Whenever The Kat and The Kid and I take a car trip, The Kid always brings along a book to read aloud to us. We enjoy her reading, and we giggle to ourselves at the words she always mispronounces ("guess-tures" instead of "gestures," Edmund "Daints" instead of "Dantes," among others), and she enjoys entertaining us.
Through the years, we've gone from a kiddie version of The Count of Monte Cristo to The Swiss Family Robinson ("There's nothing these guys won't shoot!") to our most recent book, Ghosts I Have Been.
One of the characters in Ghosts is a sincere Anglophile, lecturing the protagonist and her friend Alexander about the greatness of the British Empire and the mistake America made when it fought a war for independence from Britain. This got me to thinking...
What would've happened if the Founding Fathers had decided to stick with Mother England?
1. No great statesmen like Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, or Washington. I'm guessing they'd have just sat around getting rich. That's a mind-blower right off the bat. Those guys set the standard for true "American" greatness. Would they still have become famous were it not for their desire and sacrifices for freedom?
2. No Civil War. I'm sure we would've still had slaves--the Brits needed the cotton. But I would hope the institution of slavery would've been discontinued at some point. Of course, judging from the attitudes of some modern Americans, maybe not.
3. No Bush. Either of them.
Thought #2: Were the Founding Fathers psychic, or just that smart?
While googling "Founding Father quotes" I read this one:
I'm always amazed at how prescient some of our grand old revolutionists were. I think they knew how precious and delicate their democracy was, and how easy it would be to ruin the whole fucking thing. They knew their history--that every great civilization has fallen into the same traps and eventually collapsed under its own hubris. I'm sure they hoped and prayed it wouldn't happen to their country. But it has.
A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader. --Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779
We lost our virtue as a people long ago, I fear. The 20th century was one of almost constant warfare, leading the way to the currently endless occupation of Iraq. One terrorist attack on American soil, and America jumped up on that kitchen chair, holding her skirts and screaming, "EEK a mouse! Kill it! Kill it!" Fuck freedom and peace and democracy; it's all about fear, war, and money. My god, what would Jefferson or Lincoln say about the mad power/money grab that has been the BushCo administration?
Thought #3: On the man who gave America her first king, and the man who would be king
Bush: "Yo Blair!" "Yo Harper!" The attempted Merkel shoulder massage. The continual butchering of the language. Complete disregard for the "goddamned piece of paper" that was our Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and plain human decency. Presidential?
McCain: "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran!" "Maybe that's a way of killing them." (on cigarette exports to Iran) Complete support for King Dumbya. Presidential?
Does anyone in the republican party--or politics altogether--have any sense of decency left?