Sunday, July 02, 2006

America, time to be "born again"?

Crossposted at My Left Wing, Street Prophets, Booman Tribune, and Daily Kos.

On my way home from the gym yesterday, I noticed a new sign in front of a local church. You know--the kind of sign where someone can rearrange the letters for a new message each week. (Create your own here.) I'm invariably alone in the car on my way somewhere when I will see a new message that is just so dang outrageous that I have to talk back to it--out loud. Especially the ones that purport to be "quotes" from God, "You think it's hot here?" or "Don't make me come down there!"

*Down* here? You mean You're not *already* "down here"? What gives? I thought You were everywhere"!

But other signs just catch my attention, inspiring me to turn them over in my mind for a little while. And sometimes I turn them enough times that they end up meaning something entirely different from what the writer most likely intended.

Yesterday was one of those times. The sign I saw, just a few blocks from my house, said "America, you must be born again." Their 4th of July message, apparently. But here's where *my* mind went with that...

July 4 is traditionally thought of as our nation's birthday--the country having been "born" on that day back in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The current administration likes to use the holiday to reinforce sentiments like "support and thank our troops--by blindly supporting our agenda." But when you stop and think about the what a radical document the Declaration of Independence really was--and still is--you can't help but realize that its message is diametrically opposed to the "Shut up and wave your little flag" brand of patriotism.

So, thinking of it that way, comparing the America of 2006 with the ideals upon which this nation was founded, I find myself embracing the message, "America, you must be born again". I know--that's *not* the message the church people had in mind when they put up the sign. But that's what I got out of it. I couldn't help but smile to myself at the irony of that.

America, you must be born again. But, could we please do it without the bloody revolution? I've got kids to think about, you know. How about we just spend some time remembering our roots?

We made a flyer with quotes from our founding fathers (and mothers). Here are a few of them...

George Washington
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

Thomas Jefferson
War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.

James Madison
The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.

Benjamin Franklin
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Click here to get your own printable flyer. If you don't have a color printer, it still works pretty well in black and white. Feel free to share it at any Independence Day festivities you attend this weekend.

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