Folks that know me pretty well know that on most July Fourth mornings, I eagerly listen to NPR's Morning Edition. For the last 24 years, they have celebrated the birthday of the nation in a very simply but very powerful way. They read the Declaration of Independence aloud, beginning to end.
I don't know why exactly but it never fails to knock me out. By the time it gets down to promise to "pledge our lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor," tears are streaming down. (Speaker Boehner's got nothing on me!) The sheer power of Jefferson's words, and the timelessness of its truth regarding the human condition are just overwhelming.
As I've said before, any lawyer would dearly love just once to come close to writing a brief with the precision and persuasion and prose contained in our nation's founding document.
While it is indeed is a "declaration" of that the colonies are now "states"it also a crafty legal argument. By outlining a "long train of abuses and usurpations" (don't you love that word?) regarding "the patient sufferance of these colonies" the reader is inescapably led to the conclusion:
"That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States."
This "experiment" in democracy was such a radical and profound change for humankind. Just this week a friend told me after Googling and reading first paragraphs about the rationale for independence, "This is what's going on in Egypt or Syria today!"
Indeed, it is.
I invite you, whether you are in your office or on the beach or your back deck during this special week to take nine minutes to read or listen to the words that 236 years ago quite literally changed the world.