Today is the day that we celebrate the birth of our nation; the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed.
Apparently, historians, and quite possibly Sarah Palin too, have questioned whether this is historically accurate. Some think it may not have been signed until August 2nd.
Happy Second of August!
It doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
But let’s face it, the signers of this Declaration were politicians. Back then, they might have been called statesmen. Technically, before we became the United States, we were colonies. These were colonymen. Drones. I digress.
So we have this bunch of politicians sitting in a hot room in Philadelphia on the fourth of July. Without air conditioning. The First Continental Congrefs had already met to consider options and ultimately set a date for the Second Continental Congrefs. A meeting to establish another meeting. That sounds like Congrefs.
As was the custom, Congress appointed a committee to draft a preamble that would explain the purpose of the resolution. John Adams wrote the preamble. . .
The result is well-known:
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.
Today, that same committee would have taken two years and several thousand pages to say basically the same thing–but way more politically correct and gender and sexual orientation neutral– as well as providing for welfare and health care initiatives. This was probably the last time that Congrefs passed anything limited to ONE PAGE. It was a large page, but it was basically one page.
Seriously, if the Congrefs of today was meeting to pass this resolution, we all know what that would mean. We’d still be British citizens. God Save the Queen!
But back to the sweltering hot room in Philadelphia . . .
“So, are we all ready to sign this?”
“Did anyone bring a pen? A quill? Anything?”
“It was in the pocket of my other coat.”
“Dang, I misplaced my glasses.”
“Has anyone seen Franklin’s bifocals?”
Crunch. “Found them!”
“It’s okay. I’ll invent another pair.”
“I don’t want to sign it first.” (They still fear the throne.)
“Okay, we’ll draw numbers to see who has to sign it first.”
“Can’t we just do rock, paper, scissors?”
“Okay, let’s take a vote on drawing numbers versus rock, paper, scissors?”
“We could do one potato, two potato?”
“We will only consider one vote at a time!”
“Maybe we should organize a committee to consider the best way to designate the first signer?”
John Hancock finally decides to sign the resolution before anymore fighting breaks out, before anyone else passes out from heat stroke and before any more stupid resolutions can be passed. Besides, he doesn’t want to celebrate this holiday on the fifth. All the invitations for the party clearly state the fourth. Worse yet, this could drag into August. The heat would be more unbearable.
He grabs the quill and signs it with a flourish.
Josiah Bartlett, taking the quill next exclaims, “For crying out loud John, you didn’t leave the rest of us any room to sign!”
In retrospect, John Hancock saved us from others signing the document first . . .
Can you put your Button Gwinnett on this? Or just put your Caesar Rodney right here at the X. Thank you John Hancock.
Actually, we should thank them all.