If you don’t know what that building is and the role it played in the shaping of our country, you should be ashamed of yourself and in a way are partially responsible for the antics of the morons currently ‘governing’ us from television studios in Washington DC. As Jefferson wrote: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be”.
It is Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the place where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed and where the incredible compromises were wrought that became our constitution. Imagine what careful deliberation and contention and resolve must have characterized those proceedings. And oh yes, compromise.
The Founding Fathers – a bunch of farmers and shopkeepers – decided to declare their independence from an empire upon which the sun never set and figured out how to craft governing principles upon which all could agree. Sure there was (and is) imperfection of terrible sorts only some of which have been ameliorated by amendment. Still, the Constitution that we have today is largely the same document as the one adopted September 17, 1787 in the space you look upon above.
Why am I all worked up about it? Well, I just returned from about ten days in Philadelphia and my hotel was not far from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’s house, and all the rest. School’s in session so most of the guests in the hotel, and most of the tourists visiting the sites were foreign. Sort of visiting the sites. They weren’t open. Imagine. Imagine! These educated people from around the world had chosen to take the time and go to the expense to visit the cradle of our democracy – in admiration – only to find it closed.
I watched a variety of displays of incredulity, dismay, and disappointment. Imagine if you were from a newly democratic country on a pilgrimage anxious to genuflect and sing hallelujah only to find that the wealthiest nation on earth might not pay its bills. Bills representing expenditures upon which there had already been agreement!
The religious metaphors in the previous paragraph are additionally apt for a reason likely not to have come immediately to mind. I listened to several tour guides addressing different groups from disparate parts of the planet all using, one way or another, the word jihad to describe those who would let our government close for business and default on our debt.
You know what? I’ll bet the only thing that comes to the minds of those f***ers when they hear ‘Philadelphia’ is cheese steak.