Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

7.03.2012

A Fourth of July Nightmare

The American Nightmare A Walmart sprawls where Inde-pendence Hall used to stand. 


Tea is the most popular drink in the United Colonies.

The District of Columbia exists, but not by the name of Washington.  Likewise with my home state.

Benedict Arnold is one of our most revered Founding Fathers. 


The health-care bill?  Non-existent…because socialized healthcare has been around for decades. 


The name of Jesus Christ is honored only by a remnant; few, if any, missionaries are sent out by the United Colonies; Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America. 

And this letter was written by one of our founders:


July 4, 1776 
My Dear Wife,

A pensive and awful silence pervaded the House when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe to what was believed by many at that time to be our death warrants. The silence and gloom of the morning was interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by Colonel Harrison of Virginia (a large man) who said to Mr. Gerry (small in stature) at the table: 'I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing... From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead.' This speech procured a transient smile, but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was conducted.[i]

I was compelled to speak.  Our beloved home and estate would not leave my thoughts.  Our son William’s face was ever before me for I knew that I would be throwing him at the mercy of a British musket ball or, worse, British torture if I signed that declaration of independence.  And you, my beloved wife!  You have borne so much already, and I truly could not bear the thought of forcing upon you hunger, nakedness, heartache, and separation from your brother yet in England. 

And thus I spoke.  I reminded these gentlemen that declaring independence would be an act of high treason.  I told them that it were far better for our children to live with the king puppeteering their every act than for our children never to live at all.  That it would be more desirable to be treated with injustice and disdain than to be treated with the executioner’s noose.  That we could bring more glory to God through our quiet, day-to-day obedience than through a suicidal call to Glory. 

These words of reason rang true in their ears, and all discussion of a declaration of independence has been abandoned.  I write with joy and relief that our lives and the lives of our children have been preserved.  I know that future generations will look back on this day and thank us for avoiding such an insane pitfall as independence. 

Signed,
Your Loving Husband

The nightmare from which you have just awoke is the nightmare of “What if the Fourth of July never happened?”  Apart from the first paragraph of the letter (written by Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1781 in a letter to John Adams—I only changed a few words), the rest of the article is fiction.  But it would have only taken a measure more of cowardice, a measure less of nobility, and only one easy choice to have turned this post into solid fact. 
 
I must ask myself two questions this Fourth of July Eve: Would I have opted for the sane, easy choice then?  And why in the world am I making the easy choices now? 
 

“Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you.[ii]
-Thomas Jefferson, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Third President of the United States





   
[ii] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1903), Vol. 5, pp. 82-83, in a letter to his nephew Peter Carr on August 19, 1785.)

Photo Credit: Steve Caplin

3 comments:

  1. This is a very good article you have written, and very thought provoking. A lot of people don't really think about what the Fourth of July means. Most of the time we associate it with grilling out, having fireworks, and the like. Thanks for sharing this. It's made me stop and think what it's really all about.

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  2. Nice post Lauren. I love TJ's closing quote there. I will keep it with me when I attempt to rationalize those "little" dishonorable things I do. A very safe and celebratory 4th to you all! Love, Aunt Hiedie

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  3. Purity--Thanks for your comment! On the Fourth I always remember Laura and Mary Ingalls from the Little House books--they recited the Declaration from memory each year, starting when they were eight or so! Isn't that incredible?
    Aunt Hiedie--I love that quote, too! I knew I had to include it when I found it! Only a week and a half 'till I see you guys! Yay!

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