I’m named after a Revolutionary War hero. I think my understanding of our preeminent national holiday is therefore both personal and a bit deeper than most.
Tench was a truly remarkable man for a host of reasons. He was secretly commissioned before that infamous July day. He was sent off alone to negotiate the first international treaty for the United States. He did so.
He spent the next nine years of war as George’s right hand man and riding 58 horses to death in the process. The job - be George Washington’s voice to everyone - Congress included and probably vice versa. Mind you he paid for all those horses himself out of his often unpaid salary. That speaks to what “public service” truly means. Nothing much exists in the written history of the day about him and for good reason.
There’s a good reason why people (especially Congressional members) aren’t allowed to be armed in Congress while they debate the heated issues of the day.
“You can die down here.” is how Dylan once put it in a song.
Rational Human Beings Know They Aren’t
We must recognize Tench is the ONLY person EVER officially allowed armed into Congress. This was a public acknowledgement of both his ability as a soldier to slaughter them with the serviceable pair of sabers they conferred to him. He was purported to be very good with both hands. They also recognized the fact that the lives of every member of Congress had already been committed, entrusted, and protected by him all along.
They affirmed this man to be our first Secretary of State. He died before taking office of malaria contracted at Yorktown. They probably changed the Presidential salary clause in the Constitution because he did. But that’s another story.
“Freedom is a state of mind.”
This oft employed humanist quote, which I’ll intentionally avoid ascribing, is both intellectual and moral hogwash.
Freedom is about the ability to act - to do. One’s personal perception, expectation, and self-conscious assertion of those abilities, is simply not the same thing.
It seems to me these days many people miss this central point –
Freedom is Not About Intention
Right and wrong obviously aren’t about intention either unless we choose to make it so.
Don’t we seem spend an inordinate amount of time discussing just that?
A Person’s personal intentions are unknowable often even to themselves. Scientifically we’ve actually proved this. No joke.
Debates from any side or individuals which focus on this common delusion are a form of intellectual, moral, and social sophistry.
Them Be Strong Words
There’s almost an admirable artistry to how well the sophistry of intent is employed today. People do spend a fortune getting educated just to do it. That’s a matter for another serious post or two.
I’m Happy it’s the Fourth of July
I’m happy hot dogs are on sale. Yes! - Even the good ones.
I’m happy I can buy and consume them in the company of my family and friends with an inappropriate beverage of my choosing in my other hand while the smoke from our left coast barbeque grill someday fertilizes the reemergent hardwood forests in the far away Midwest and Northeast.
While unfortunately I DO know how sausages and laws are made and even how forests receive nutrients. I too get the Discovery channel. I’m happy to ignore these grosser facts now and then.
Certainly a day that celebrates our Founding Fathers telling the world’s super power to go shove it is a good day to do that. I try to keep in mind George probably said to Tench at Valley Forge,
“The army needs food and clothing. The men are starving and freezing. Don’t come back without supplies.”
My hot dog celebration isn’t freedom either but it does point much more closely to the real social and economic Truth of the matter than any prattle of intention.