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Maybe tanks do make sense for July 4th

Today we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, but we have to acknowledge that it was far from perfect.

It was meant to apply only to rich landowners. It describes Native Americans as “merciless savages” and it has a glaring inconsistency: zero mention of slavery at a time when there were over half a million slaves!

Yes, I know the founders were creatures of their times and had no idea slavery might be wrong. Except, they absolutely knew it was wrong. We know they knew because Thomas Jefferson’s original declaration included a paragraph condemning slavery, calling it an “execrable commerce.”

Jefferson put that in because he knew any educated reader would find it hypocritical for rich colonists to complain about King George’s despotic tyranny when they themselves were enslaving more than half a million people.

However, Jefferson also needed the signatures of Georgia and South Carolina, as well as the northern states that got rich on the slave trade. So, he quietly deleted the offending paragraph. He knew that signing up allies for the fight to come was more important than rhetorical consistency. Plus, there was no way was he going to release his slaves.

It tells me maybe it is appropriate to make the 4th a military celebration. The moral argument for independence was pretty weak. The real purpose of the document was to raise an army that could win.

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