Facts of freedom | VailDaily.com

Facts of freedom

Bennett Pollack Gypsum

Editor’s note: This letter is addressed to Vail Partnership Executive Director Michael Kurz in response to his column in last Friday’s Vail Daily.

What do you say we celebrate our country’s freedom by getting our facts straight? Your tribute to our country’s founders was nice, but if you insist on telling your version of our history then, dang it, get it right!

Specifically, your statement: “To do less is to compromise … something these men never did.”

There is no nice way to say this. The statement is dead wrong. Compromise saved the Declaration of Independence. Without compromise our nation doesn’t exist. Our founding fathers compromised on nearly everything.

Two examples: You quoted the phrase “life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The phrase originally read “life,liberty and property.” But some of the founding fathers were not comfortable with the idea of certain citizens and slaves having the right to own property. So they changed the very tangible right of “property” to the intangible idea of “pursuit of happiness.” Compromise number one.

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Speaking of slavery, it almost prevented the Declaration from being signed. Some Northern delegates, led by Benjamin Franklin, were adamantly opposed to slavery and wanted such language to be included. Most Southern delegates were adamantly for slavery and wanted no reference to it. How do you overcome such differences, Michael?

You compromise. Put simply, if our founding fathers didn’t compromise, our nation doesn’t exist.

Why does this matter? Our founding fathers were mostly classically educated ” some would say enlightened ” men. They knew that for a New England abolitionist and a Southern plantation owner to reach agreement it would require give on both sides. Compromise requires thought, introspection and a willingness to be flexible. Contrast those qualities with a person who doesn’t compromise, is unwilling to hear the viewpoints of others and isn’t too smart. What do you get? Over 4,000 dead Americans in an idiotic war.

Getting history right matters. Happy Independence Day!

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