Thursday, July 4, 2013

237 And Counting

A friend quite rightly suggested online that we should all take a moment to remember what the July 4th holiday is about (beyond food cooked on a grill, that is). This brought to mind the musical 1776. Though it takes some liberties with historical facts, the show masterfully depicts the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

What makes it especially relevant for us today is the way it shows government and the men who formed it (with not inconsiderable contributions from women) for what they really are and always have been in our history. These founding fathers are neither the infallible icons nor the over-entitled patriarchal devils of political extremists' fantasies. Rather, 1776 shows them as flawed but nonetheless gifted men who were able to recognize and seize a moment in history. Likewise, the republic they founded - and the process if governing it - is messy and imperfect, especially when it comes to matters of great importance.

This trailer for the early-70s film version encapsulates that quite nicely amid the singing (sorry that the sound quality is iffy in spots).