Twelve score and 3 years ago (that’s 243 years) a bunch of old white guys sat around and argued what it means to have freedom, to have a government that represents the people and what it would take to make those dreams of a better future a reality. This week we celebrate their efforts and the successful experiment they began. We’ll do so with bbqs, tacky parade wear, pictures of dogs in red, white and blue outfits and little memory of what they were fighting for or against.
The 4th of July celebrations have become more about the barbecue and a good excuse to get off work for a day than remembering the principles and values that drove the Revolutionary War. Yes it was at the behest of slave owners, old white men and old white women benefited mightily from the economic power of ownership of others. The morality of the situation was overlooked by many of the founding fathers as they declared their independence from a disinterested and overreaching monarch.
How could that be? One might ask. Well it’s a human thing to put your own needs first, and to ignore the objectively wrong behavior when done in furtherance of survival of yourself, your family and your social standing. It’s what has driven many an atrocity throughout history.
The problem with this is how shall we, 243 years later, and theoretically more morally advanced, tease out the good from the bad. How should we consider those men who stood up to tyranny, only to maintain their own tyranny of African slaves? The problem with humanity is that we are so very complex. There are many moving parts that need to be calibrated. The Founding Fathers stood for freedom, individuality, property rights, freedom of speech and thought, while simultaneously denying those very same rights to the people they enslaved.
Ever since the end of the civil war and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution slavery and indentured servitude has been outlawed. At least theoretically. The abuses of the criminal system, the Jim Crow laws and the systemic racism that for decades was pervasive changed little for most blacks, and a goodly number of poor whites. Considering the usage by corporations of the large number of prisoners to do “customer service” work, along with the chain gangs that would repair roads and other “community service” type work, I could make a strong argument that we just changed the names, but kept the players the same.
We are making progress though on some fronts. We’ve had our first black President, and there were certainly more than enough votes for our first female President and it’s entirely possible that in this next election we’ll have a black female as President. It’s even possible that we could have a married gay man as a President or Vice-President.
Progress has been slow, jerky, and not equitable. But it is happening. All births are messy and the nation’s was no less so. It was hypocritical, illogical, and morally deficient in places, but it was also the beginning of something that has lasted for over 240 years, with regular exchanges of power, and for better and worse, a republican democracy.
Staying power is one proof of concept and we should endeavor to continue the trend and grow towards a more egalitarian republic where the truths that were laid down on July 4, 1776 are lived up to in all areas of our society; that “all men [people] are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
There’s another birthday that is being celebrated this weekend – Rocco’s Cheesecake is having a blowout celebration for their FIFTH year in business! Johnny Rocco has over 500 reviews on YELP that are 5 stars – which probably explains why he’s been able to achieve such an amazing accomplishment as keeping a small, niche item bakery not just alive, but prospering. Rocco’s has a selection of custom creative cakes and flavors that you are not going to find anywhere else because they come from his super creative mind! Have you ever tried a French Caramel Apple Crumble Cheesecake or a Baklava Cheesecake? If you’re looking for KETO cake or cookie, this place has them. Are you vegetarian or vegan and craving something sweet after dinner? Try some of the hundreds of options that Johnny Rocco makes. There are hundreds of creative cakes and you can come try them Tuesday to Sunday.
This Saturday though, as a Thank You to the community that has kept them alive and thriving, their throwing a Birthday Party from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be tons of food (hey, he’s Italian Whatdayathink he’d do?) vegan prizes, a KETO giveaway (he makes KETO cookies and cheesecakes, Fat Bombs and more!) ROCCO’S CHEESECAKE is located at 1701 Pico Blvd, across from Santa Monica College. Free parking on site.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra