- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 1, 2010


A busy man this weekend. That would be William Barker, an eloquent actor who portrays Thomas Jefferson at Colonial Williamsburg. In the next 48 hours, he’ll also be holding forth at Monticello, the College of William & Mary and in Quincy, Mass. History is in his blood, and Mr. Barker does not tire of it. Ever. He passes on this advice to those who pine to feel patriotic stirrings come Fourth of July.

“Remember what Jefferson himself said about the Declaration of Independence, and I quote him directly, ‘it was intended to be an expression of the American mind and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion,’ ” Mr. Barker tells Inside the Beltway, noting that Jefferson drafted the document between June 11 and June 28, 1776, and it was adopted six days later by the Continental Congress.

“A month before Jefferson passed away, he received an invitation to attend a 50th anniversary celebration of the Declaration. In ill health, he declined in a letter, which we consider to be his last. And there is a message in it,” Mr. Barker advises. “Again I quote from him directly.”

The actor speaks in what could be considered a Jeffersonian accent - Virginian countryside with British embellishment - to deliver the words of America’s third president, about the very document he penned:

“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all, the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.”

“That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”


Not everyone in the nation’s capital will be clustered around the barbecue for the big holiday doings. Some - not The Beltway, of course - may choose to be coolly adrift on the Potomac River, nibbling fine things and watching the nation’s largest display of fireworks from the glass-walled Odyssey, a swank excursion boat.

Herewith the menu in part, not for New Year’s Eve, but for the “July Fourth Fireworks Dinner Cruise”: duck en croute, lobster bisque, shrimp and scallop melange, short ribs, mojito salmon, roasted chicken Santa Fe, rosemary and mint lamb shanks, roasted vegetable Napoleon, plus chocolate truffle torte and a chocolate fountain.


“American patriotism is not blind patriotism. Polls show that Americans find a lot to criticize in their society. But they still love their country, and they are not reluctant to say so,” says a new American Enterprise Institute analysis of such things (www.aei.org)

Surveys consistently reveal that over the last decade, about 86 percent of Americans consistently say they are “extremely” or “very” proud to be American. A public letter from one Australian to the nation has similiar findings.

“I was taken by a dear American friend to a baseball game, expecting to enjoy the game, drink a beer and soak up sporting culture. Instead, the most profound moment came when the entire crowd rose as one and listened as the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ was played,” says Sydney resident Rob Henry in a missive published by the La Jolla Light, a California newspaper.

“It was plain to see the open love and affection the U.S citizens feel for their flag, their anthem and their nation. I got goose bumps as I watched in awe, watched a level of patriotism I can only dream we here in Australia could manifest, to unite us as it obviously unites you.”

Mr. Henry also witnessed the Pledge of Allegiance during a local town meeting.

“I was humbled by the power of American patriotism … We, the rest of the world, can learn a thing or to about what ‘patriotism’ really means. It starts at home, in the hearts of people who share an ideal,” he observes.


“July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.” - President Ronald Reagan, in a speech made July 4, 1981.


“Secure the border before we try to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Sen.Jon Kyl advises President Obama, noting that despite the administration’s claims of progress, half a million people still illegally enter the U.S., most through Arizona - leaving folks like Arizona Gov.Jan Brewer to deal with it.

“All Americans would be better served if this Administration focused on implementing proven border security solutions rather than engaging in demagoguery and criticizing states that have been left to enforce immigration law because of the federal government’s unwillingness to do so,” Mr. Kyl adds.


• 84 percent of Americas say they would vote to continue using the Constitution as the fundamental law of the U.S.

• 69 percent say the document is “good” or “excellent,” 18 percent say it is “fair.”

• 62 percent say the Constitution should be “left alone.”

• 24 percent say “minor changes” are needed, 7 percent see a need for “major changes.”

• 53 percent of Republicans say the document does not restrict government powers enough.

• 39 percent of Americans overall agree.

• 34 percent say the Constitution puts the right amount of restrictions on the government.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted June 20-21.

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