Tag Archive 'American Revolution'

Oct 12 2013

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Revolutionary Ideas

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Saratoga Nat PkThe morning after doing a reading and book-signing event in Saratoga Springs, I drove over to Saratoga National Park. Thanks to the government shutdown, brought to us by those bumbling fools in Congress, the park was closed. That made it irresistible to me, unrepentant trespasser that I am.

I followed the Wilkinson Trail through the battlefield, kicking up heavy dew along the way. Crickets chirped incessantly. The sun rose steadily into a partly cloudy sky, illuminating the brilliant orange, gold and rust-colored foliage. Deer watched me intently from the edge of the trees. A woodpecker knocked in the distance. Otherwise all was quiet and still.

Upon reaching the Breymann Redoubt, a slight rise in the rolling landscape where a field gun stood, I felt the distinct presence of ghosts – of those who fought and died for ideas so revolutionary that they seem as impossible today as they did 236 years ago. Here the tide turned.

In a document written by those idealists a year earlier, they had claimed: “All men are created equal… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And in October of 1777, on this knoll, they defeated an army of the most powerful nation on earth to make their point.

There are people living today who think it was all about taxes. Either they just don’t get it, or they’re too damned selfish to accept what “We the People” really means. As fiercely self-reliant as I may be as a woods wanderer, I know where my freedom comes from and how tenuous it is these days.

As I finished my walk, a park ranger came along and informed me that I had to leave. I gave him no trouble, not wanting to make his job any harder than it already was. I could tell from our brief exchange of words, though, that he was no happier than me about the recent turn of events in Washington. Clearly “We the People” are not being served well by our elected officials. It’s a sorry state of affairs to be sure.



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