article on how the settlers probably absorbed Iroquois notions of democracy
through representative government restrained by constitution
. Sure, they knew John Locke and had the Athenian example. But the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy was as concerned with what government couldn't
do as what it could -- and that's the killer app of US democracy. It is all but impossible to get all three houses of government on the same side, and that provides -- or "used to provide," I should say -- some protection against the "tyranny of the majority."
I watched three different fireworks last night, all from a beach in East Hampton -- we could see the Devon Yacht Club's fireworks up close, and Sag Harbor's, and Montauk's. Kind of cool to see everyone's fireworks all along the seaboard. It would have been cooler if I wasn't thinking of how much the question at the end of the Star Spangled Banner has really become a question: does that banner still wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave?
As an African American, I've always been pretty ambivalent about the Fourth of July. Just like celebrating the life of Washington, Jefferson, and a few other slave holding icons, I'm always conflicted between having a love of the possibilities of this country, and honoring the unrecognized sacrifices of my slave ancestors, and inherent hypocrisy in the history of America. Yes, that question mark still has no answers.
Whew, ignore that horrible sentence in my post. Too bad I can't edit. lol
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