It was a most unusual Fourth of July holiday.
While we, the American people, were celebrating the passage of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July, 1776, our only nationally-elected leaders, the President and Vice-President, seem to have forgotten its meaning.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
On this year's Fourth of July, the clerics in Iran's holy city of Qum, defied that country's authoritarian regime and "called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate." Meanwhile, as Iranians--even many of its mullahs--struggled to nurture democracy, the President of the United States stayed mute.
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
On this Fourth of July weekend, as Honduran officials risked their lives, their liberty, and their honor, the President of the United States sided, not with the rule of constitutional law, but with the likes of Fidel Castro and Venezualan strongman Hugo Chavez, who is "promoting socialist revolution to counter U.S. influence" according to Reuters, and whom the ousted Honduran president is trying to emulate by illegally extending his rule. From the Wall Street Journal:
"That (President Mel) Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress. But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chavez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela."
"...as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...."
On this Fourth of July weekend, after warning that it would launch a long-range missile at the United States--Hawaii--North Korea fired seven short range missiles, including four cruise missiles, an act intended as a provocation against the U.S. and the world community. The President of the United States did ... What?
"(T)wo senior officials in President Barack Obama's administration, speaking in advance of the launches, said any reaction was likely to be muted to avoid giving attention to Pyongyang or antagonize it. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly," according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the governments of South Korea, Japan, Great Britain and France forcefully condemned the launches. Yes, even France even seems braver than the Obama administration.
And on this Fourth of July holiday, the Vice President of the United States admitted that this administration "misread the economy" even as it was ramming through legislation to, in effect, nationalize GM and major financial institutions, extend federal intervention in state-run programs, and dole out unprecedented pork to its allies under the guise of economic stimulus.
Meanwhile, with both the federal deficit and domestic unemployment rates soaring, the President of the United States was headed to Moscow where he was ready to announce billions of dollars of investments--in Russia.
A most unusual Fourth of July, indeed.
William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author