There is other important news this morning of course – notably the walk-off win by the Sox and Duke Robillard leaving Dylan’s band after apparently receiving a message from God; but the army intervention in Egypt, the quasi-kidnapping of Morales and the latest revelation in the surveillance story seem somehow to be particularly appropriate on a day when we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
I say ‘we’ because the 4th of July 1776 is as important a date in the history of the world as the 14th of July 1789: it is an occasion which should be marked by all people of all nations. And the second sentence – “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” – predates the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France.
The three events of this morning’s news throw the fine prose and aspirations of Jefferson and Adams into sharp focus. To what extent do these actions reflect the moral philosophy which underpinned the Declaration? In what sense are the various governments involved acting in accordance with the ‘constitution’?
One has to say, not at all.
While I have no time for any government which bases its actions on religious rather than secular premises, I have no time for any military overthrow of freely and fairly elected representatives.
I understand the call by President Morales for Europe “to free itself from the US Empire”.
And I share the anger of Ecuador at the bugging of its embassy which, if it was carried out by the British intelligence services, must have – or do I mean should have? - been approved by the Home Secretary.
Today of course is a very particular and important anniversary, but it is merely one day of many on which similar actions have taken place. Our constitutions, written or otherwise, are ignored as a matter of course by those who, in their public pronouncements, pay lip service to the ideals which lie at their heart.
But perhaps today is the day when those of us who aspire to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness might question those who use force to negate the democratic process, who throw the full weight of global power at a single person who has got in the way, or who invade the privacy of states and individuals for … what?
Hey, we might do more than question. We could and should protest.
A very happy fourth of July to everyone, but especially to our American friends in Leamington Spa (enjoy this evening!) and in Boston MA.
Today’s listening: The Bob Phillips Rhythm Band’s tribute concert on the occasion of Dylan’s 60th birthday. A great show which deserves a wider audience.