July 1, 2009
[efoods]John Adams is probably rolling over in this grave. On July 3, 1776, Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that the second day of July — later changed to the 4th — “ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Fast forward more than two hundred years after Adams wrote this. Not only do far too many Americans have but a faint inkling of what the day represents, they have also come to accept the injuries and usurpations that inspired the Declaration of Independence and led to war with Great Britain.
The British Crown had “sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people” with illegal and unwarranted searches, most notably the Excise Act of 1754, which gave tax collectors unlimited powers to interrogate colonists concerning their use of goods subject to customs and permitted the use of a general warrant known as a writ of assistance, allowing them to search the homes of colonists and seize “prohibited and uncustomed” goods. These “grievous and oppressive” searches figured prominently in the revolution and led to the Fourth Amendment.
On July 4, 2009, the city of Pasadena, California, will celebrate independence by erecting checkpoints to search vehicles for fireworks. “Violators are subject to confiscation and impound of vehicles, up to one year in jail and fines up to $50,000,” reports the Pasadena Star-News.
So much for John Adams’ “illuminations.”
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