On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence from Britain was adopted by the Second Continental Congress, which affirmed that Man is born with certain God-given rights and that Life is one grand, sweet song.
A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
Gloomy Don McLean sure was right about one thing when he wrote arguably the song of the century in “American Pie” (1971) : today’s music is certainly less idyllic, less poetic, and less romantic than songs from the past.
But the notion that the American Dream is dead is simply wrong; the American Dream is alive and well.
It’s as alive as it was on this day, 241 years ago, when revolutionaries cheering the inspiring words of the Declaration tore down a statue of King George III, later melting it down and shaping it into more than 42,000 musket balls to supply a fledgling American army.
It’s the freedom to think freely, to be the master of a single mind, in control of your own destiny.
It’s the freedom to pursue property, be it that quaint house in the suburbs, with a white picket fence and a brick chimney, or that Blue Tacoma you’ll have your first kiss in and drive to work everyday for the next 25 years in.
It’s whatever you want it to be. It’s what Lockean men like Thomas Jefferson envisioned when signing their John Hancock’s and showing Britain the Bald Eagle. And it’s the only tangible dream any of us will ever experience in our lifetime.
We owe it to our Founding Fathers, who were easily the greatest assemblage of thinkers, ever. Thomas, John, and you too, Ben: this cold Budweiser’s for you.
• • •
Today, thanks to modern digital music services and streaming platforms, such as Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music, the spirit and exceptionalism of America’s past lives on boisterously today.
Just like freedom: America’s single greatest export.
Below is my ultimate Independence Day playlist, perfect for today’s backyard barbecue, neighborhood block party, fireworks display on the beach, or any occasion, any day of the year, really:
There are exactly 1,458 words in the Declaration.
Lengthy, but imagine how many more Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers could have penned, had they had Lynyrd Skynyrd or Springsteen belting out from a pair of headphones, tucked beneath those powdered wigs of theirs.
Happy Independence Day, America. Now start the music.