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Happy Sixth Of July—Giant Declaration Of Independence

With the Fourth of July over for another year, your inclination might be to pack up your fifes and your drums and to go home.

(Both photos in this post copyright Neil Aquino 2011.) 

However, just as the forces of evil never rest, it is up to you to be engaged in the work of freedom each day.

Below is a giant Declaration of Independence leaning up against a tree. I took this picture in Houston on the Fourth.

I know with this being Texas, you might think this giant Declaration leaned up against a tree was being readied for a lynching by a states rights mob angry at all the founding documents of our great federal union.

This was not the case. Not yet at least.

Today–July 6–and every other day of the year, is the right day to know your history and to work hard to win the future.

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Gay Marriage Advance Part Of The Spirit of ’76

The Gay Marriage victory in New York must be seen as a progression from the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

But even more to the point, gay marriage is part of the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness pledged on July 4, 1776.

(Above—John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence. Painted in 1817.)

The Tea Party is smart enough to link their cause to our founding.

Let’s do the same with our better cause.

The advancement of the gay marriage across our great land is part of the progress of American liberty.

Whenever freedom prevails over intolerance, that is a victory for the Spirit of July 4, 1776.

(Below– Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delware. Painted in 1850.) 

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2011 Independence Day Events For Houston & Houston Area—Fourth Of July Reading List

(Update–6/24/12—Here is the list of 2012 Houston area Fourth of July events.) 

There will be many Fourth of July events in the Houston area this upcoming weekend. The Fourth falls on a Monday this year.

(Above–Fireworks.)

In addition to these events, you might also wish to take the time over the holiday and after the holiday to learn more about the American Revolution and American history.

You can start right here by reading and learning about the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives of the United States. 

Here at Texas Liberal, the view is that the Fourth of July is holiday of equal importance to all Americans. No side of the ideological debate in the United States has the upper-hand in who values The Fourth the most.

This post has links to events in Houston and, after these links, an Independence Day reading list. If you plan to head out on the Fourth in the Houston area, you might want to check to be sure that fireworks are still planned at your event. Our drought is ongoing.

Events—

* There will be a free outdoor concert put on by the Houston Symphony at Miller Theater in Hermann Park on the Fourth. The concert begins at 8:30 PM.  After the concert there will be fireworks.

* Bayou Bend Gardens on Memorial Drive in Houston will be hosting a free Fourth of July fesitval from 1 PM to 5PM.  There will be colonial music, a Betsy Ross presentation and a Declaration of Independence that you can sign.

* The big City of Houston event is Freedom over Texas.  This festival, which ends with fireworks, begins at 4 PM in Eleanor Tinsley Park.

* There are events over the holiday weekend in The Woodlands which include a Houston Symphony concert on Sunday the 3rd and a fireworks show on The Fourth. 

* There will be a variety of events in Galveston for the weekend of the Fourth.   These events will end on the Fourth with a fireworks display over the Seawall at 9:15 PM.

* The Galveston County Daily News publishes a daily list of Independence Day happenings for all of Galveston County.

* The good folks in Pearland are having an observance  for the Fourth at the Pearland High football stadium.  The festivities begin at 6 PM.

* There will be fireworks at Buffalo Run Park in Missouri City for folks in Fort Bend County to enjoy. This event starts at 7 PM.

* The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station will be offering up the free I Love America all day on the Fourth. I say without irony that this I Love America deal at the G.H.W.B. Library looks like a pretty good festival.

If there are events I’ve missed, please leave a comment and I’ll add them to the list.

Please also recall that we are having a drought. Personal use of fireworks has been banned—as far I can determine—for the entire Houston/Galveston/Fort Bend/College Station area.

Do you really want to be responsible for starting a grass fire or burning down a neighbor’s house in these hot and dry conditions?

Here is the reading list promised at the top of this post—- Continue reading

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Events Of American Revolution Do Not Offer Clear Answers For Today’s Issues—Everybody Is Welcome At Our Great Historical Sites

With the Fourth of July just over a month away, it’s time we take back our history from the right-wing Tea Party extremists who have been allowed to commandeer some portion of our past. The so-called Tea Party wants to use our shared American history in the service of the very un-American ideals of exclusion, and of benefiting the rich over the working man and woman.

One such Tea Party cell here in Texas is called the King Street Patriots. This Houston-based Tea Party outfit takes its name from the street in Boston where the Boston Massacre took place.

King Street is now known as State Street in Boston.

The effort to define our past is about finding justification for political positions in today’s debates. If we can prove that our viewpoints and actions in the present day match the intent of the folks who led the American Revolution, then we can claim that these viewpoints and actions have a special validity and are true to our founding ideals.

The picture above is of the Old Massachusetts State House on the former King Street. I took this picture while visiting Boston in 2008. The Boston Massacre occurred pretty much at the location from where I took the picture. The yellow balcony is the place where the Declaration of Independence was first proclaimed in Boston in 1776.

All people are free to visit this historic location. You can stand at the spot where the Massacre took place. You can tour the Old State House. People of all political beliefs are welcome. People of all nationalities are welcome.  There are no immigration checkpoints to see if people have the proper papers. People of all religions are welcomed. Nobody feels compelled to offer a prayer at this great and important site that favors one religion over other religions.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be writing about some aspects of early American history, and suggesting books and websites for people who would like to learn more.

The first book I’m recommending is Patriots–The Men Who Started the American Revolution by A.J. Langguth. Patriots is an accessible and detailed account of events leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.

Good luck in finding a clear ideological lesson for today in the events describes in Patriots or in any serious account of our independence.

Yes–In many ways the American Revolution was a tax revolt. At the same time, the streets of colonial Boston were covered with garbage and animal waste. Women were always pregnant and many died in childbirth. Many children died before reaching adulthood. Folks drank rum and beer all day long in part because clean water could be hard to find.

Would people back in colonial times have paid more taxes for better sanitation, better public health, and for clean water?

Who knows? Those folks are long dead and we live in a very different nation and world.

There is plenty to learn and understand from studying our past. We’ve got to know who we are and where we come from. But nobody can take events from more than 200 years ago, and feel that they now have all the answers to today’s public policy debates.

At least nobody who has any idea what they are talking about has this ability.

Don’t learn your history from this blog. And be certain that you don’t learn your history from far-right fanatics who glorify states rights and who want to return to the injustices of the past.

A clear example of why not to listen to representatives the far-right when they attempt to define our history can be found in this video clip of Sarah Palin talking about Paul Revere’s Ride. She simply has no idea what she is talking about.

Here are some actual facts about Paul Revere’s Ride.

Figure stuff out for yourself.

Don’t let other people define your past, and then seek to shape your future while you stand idly by.

June 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Texas Is Part Of The Federal Union—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

I’m writing this on the morning of the Fourth of July. It seems possible that bloggers such as TPA members would have spread word of the Declaration of Independence had we been around at the time.

Above is a copy of the Declaration. Here is a link to the text.

The right in Texas mumbles about secession on one hand, and then appropriates the symbols of our national unity on the other hand by going on about tea parties. They seem to be out of their minds with contradiction, misinformation and anger. Folks must not forget that Texas is part of the federal union and people in Texas collect social security, go the VA hospitals, are employed by the federal government, and make use of national parks.

Please have a nice holiday.

The round-up—

Neil at Texas Liberal offered up four reasons Bill White will beat Rick Perry and, in so doing, become the next governor of Texas.

John at Bay Area Houston saysBefore you run for Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, get a clue.

As people across the nation react to GASLAND now showing on HBO, TXsharon @ Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS reminds us that the FRAC Act, Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009, has no Texas co-sponsor.

Musings has a bloggers roundup from the convention.

It’s redistricting season again, and Off the Kuff comments on a report from a public hearing on redistricting in San Antonio. Continue reading

July 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Houston Fourth Of July Events—Will Texas Republicans Who Say Texas Should Leave Union Observe The Holiday?

File:Declaration independence.jpg

What will be going on in Houston and around Houston this Fourth of July?

Will the near-majority of Texas Republicans who say that Texas would do well to leave the union observe the holiday?  

( Above–John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence from 1819.  Please click here for a key as to who is who in the painting.)

Will parents talk to kids about the historical events around the holiday—even for just a few minutes—and in so doing provide the occasion with some meaning beyond just hanging around all day?

Here are facts about the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives.

Here is a link to more Independence Day facts and history

There are events in the Houston-area to mark the Fourth.

The City of Houston has an official fireworks show on the Fourth.  Please click here for the link to the event.

There are also other fireworks shows in the area. Here is a link with many of them listed.  

Galveston has many Fourth of July events.

Here is a later and  updated listing of events from the Houston Chronicle.  

Here are Fourth of July dog safety tips. Please keep your dog safe over the holiday. Your dog loves you.

Please have a nice and safe holiday. Please be careful with fireworks and be mindful that we are having a drought in the Houston-area and that every day is almost 100 degrees. You might be better off leaving the fireworks to the pros.

Please do not drink and drive over the holiday. The roads are full of drunks and nuts. Please don’t be one of these people.

Please have a nice holiday.

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments