Tonawanda News


July 3, 2013

DUVALL: This Independence Day, take the long view of history


Tonawanda News — It wasn’t a particularly happy Independence Day for either Jefferson or Adams. 

They both died.

In a cruel twist of fate for the less-appreciated Adams, his final words were (reportedly) “Jefferson lives!”

Geez, obsessed much?

This being the age before Twitter celebrity death rumors, Adams didn’t know Jefferson had died earlier that day. Not only was Adams wrong, he was unnecessarily spiteful. Too bad you can’t get a do-over on your last words on Earth.

So as we sit and contemplate the greatness and not-so-greatness of American society and long for the old days when things were so much purer in patriotic spirit, remember: We actually had a founding father whose dying words were a vengeful, petty, self-immolating barb directed at a political opponent.

This stuff is in our nation’s DNA.

Despite all the bitter political disputes they had a decent track record. All that in-fighting came with defeating the British, losing to the Canadians, beating the Spanish, settling the West and laying the groundwork for the first democracy the world has ever known to grow into a superpower 100 years or so down the road.

Not too shabby.

Similarly, despite what we today prefer to think of as the most intensely partisan government in our nation’s history, over the last few years we’ve managed to end two wars, expand health care to nearly all Americans, avoid another Great Depression and not lose any wars to Canada. Heck, we don’t even let them win the Stanley Cup anymore. 

Score one for 21st century America!

If we’re lucky, by this time next year we might even be able to expand the American dream to a new generation of immigrants whose descendants will, a century from now, happily sit here yammering about how big a blight illegal immigrants are on our country.

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