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vanity | July 4, 2013 | Nathan Bedford

Posted on 07/04/2013 3:39:55 AM PDT by nathanbedford


"Is that when the thirteen colonies broke away from England?" My ten year inquired out of nowhere at 6 AM German time this morning. "Yeah, why do you want to know, eat your breakfast," I mumbled, too sleepy to be very curious. "Because I am afraid my teacher will ask me, since I am wearing this T-shirt and I'm the only American in the class." With an effort, I adjusted my gaze upward to his white T-shirt. It was brand new. Prominent on his breast was an image of the flag and below that:



Waking up now, I reflected that if the Old Navy company could so shamelessly trade on the image of the flag, it ought in decency at least amend the line below to:


But then I thought, what could be more traditional in America than commercializing the flag?

"Waddayamean, you're the only American in class, what's that got to do with the Fourth of July?" My paternal antannae were also coming to life. I remembered that the kids had sometimes returned from Gymnasium, German high school, and recited seemingly off-hand remarks from professors disparaging America and especially George Bush. Some of the hearsay reports had been pretty rough, describing America as killing Iraqis or causing global warming and the like.

"I think he will call on me to explain the Declaration of Indepencence to the whole class," masking his apprehension. "So, what will you tell them?"

"That is how we got free of England," he replied, in German. "That's right, as far as it goes. Never mind breakfast, lets get to the computer, it time to search FreeRepublic." A few minutes later we had a copy of the declaration printed out, with the font changed to italics for psuedo verisimiltude to the venerable document.

"There is actually a couple of ideas in here that are more important than announcing our break with England," I said, highlighting with a yellow marker this passage:

that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

And this passage too:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

"This means that who you are, what rights you have, come directly from God and not from the government. In fact, the government is there to serve you, as a child of God, not the other way around, and when the government takes away your rights, the government is not legitimate, and you can change it."

"What's legitimate?" Ah, " berechtigt," I answered. I must have gotten it right for he seemed satisfied with the translation and his Deutsch is better than mine. Handing him the printout, I said, "take this with you, read it on the bus, and when you get to class you tell them these ideas are America's gift to the world. A lot of people in Europe think your rights come from the government, not the other way around. No one had ever done this 'for real' before. Look what it says here just before where they signed it, it means they knew they were risking their lives:"

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor

"OK, dad, see ya."

An hour later, his mother asked me, "Did you give him a printout of the Declaration of Independence?" "Yup," I proudly responded.

She laughed, "He said, 'Dad really expects me to read this on the schoolbus'"

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Your Opinion/Questions
Every year my wife asks, "are you going to post your vanity about the Declaration of Independence again this year?" Her question is really rhetorical, she knows I intend to post it because it has become a tradition in the family much like whether your family opens your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. A family tradition for us as familiar as Thanksgiving turkey. Do you display the flag on Memorial Day?

For us, living as we do here in Germany, it is our way of holding fast to our America. Every year we keep the tradition and then await the reactions of FReepers which have been consistently gratifying and even heartwarming.

So the tradition goes on into its eighth year even as the imperative to return to and cling to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution becomes more urgent as our country founders in the midst of a terrible "fundamental transformation" imposed upon us, partly by stealth, by a marxist President who despises the nation created by the very Declaration of Independence we revere today.

"Transformed" by domestic forces within, we are buffeted by a multigenerational jihad against the principles which founded America. Our representative democracy is made more vulnerable, as any government of the people would be, by a financial crisis itself made worse, perhaps deliberately, by our own leaders bent on transforming America away from the only values which can save her. Even our judiciary rather than acting as the Protector of the Constitution seems to have turned its face from us.

The 10 year old boy in the anecdote exchanged his Tee shirt for a tie and a real suit four days ago and we all went proudly off to his high school graduation, his Abschluss from Gymnasium. Our parental expectations had been, to paraphrase John Kennedy, to send him into the world and onto college equipped with the best of both worlds, a German education and an American birthright, bequeathed to him by the founders in the Declaration of Independence.

He has a piece of paper, written out in German, certifying his accomplishment of the course of study laid out in an elite German high school. There is a piece of parchment reposing in the Library of Congress drafted by Thomas Jefferson but written in blood at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Chosen Reservoir, Tet, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan.

Both belong to him.... If he can keep them.

Happy Independence Day to all from all of us in Germany!

1 posted on 07/04/2013 3:39:55 AM PDT by nathanbedford
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To: nathanbedford

Happy Independence Day to you too!

2 posted on 07/04/2013 3:44:10 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: nathanbedford
Ganz gut. An Abschluß is nothing to sneeze at.

And happy Independence Day. A republic, sir, if you can keep it.

3 posted on 07/04/2013 4:01:14 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae. Vicit Leo de Tribu Iuda, Radix David, Alleluia!)
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To: nathanbedford

Well done sir, Happy Independence day

4 posted on 07/04/2013 4:05:03 AM PDT by verga (A nation divided by Zero!)
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To: nathanbedford
I'd like to join Commander Riker in applauding your most excellent post:

5 posted on 07/04/2013 4:05:59 AM PDT by Old Sarge (My "KMA List" is growing daily...)
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To: nathanbedford

God bless you! Happy Fourth!!

6 posted on 07/04/2013 4:07:31 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: nathanbedford

Well played, sir! Happy Independence Day!

7 posted on 07/04/2013 4:09:28 AM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: nathanbedford
Peaceful Independence Day to you Nathan, if you can remain strong enough to keep the peace.

I was stationed in Schweinfurt in the early 60's and we stayed in SS Troop's quarters {which were 100 times better than any US barracks} but the Germans were still recovering from the war and there were a lot of open wounds.

I spoke fluent German so my personal stay was great and I loved the food and beer.

8 posted on 07/04/2013 4:27:50 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages, start today.)
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To: USS Alaska
We live only a few kilometers from a former SS barracks which became an American rest area beginning in 1945 and was only turned back a few years ago to the Germans. You're right, the quality of these buildings extraordinarily high.

I remember well a large dining hall where we would occasionally go to have Sunday brunch when it was offered by the Americans (the only place back then where we could get real diet coke) which was remarkable for the fascist propaganda murals on the wall featuring Aryan farmworkers, both male and female, toiling in the fields bringing in the fascist sheaves. They bore a remarkable resemblance to all the propaganda posters made by communists that I have seen.

9 posted on 07/04/2013 4:37:19 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford

10 posted on 07/04/2013 4:44:41 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (Kim Jong Un won't have a single "bad underwear day" unless/until we've a patriot in the White House)
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To: y'all

11 posted on 07/04/2013 5:17:42 AM PDT by smokingfrog ( ==> sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: nathanbedford

Happy Independence Day to everyone here from a Stuttgart Freeper!

12 posted on 07/04/2013 5:41:04 AM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: nathanbedford

Well, what happened in class? Did they ask you son questions or what? What did he say?

13 posted on 07/04/2013 6:12:09 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (The Stupid Party, they've earned it.)
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To: nathanbedford

Really nicely done: nice light touch...

Happy Fourth!

14 posted on 07/04/2013 6:41:10 AM PDT by quicksilver123
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To: Jabba the Nutt

It has been eight years since I sent the boy at school of the Declaration of Independence but here's what's going on now in that school:

I was privileged to tutor many of these German kids in preparation for their extensive final exams in English, current events and history which gave me an opportunity to query them about the attitude among the faculty toward America.

It is my judgment that the academics in these elite German institutions are virtually the same as those in America ( except the German teachers talk funny) in that they seem really to be fond of the American people and the American culture but have profound disdain for George Bush and seem to have simply decided not to think anymore about Barack Obama. Their visceral contempt for Bush was only compounded by the Iraq war in which they feel fully vindicated in their opposition to that war.

Many Americans do draw their opinions about Germany from war movies and conclude that Germans are all latent Nazis. The truth is to the contrary, Germans as a whole would be comfortable on the left side of the American spectrum. The society is universally green and the regulations concerning disposal of trash are not to be believed. We have a very very small garbage pail which is emptied by the city only every two weeks and that at great expense. We have to sort glass from glass of different colors, glass from cans, cans from tinfoil, tinfoil from plastic, plastic from milk cartons, milk cartons from yogurt cartons, and on and on. Every Saturday we must cart these assorted debris to the local dump and distribute each of its kind into its own bin under the watchful eye of the only known Nazi in town.

The social net in Germany is the envy of the likes of Obama and yet the fiscal health of Germany is probably better than that of the United States. The economy thrives because of the training which the youth receive here and the continual upgrading of that training. The government is relatively incorruptible in pleasant contradistinction to our IRS. The police, believe it or not, are exceedingly polite.

So Germany is not just a place of Jack boots and leather britches but of high-technology, efficient agriculture-for the size of farms, first world health care, relatively honest government, and a culture not exactly of dependency but of security. All of this is at risk, however, as Germany's left drives the country according to the philosophy that diversity is strength.

We are treated well as Americans. I have never felt that I have been discriminated against in commercial deals, or my children in school were treated unfairly. I am not a joiner so I cannot speak with authority about the various social clubs to which the Germans seem to be addicted.

The kids I was tutoring were fascinated by the American constitutional system, by our winner take all two-party system, and by our history of slavery, Jim Crow, and civil rights. They grasped quickly the significance of the Declaration of Independence and they understood how the American Constitution worked as a model for their Constitution which was written in 1948 within sight of where I now live. They are lively, intelligent, and much like American teenagers in their addiction to their smart phones, American music, and their own little worlds. They can legally drink beer and wine at 16 and they do. But they do not as a rule drink and drive, their driver's licenses are too dearly earned to risk.

The observation that Germany is the European nation most like America is not original with me but I think it is true. By that I mean the give-and-take between among people is the same as one experiences in suburban America except, as I said, here they talk funny.

15 posted on 07/04/2013 9:34:33 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford

Last few years I have looked forward to your annual UNABHÄNGIGKEITSTAG post. Also, throughout the year, enjoy your thoughtful insights on other posts. Happy 4th!

16 posted on 07/04/2013 10:01:00 AM PDT by Sdrawkcab
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