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Friday, July 4, 2008

The greatest document ever signed

Happy 4th of July Folks. Even though I'm stuck working the holiday, doesn't mean I can't still celebrate. I started with a free midnight meal our bosses provided, and now I'm here looking up neat 4th of July facts.

I found this really cool website with all the original documents, transcripts, and some cool information. I kind of enjoy perusing this kind of stuff.

Here are some pretty cool facts:
  1. Not all members of the 2nd Continental Congress supported a formal Declaration of Independence, but those who did were passionate about it. One representative rode 80 miles by horseback to reach Philadelphia and break a tie in support of independence.
  2. Independence Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when it was unanimously approved by the 2nd Continental Congress.
  3. However, it was not observed as a holiday until after the War of 1812
  4. And, it was not declared a legal federal holiday until 1941.

This site was pretty cool too. When I first learned the song Yankee Doodle when I was in kindergarten I wondered what a Yankee noodle was. Well, Yankee is believed to be a misinterpretation of the word English, and Doodle is supposed to refer to a dumb person.

So, while it was used in the past as a "derogative" song, it was sang by the British to make fun of the American Colonists. The colonists in turn adapted this song as their own and made it their own "rallying anthem."

Anyway, I love the picture I pulled out for this post. It shows how hard the founders worked at creating the worlds most perfect document. I wonder what the world would be like today if these guys were still alive.

I sometimes wonder what the world would be like today had that document not been signed. City life would be like living in the 1800s, and we would still be riding around in horse and buggies, living amid dust and horse poop and the bugs and rats that come with it. And a world far more polluted than it is now because we wouldn't have the technology to clean it up as much as we do now.

Sure we have pollutants in the air today, but without modern technology, we may not have the scrubbers in coal factory chimneys to filter out most of the crud. Human feces would still be a problem, as toilets may never have been invented, let alone the ability to purify this crud and keeping it safe for our water supply.

Instead of having clean drinking water, we'd be drinking water which is a breeding ground for diseases, and we would not have the know how nor the technology to fight these diseases.

As the worlds population grew, and industrial factories, coal burning would have accelerated with no fear of global warming as the current activists wouldn't have the time to be active, as they'd be working to survive as people did in the 1800s. People had far less luxury time in the primitive world as we do today.

Smoke would be billowing from the growing number of homes, and this would far exceed the pollutants we have in the air today, because there would no contraceptive devices to allow families to control the number of children they have, and there would be no population control.

There would be less sanitation, and the ability to fight diseases may never have been discovered. Polio would have ripped through the world, and would be scientists would still be working on their primitive farms instead of having the time to invent and discover.

Sure there probably wouldn't be the prevalence of COPD and asthma as there is today, because the sky rocketing rates of these diseases are often theorized to be the bi products of the modern, clean world we live in. And life expectancy would be primitive as well, decreasing the need for long term nursing homes and longevity.

Diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons never would have become an issue, as these diseases are the result of longevity for the most part, a longevity that may never have arrived

There probably would still be hospitals, but the use of oxygen may not have been as huge as in the post WWI big boom in cigarette sales era and rise in lung cancer and COPD. People would still get pneumonia and other lung diseases, but the era of discovery may never have arrived. Many of these disease infested people would simply suffer and die in their homes.

Food would be less safe, as we may never have invented quality assurances to guarantee safe foods. Likewise, we may never have invented pesticides and chemical fertilizers that provide us with an abundance of safe foods.

Even the poorest in America today can afford to buy fresh produce from a local market. And those who can't usually can get fair government assistance to do so. Would it be this way had Ben Franklin persuaded other members of the 2nd Continental Congress against signing that document.

The ABG machine and other lab technologies so important to our medical field may never have been discovered, let alone the ability to know what pH, CO2, PO2 or hemoglobin is. The hypoxic drive theory that drove this profession for its first 50 years would never have been concocted, let alone disproven. That type of deep research would be left to a far fetched country with a booming economy to afford such luxuries.

The iron lung would have remained the work of fiction writers, and the technology we have today to allow people with life threatening diseases to get over the hump and live another 20 years would be a pipe dream. So to would be the ability to give babies born with abnormalities, or born too early, a chance to survive past birth.

People complain today about how bad we have it. I hear it every day. I hear people wining because they have to wait too long for the Internet, or wait too long in the emergency waiting room, or wait to long for their pain medicines. I can't help to think when I hear these people that they are taking what they have, what we have, for complete granted.

They do not think that millions have died to allow us the luxury time to complain. They died to give us the freedom to cry out that our president isn't doing enough to fight global warming. They complain that technology is destroying the planet, while at the same time scientists are working hard to improve technologies to make a cleaner and safer world.

These people never thank God for Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. They never thank God that new technologies have actually made the world cleaner and safer. They never thank God when progress is made. And lots of progress has been made.

Sure there is a ton more progress to be made, and concern for the environment, concern for slow emergency rooms, is needed. Without concern there never would be progress. My dad always said, without complaining lazy people nothing ever would be invented.

He may have been right about that. But without that founding document, the know how and the technology may never have come about for these lazy complainers to invent and discover with. Let alone, since the economy never would have boomed, there would be little time to be lazy nor to complain.

Why? Because it is the wealth that has been derived as a result of American freedom, American capitalism, that has made us lazy, and gives us the ability to complain, the ability to be concerned for the sick, for the poor, for the lazy complainers.

So, what we have in this world is pretty darn good compared to what life was like even 100 years ago, let alone on those hot, musty, bug infested days when the founding fathers had to lock themselves in a burning hot room with the windows shut so no onlookers would hear what they were talking about...

...while they wrote their document free hand instead of on a word processor.

Furthermore, most people born with diseases like myself never would have made it out of childhood. So perhaps disease would be the one population control we'd have. Yet, population would not be a concern to environmentalists, as they would not exist in this alter world.

So we should all take the time not just to celebrate the 4th of July, but to really think for a moment how great we have it compared to our forefathers, and compared to other nations where freedoms do not exist.

Happy 4th of July.

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