“Just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry…

  and I’m not throwing away my shot.”

            Imagine. It’s July 4, 1776. You are living in Philadelphia. You are twenty-five years old. You hang with Aaron Burr, who is 20, Betsy Ross, 24, Alexander Hamilton is 21 years old and Thomas Jefferson is the old guy at 33.

America is a cozy little country with a population of about 2 million immigrants; Dutch, British, Scotch, Irish, Swedish, German and Africans–native people’s were not even included in the population count. It’s an exciting time, it’s a wild ride. You have a vision for a new form of government. Like Abe would later say—of the people, by the people and for the people. You and your twenty-something friends declared war against the British last year. It’s called the American Revolution.

You want sovereignty. You don’t want to be a subject of the King of England. You want space. And you want to be able to govern yourselves. (Full transparency, though I wasn’t in the room where it happened, I’m sure there’s more than a shred of truth to it. Many things may have gotten lost in the translation, some blown out of proportion, others just down-right forgotten. But you get the gist of it.) On the 4th of July, 1776, a group of men signs the Declaration of Independence. (I’m sure there were women in this story too, but many of their names fell by the wayside. As is so often the case.)

The Declaration starts like this: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”

And then it goes on to say this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Just like twenty-somethings, right. “I want my independence. I want to govern myself. I know what’s best for me—don’t tell me what to do.” And yet, listen. You guys are on to something. You aren’t just complaining about what you don’t want. You have a vision. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t completely inclusive. It isn’t always just. But it is a vision that has room for improvement. It is a vision that can grow with the times. It is a work in progress.

Imagine. You are sitting at the table in the room where it happened. Creating a vision for a new country. Imagine the exhilaration. The promise. Don’t let yourself down. Keep the vision alive. Bring it current.

“Just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry and I’m not throwing away my shot.”  

3 comments on ““Just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry…

  1. Davia,

    I appreciate your retro-vision and the much needed pep talk.

    However awkward it may be, I feel obliged to point out that in your storytelling, you forgot the native people, an unintentional omission I am sure.

    Keep up the good work.

    love,

    Susan

    • Susan,

      I’m glad you mentioned native people’s. I didn’t forget. Ironically I was trying to make a point about how everyone (except for native people’s) were immigrants–but I guess it was a little too subtle! I reread what I wrote and see how what I said is way too subtle–so I made some changes to the piece! Thank you again.

  2. How amazing that a scrappy group of 20- and 30-somethings came up with the system of checks and balances that keeps us safe from any would-be dictator to this day. Last Wednesday evening, I sat with my Friends amongst a crowd of 15,000 people at Ft. Totten Park in the most diverse county in the US,, all enjoying themselves, the music and the glorious fireworks over Little Neck Bay. I was reminded of everything that is great about this country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *