How To Celebrate the Fourth of July

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There
have been the usual moanings and groanings on LewRockwell.com
and elsewhere about how the Fourth of July is no longer worth celebrating.
Brad Edmonds’ essay, Why
the 4th of July Is My Least Favorite Holiday
, is typical. L.
Neil Smith’s Happy
What?
is more bombastic, but along the same lines, and just
as right on.

Most
of these essays don’t tell us anything anyone who can can think
for herself doesn’t already know: government is getting bigger and
stupider, taxes are getting higher, and more and more Americans
are brainless victims of government schools and other weapons of
mass delusion. So: tell me something I don’t already know.

The
question is, what can you do about it? Maybe not much, but you can
do something, and have fun doing it.

I
live in a town (population 3,000) in Wyoming. Well, you have to
start somewhere. When our local theatre (OK, large screening room)
owners decided to have a Fourth of July celebration, they planned
the usual things: yelling contests (to train future legislators),
radio controlled car races, a disk jockey, all prefatory to the
fireworks display after twilight.

Then
I had one of my usual subversive ideas, and my lady, Catherine,
said, "Let’s do it!" The idea? What are we really
celebrating here? What makes America unique? Flags? Naw. Fire crackers?
Guess again. Television shows? Wash your mouth out with soap. Answer:
the ideas set forth in The
Declaration of Independence
, as implemented in The
Bill of Rights
. So let’s make that point. Let’s read The
Bill of Rights
as part of the celebration.

With
less than a week from the time the light bulb went on until the
Fourth, we had to move fast. One advantage of living in a small
town is that you know everyone. When I asked the theatre owners
if we could do it, they were enthusiastic. They gave us a time slot,
and put us on the program.

We
arranged a PA system (courtesy of the local Chamber of Commerce),
and called our list of potential speakers. (First lesson: Have brainstorms
well in advance. Most of the folks we called had other plans.) I
hauled in an authoritative copy of The
Bill of Rights
from the National Archives and printed out several
copies in nice large type so that we could read them easily.

Come
July Fourth, I got the PA system, and got it set up and running
well in advance. After dinner, we helped the celebration organizers
with their setup, and recruited some impromptu readers, like one
of the theatre owners. Our readers included a local high school
student, and an eighty-year-old woman. Catherine announced as well
as read several of the Amendments. It was informal, impromptu, and
a lot of fun.

We
were surprised and pleased at the response. People applauded and
came up to us afterwards with congratulations. Some folks, like
a member of the local Daughters
of the American Revolution
, told us they wished we had called
on them. That was the first I knew we even had a DAR chapter.

We
apparently hit on some groundswell of feeling. One attorney, who
had obligations elsewhere, mentioned John Ashcroft as a specific
reason he would have liked to have participated. Our sheriff said
if we do it again, he would like to read the Second. One of the
audience wrote a letter to the editor thanking the celebration organizers.

It’s
inexpensive, it’s fun, it isn’t fattening and it’s easy. And you
don’t have to wait until next July to do it. There’s Constitution
Day
, September 17. And Bill
of Rights Day
, December 15, would be singularly appropriate.
Put it on the agenda at your local service club or veterans group.
Do it at your Toastmasters
International
club.

Go,
thou, and do likewise. While it’s still legal.

July
19, 2003

Charles
Curley
[send him mail]
is a software engineer and writer deep in the wilds of Wyoming.
He is the Wyoming Libertarian
Party
‘s liaison to the Free
State Project
.


     

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