Hello everyone and welcome to It’s All About Money for Monday July 9th.
Last week my intention was to take a long Holiday weekend concluding with the 4th of July. I had every intention of being back in the saddle on Thursday, July 5th, followed by the week in review on Friday, July 6th. But alas, sometimes, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men. No illness befell me or any other problem that would have altered my plans. However I was struck by an incident that occurred on Tuesday that required my full attention.
Through the years I have watched various interviewers go amongst the public to seek out answers to simplistic historical questions. The responses were not only funny and idiotic but also down right sad. Usually the participants were younger folks on vacation or on campus. Most of the time I simply dismissed these interviews as set ups to invoke amusing TV. I never gave them another thought until I was thrust into a similar situation. I was not the interviewee. I became the interviewer.
It all started when the plumber who was finishing up a sink job, that I was in need of, wished me a happy 4th tomorrow. He then asked me what I would be doing to celebrate. I don’t know why, but I just had the inclination to inquire of him what would be the best way to celebrate. Perhaps if we knew why, we were celebrating, it would help determine the best way to celebrate.
He informed me that it was the day that our founding father (not father’s) signed the Declaration of Independence. A good start. But I asked “wasn’t it father’s not father?”
At this point I want to clarify that I will not identify anyone’s age, race or gender in this narrative since there is enough idiocy to go around.
“No,” he said, “it was just Lincoln that freed the slaves and gave them their ‘Independence’ in his ‘Declaration.’”
“Hmmmmm, I didn’t know that,” I said “but it makes sense.”
“Have a great 4th” he said, leaving me in a total quandary. Perhaps I had been misguided in my understanding of history and especially this most sacred of holidays. I decided to become better informed, so I could much improve the quality of reporting to you, my IAAM audience.
Thursday and Friday I spent several hours in grocery stores, convenience stores, a bar or two, and other place that the simple folk, like myself gather. My intention was to find out what the average American understood about the WHAT, WHY, WHEN and WHO regarding July 4th, 1776.
(Remember, no descriptions to protect the innocent) WHEN, should have been simple, since my question was phrased exactly this way.
Question: What was the date of the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776. Over 60% said sometime in the 1800’s. This goes to one’s ability to listen not necessarily one’s knowledge of history.
WHY was it signed brought some very interesting responses. Perhaps the most was to declare our breaking away from Mexico. My favorite was the addition of our victory at the Alamo which secured our Independence.
The WHO needed a little help from me. I offered signees such as Abraham Lincoln (learned from my plumber), Sam Houston and Davey Crockett, Teddy Roosevelt and Jesse Ventura. Most seemed to agree that this was a formidable group of signees. When I mentioned John Hancock most thought that it was a good insurance company but failed to see the relevance to July 4th.
WHAT this was all about created the most confusion. All seemed to be in agreement that the signing created a war. That however was where the final unraveling of history sent me over the edge dear reader. Obviously Mexico figured prominently in who our adversary was, others thought Russia, some said Germany and Japan and others said France. (I corrected that interviewee by stating France was actually an ally). One person said he thought the King but was sketchy which King it was.
Having completed my little foray into the land of HUH! by noon on Friday, I felt in no condition to do a Week In Review. I did decide, to return to a different watering hole and ponder that which I had learned about my fellow Americans and their understanding of the 4th of July: a day to not work, drink beer, eat hot dogs and celebrate Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves.
I’ll be back tomorrow now that I’ve got certain things cleared up.
Have a nice evening.