In the close of HBO's wonderful 2008 series about America's second president, titled "John Adams," the voice of Adams is narrated by actor Paul Giamatti and it closes the seven part mini-series:
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.
These words were not dramatic flair of a modern day screenwriter but the actual thoughts of John Adams recorded by his hand in a letter to his wife, Abigail, in 1777.
As we celebrate this year’s Independence Day — and we should with passion and verve — it is easy to believe that John Adams repented in heaven long ago. The evidence for his needing to do so is everywhere: corporate welfare subsidies, national health care, confiscations of wealth and property and micromanagement of our lives by distant government bureaucrats.
Last week, a friend pointed me toward remarks made by U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat House Minority Leader in Congress in which she noted people will now celebrate "health independence."
"It (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) captures the spirit of our Founders …" she said, and then appears to add an odd allusion that this new law (also known as Obamacare) offers Americans greater "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in the tradition of our Founders' words. Watch the video here.
I understand that extemporaneous speech is difficult and it is sometimes easy to get discombobulated, but I do believe she was intentional in her attempt to link Obamacare to our Founders and the sublime Declaration they approved.
Of course, the Declaration first is a legal document declaring Independence from Great Britain and listing grievances with the King of England. One of my favorites and perhaps the most pertinent for this essay complained that, "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."
It is hard not to speculate that the Founders are rolling over in their graves over Rep. Pelosi's claims or at least repenting in heaven. Obamacare is a historic government intervention in the lives of countless Americans who neither want the program nor the bill when it comes due.
Is it too much to ask politicians the world over not to stuff themselves into every arena of American life? As we celebrate the 4th of July is it not too much to ask for a little independence?