Happy 240th birthday to the United States of America!
…and happy 144th to President Coolidge.
If I had to articulate the foremost principle of the Founding as succinctly as possible, I think it’d be hard to beat “live and let live.” It works better than “live free” (which is Gary Johnson’s campaign slogan– and it’s a good slogan, don’t get me wrong; it’s borrowed from the motto of the great state of New Hampshire, my birthplace– but I digress) because it reminds us to also let others live as they see fit, instead of leaving it at “do whatever you want.” It’s about swinging your fist freely but without punching anyone in the nose.
Granted, there were and are too many examples of the Founders and their posterity (i.e., “us”) ignoring this principle, but let that diminish them (and us) and not the idea itself. That idea makes this country different from and better than everyplace else on Earth combined times seven.
I attended the ’06 reunion a month or so ago. A former student asked if I had bought my ticket to Canada, given our apparent choices this November. My response was something along the lines of, “Why should I leave? They’re the ones who suck.” Election stuff next time.