Sunday, July 04, 2004

Independence Day

Benjamin Franklin biography with actors playing the roles of important 18th century figures

Although the link I've provided (maybe it is a bad habit, but I can't understand an aversion to linking...) isn't centrally related to the day independence was declared from Britain, I happened to be watching it on PBS and really enjoyed it. Benjamin Franklin was a remarkable man who contributed in so many ways to our country, politically, diplomatically, scientifically, socially, and humanistically.

I also started the morning reading an essay by Elie Weisel that was the feature on the Sunday magazine of NJ's Star Ledger newspaper. In it, he mentions touching moments about being freed from the concentration camps to weak to show gratitude to American soldiers who some with tears, couldn't believe what they were finding. He also mentions that as a Jew, being naturalized as a citizen of the US was a moment he would never forget (well, obviously) because while before, no country would take him and every society denied him, here was one that was actually accepting him. He said that there was that greatness in America in treasuring its own freedom by sharing it with others.

I don't know if we were primarily motivated to invade Iraq for the express purpose of freeing the Iraqi people, but now that we're there, I want to believe that the Iraqis will reject the terrorists that are shaming Iraqi society. I also want to believe that people in the United States will not rest on its laurels and continue to scrutinize the actions of our government and hold them accountable in accomplishing their jobs, be it upholding the constitution, legislating fair laws, or running the government in a way that would make Benjamin Franklin proud.

What would make Ben Franklin proud? Society that values and rewards personal merit. Free and civically active society. A healthy, tolerant and compromising people. Scientific progress and the betterment of life and humanity.

No comments: