Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"We Shall All Hang Together...."

I'm reading a biography of Ben Franklin in which the author recounts the circumstances that led up to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. This extraordinary document has been used as the blueprint for fledgling democracies all over the world. At the time of its signing, John Hancock, whose familiar signature stands out among all others said: "We shall all hang together", to which Ben Franklin added: "...or most assuredly we shall all hang separately". These men risked their lives and all they possessed to put an end to the tyrannical rule of King George III over Britain's American colonies. Against all odds they fought and won the Revolutionary War so that they could live free. What ever happened to that patriotic fervor in the United States?

My wife was summoned for Grand Jury duty and reported this week to serve. As it turns out, they didn't need her and she was excused. She was there long enough to witness a scene that illustrates how people's feelings about their country and what it stands for have changed. As the clerk questioned each prospective juror, the litany of excuses was pathetic. My health, my job, my beliefs, blah, blah, blah. After giving a series of instructions, the clerk asked who did not speak English. One gentleman stepped forward and said that, despite being in the country for 18 years, he did not understand English well enough to serve. The clerk said: "You understood my instructions well enough...not excused!" (Sorry, trick question.)

Many foreigners who are welcomed into this country and allowed to live free, practice their religion and earn a good living show no appreciation for these privileges. They see America as a golden ATM where they can start a business, (they quickly learn the advantage of a cash business so they can underpay their taxes), and send money back to their country of origin. Many have no desire to live here permanently, just to stay long enough to finance their retirement in the land of their birth. Don't get your shorts in a knot...I'm not saying all immigrants do this, but certainly enough to be noticeable.

Native-born Americans are not exempt either. The first thought many citizens have on receiving that jury notice is: "How can I get out of this". Our system of justice, flawed though it may be in some respects, is still the best system in the world. We don't chop off people's hands for stealing something to eat, or stone our women for not covering their faces. We do however rely on seating juries of our peers to judge guilt or innocence. This means men and women from all walks of life, not just the senior citizens who repeatedly volunteer for jury duty to supplement their income. Serving on a jury is a citizen's duty to help maintain the greatest democracy the world has ever known.

Back in 1776, Americans wore their patriotism on their sleeves. Down through the years, men and women have given their lives to preserve the liberty and independence carved out for this country by men like Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Lincoln. Why do some people today feel the need to apologize for America's greatness before the world? America's way of life is the envy of the world, and America's form of government is the template for every freedom loving people. Our country works from the bottom up, NOT the top down. Show your pride in America by participating in its democratic institutions...thank God we live here and run, don't walk, to answer that jury duty summons. It's not a nuisance, it's a privilege.


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4 comments:

Joseph Del Broccolo said...

The problem with this country is that we have become champions of the underachievers. We tend to defend those that do not belong here, and we reward them with the benefits my grandparents were never afforded. We make it easy for the incompetent, and we reward them with privileges they do not deserve. Instead of allowing people into this country who produce, who have a want and need to succeed, we allow people who can't learn to speak English, who work off the books, and who live off of my labor. No wonder they disrespect the flag, or the obligation that goes with defending and protecting that flag. When we put quotas on European immigration, we began the beginning of the end of this country's pride. I have however, seen very little disappointment out of the Asian community, they it seem, have continued to be productive and law abiding.

Jim Pantaleno said...

You are so right Joe, but the legions of the politically correct will never acknowledge the truth of what you say.

The Whiner said...

I'm printing this blog and saving it for the next time you get a jury duty summons. ;)

Jim Pantaleno said...

They won't call me...I want to fry everybody.