Tag Archives: John Adams

Independence Day

1776 Ben Frnaklin telling John Adams, "Don't worry, the history books will clean it up."

1776
Ben Franklin telling John Adams, “Don’t worry, the history books will clean it up.”

It’s July 2nd – the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress voted for independence. John Adams predicted fairly accurately how we’d celebrate Independence Day, with parades, fireworks and such, but he figured that we’d celebrate the second, not the fourth.

The Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4th, which is why that date appears at the top of the document; “In Congress, July 4, 1776”, but the motion was voted on and approves on the second.

Incidentally, most of the delegates signed the Declaration on August 4th, not July 4th, with the last signature, Thomas McKean not being added until 1781.

However, this is all trivia. It makes things interesting, but does not detract from the importance of the event. A handful of accomplished but very human (i.e. flawed) men worked through their differences and created this great country of ours.

When we despair at the political antics we see today, perhaps it is good to remember that beloved Thomas Jefferson came in second to John Adams and therefore was Adams’ vice president. The next election cycle he hired an expert to run a vicious campaign against Adams accusing him of being a hermaphrodite, among other things. (For an interesting Mental Floss/CNN article, click [HERE]).

Our democratic republic is hardly perfect, but I argue that it’s as good as we humans can do.

P.S. As you know, I enjoy the Musical/Movie “1776” and have tried to make it a family tradition to watch it the weekend closest to the 4th. Unfortunately, there’s not too much enthusiasm, and in a year when I’m down to one child without a driver’s license, the chance for it becoming a tradition will be gone.

Style vs. Substance

NPR had an interesting piece on “All Things Considered” (<- Click for link) in which they rated presidents in terms of charisma. The last question by the interviewer was, “Could Washington be elected today?” The answer was “I don’t think Washington would have a prayer of being elected president today.”

Sorry, George.

How sad.

I accept the fact that it takes a different set of skills to get a job than it takes to actually do that job – perhaps with the exception of accountants and actuaries. Somehow I can’t envision a truly great CPA as being the model of wit and charm in an interview. It’s like hiring a skinny chef – something is wrong with that picture. I’d suspect a charming accountant of cooking the books and stealing from me, and a skinny chef as, well, not really capable of cooking anything.

I guess we are so enamored with style that we have given up on substance in many areas of our life. Roses used to have a distinctively pleasant aroma; in order to have a hardier, more commercially viable flower we essentially bred out the smell. A rose by any other hybrid name, does not, in fact, smell as sweet.

So we weed out Washington and the Jefferson and without a doubt the “obnoxious and disliked” John Adams in our quest for a prettier package.

Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.