If only George Washington had a body accessorized with steel components.
The British Army; nothing to ‘em.
Had Thomas Jefferson possessed the ability to shoot sticky spider webs from his wrists he probably could have more easily kept members of the Continental Congress in line behind his Declaration of Independence.
If only Alexander Hamilton could transform himself when angered into a green hulk of muscle he wouldn’t need a Broadway play to be remembered.
And, maybe if all that was not just fantasy, those and the other Founding Fathers and what they accomplished might be held in a tad more respect these days.
The calendar has turned to July, the height of summer and, of course, the Fourth of July, which in the 240 or so years since the Declaration of Independence was signed, and a new country born, at least in theory, has become less about history than the present.
The Fourth provides a day away from work for most, a chance to relax.
An opportunity to hit the beach, barbecue up some burgers, some hot dogs, down a cold beverage and the Fourth is the one day of the year one has a mitigating factor for shooting off illegal fireworks.
This is also a time of year for the blockbuster movie, which these days seem to revolve around words and actions in the comic books of my youth.
If I had only known I probably would have kept a few just to be able to follow along.
And, summer also brings a deluge of television shows that attest to the theory that America’s got talent, whether singing, dancing, tumbling, performing magic or, in several highlights I have seen, just acting like an idiot.
So, let’s perform something wild and wooly, and consider the roots of this holiday and, in sports parlance, the genuine Greatest of All Time.
The first group to demonstrate that indeed, America has talent.
The Founding Fathers as they are known were, generally, men common to their time, sporadically educated in the formal sense, but overwhelmingly possessing of schooling in multiple languages, advanced mathematics and what were considered the classics of literature, many from the Greek and Latin.
They have been leaders in their territories, but were barely known beyond.
They also were not without faults or their critics, hardly deities unrecognizable today.
For years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, as the Revolutionary War raged on, many of that Continental Congress worried that Washington would never earn the victory on the battlefield the Declaration required to be of any substance.
There were more than a few who questioned both Washington’s courage and intellect.
Jefferson, generally credited with the words of the Declaration, only grudgingly joined the Continental Congress because he didn’t want to stray from home, reportedly talked barely above a whisper when he did talk and opined about the evils of slavery while bedding his own slaves.
Benjamin Franklin, despite being of rather advanced age and achievement, was so promiscuous John Adams could barely stand to be in his presence when the two were in Europe seeking funding for the war effort.
Adams, in papers and letters, comes across as little more than a curmudgeon and possessing of considerable jerkiness, a man who could have lit up Twitter with his take on his fellow Fathers, but his legal mind and negotiating skills in Europe were critical.
And, of course, everybody’s favorite immigrant, Hamilton, born out of wedlock and as low a class as one could in those days, but who went on to create the fundamentals of the banking system that has provided the economic infrastructure of the country since.
The man had such a temper, these days he would be called a banty rooster behind his back, that he was generally hated outside his wife and children and his life was squelched in a duel when he was barely past the age of 40.
And, these days he might not have even gotten in the country.
In another time, another place, maybe, they would have been a somewhat motley crew, but somehow they came together over several hot, disease-riddled summers to draft and approve their “take a long walk off a short pier” to Britain.
They managed to hold together a nascent country despite regional differences that would fester another 80 years before erupting in a civil war, establish a Bill of Rights which would lead to a Constitution.
They established a military, a financial system and did it, this is the real doozy compared to today, after arguing for weeks in private only to project a largely unified front to a public somewhat skeptical of the whole affair.
They compromised, a concept completely foreign to politics today, and they did so, in the overwhelming majority, to establish something far greater than themselves.
That, in face of what passes for government these days, is alone worthy of celebration.
But one can’t help but wonder what the Founding Fathers would think of the spot and space, in people’s minds and souls, that their mind-boggling achievements have been relegated.
How something so monumental, establishing a country that still towers over the world more than 240 years later, could take such a backseat to day set aside for personal gratification.
Then again, I think I read that James Madison was a time-shifter...