The Spirit of '76
We all gathered together tonight, hundreds of American Olim, in Kraft Stadium, under a gorgeous Jerusalem sky to celebrate our other home, the United States of America on the occasion of the 230th anniversary of its independence. We listened to Bluegrass and Country Music, ate Burgers and Hot Dogs and reminisced about the Old Country.
Thirty years ago, I was in the exact reverse situation. On July 4, 1976 I was all camped out with friends on the banks of the Charles River, waiting for the fabled Boston Pops Fourth of July concert (accompanied by howitzers and fireworks) in celebration of America's Bicentennial. Part of me was, at the same time, six thousand miles away with the celebrations here in Israel at the thrilling rescue of the Entebbe hostages. Pride merged with pride. Joy merged with joy.
Judging from my experiences in 'flyover' America, the USA is still pretty resolute. Here in Israel, most people don't understand that New York and LA just don't represent America. (Certainly the NY Times, LA Times and the NYROB don't). America is still a 'sleeping giant filled with a terrible resolve' (as Yamamoto said, and discovered).
Israel, however, is another story. Ehud (I'm tired of fighting) Olmert and his pygmies are light years away from Israel of 1976. I suspect that they are as representative of the Jews of Israel as Michael Moore is of the average American. The problem is that Michael Moore is a stupid white guy and Olmert and Co. are actually in charge here.
In any event, on the way home from Jerusalem, I was thinking about things that we American-Israelis could give this country- not that the local elites will never accept them, but go know:
Freedom of Speech
Freedom to Freely Criticize Elected Officials
Freedom of Assembly
Writs of Habeas Corpus
No Bills of Attainder
Personal Legislative Representation
Accepting Responsibility for Errors
'Taking the Hit'
Belief in Our Right to Exist
"One Nation, Under God'
Legislative Ratification of Judicial Appointments
Trial by Jury
The Fourteenth Amendment
Finally, consider this:
Now I make it my earnest prayer that God would have you and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that He would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens and the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field, and finally, that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. George Washington (8 June 1783)