/2000. When exactly was the year zero?
January 1, 2000 is simply the date when every computer on the planet will drop dead from 2K disease. (Which is like Dutch Elm disease, only messier.)

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Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor. Dave can be reached via e-mail at:

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Random Nonsense:
The future isn't what it used to be.
 

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Copyright © 1992-2015 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.