the Destiny of a Nation

(7 pm. – promoted by DDadmin)

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

Excuse me folks, I’m having a moment.

Okay, so I’ve been more or less AWOL from Docudharma, and blogs and politics and all that, in general. I’ve wandered around here and there, I have danced around in my head in and around All That Sits Before Me… i.e. “politics”, world, earth, issues, people, pie fights, racism, oligarchy, homeland insecurities, and all kinds of an array of things in between.

I thought I’d take a bit of  a break and wander off on a kinda goofy tangent, something NOT political, for a brief time… a pleasant and maybe interesting distraction. Little did I know…

there is No. Such. Thing.

My recent distraction? I’ve teamed up with my oldest sister (the other DFH, I have 3 sisters total, Im the youngest) and we decided to investigate and document some of our family history ancestry. She and I have been back and forth on the phone and the internet, revisiting a significant batch of info that we do have, and have had, in our possession for many years, but are now thrilled to find this one big chunk of it online, uhm, kind of a Big Deal, in a way. This little “book”, well, Dad made copies for all of us years ago, a treasure, and it’s now online.  Just discovered that. It’s a well done geneological trace that ends at my P/Grandmother and starts back with our British-born ancestor who landed almost at Plymouth Rock literally (5 miles north) in 1638.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

Now…  I know I can ramble. I’ve been known to ramble a bit. But never in all my joking… “ya know, the story starts with my ancestors when they landed at Plymouth Rock…” did I really think that I actually did have ancestors who arrived at (near) P.R. But they did. The father and mother and newborn babe departed the tyranny of England bound for the New World in search of…. freedom … in 1638. The father died en route shipboard, but his wife and infant son made it and they, and their progeny, settled in New England… Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, parts of eastern Ohio that used to be Connecticut and so on.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.

My Dad’s Ohio hometown … I found this online about the area:

“Trumbull County also played a significant role in the Underground Railroad movement. As early as 1823, local citizens were helping fugitive slaves escape to the north. By 1837, Trumbull County had… 30 anti-slavery societies with membership totaling close to 1,500. And according to historians, Trumbull County had more escape routes than any other county in Ohio — 153 miles. … “Stations” were scattered throughout the county and there were 22 official “conductors.” Many of those hiding places are still standing today.”

I don’t have any specifics in my research yet regarding my family in this, but I’ll take it, just in a general sense. Frankly, this is just an aside. Just figured I’d toss that in.

Anyway…

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.

… I have not yet begun to investigate and explore some of the other lineage directions I have in my family trace. The above is my Dad’s side, his Mother, and that’s well documetned so it’s a good place to start. On my mother’s side, it’s a straight shot to Ireland, and much more recent than Dad’s. Her people came here in the wake of the Potato Famine, as I understand it. Economic refugees, possibly, but also in search of religious freedom, opportunity, and this wondrous promise of a nation founded on ideas of participatory democracy and justice for all. Cliche as that may sound, they came willing to face whatever the obstacles and make their way, ultimately settling in the beautiful Berkshires of western Mass. where my mother was born.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

My people did not come to this country with false hopes or fictional fantasies or delusions. They knew it would not be easy. They brought with them very little but the shirt on their back and their beliefs and values in the abilities of the goodness of the human spirit to endure and prevail over tyranny and oppression. There are no Kennedy’s in my lineage, no Rockefellers or DuPonts. Just good hard working earnest people.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

sigh.

Two things have leaped out at me in my delving.

One, in the P/Gmo line is my Vermonter/Massachusetts ancestor who was a Minute Man in the War of ’76 and the primary ancestral checkpoint for my potential official eligibility in the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). Really. I know, how weird is that?

He was, it’s on record in the township, a signator on this historic document, that gave me pause when I read it for the first time yesterday.

The following, termed “the Covenant signed in Lenox, 1774,” was, by a unanimous vote of the town, in 1828, ordered to be put upon the town records, ” at the special request of Hon. William Walker and Col. Elijah Northrup, the only persons now living in the town whose names are in the following list.”

Whereas the Parliament of Great Britain have of late undertaken to give and grant away our money, without our knowledge or consent, and, in order to compel us to a servile submission to the above measures, have proceeded to block up the harbor of Boston; also have or are about to vacate the charter and repeal certain laws of this province, heretofore enacted by the General Court, and confirmed to us by the king and hยป predecessors : therefore, as a means to obtain a speedy redress of the above grievances, we do solemnly and in good faith covenant and engage with each other,-

1st. That we will not import, purchase, or consume, or suffer any person for, by, or under us, to import, purchase, or consume in any manner whatever, any goods, wares, or manufactures which shall arrive in America from Great Britain, from and after the first day of October next, or such other time as shall be agreed upon by the American Congress; nor any goods which shall be ordered from thence from and after this day, until our charter and constitutional rights shall be restored, or until it shall be determined by the major part of our brethren in this and the neighboring colonies, that a non-importation or non-consuniption agreement will not have a tendency to effect the desired end, or until it shall be apparent that a non-importation or non-consumption agreement will not be entered into by the majority of this and the neighboring colonies, except such articles as the said General Congress of North America shall advise to import and consume.

2dly. We do further covenant and agree, that we will observe the most strict obedience to all constitutional laws and authority, and will at all times exert ourselves to the utmost for the discouragement of all licentiousness, and suppressing all disorderly mobs and riots.

3dly. We will exert ourselves, as far as within us lies, in promoting peace, love, and unanimity among each other, and for that end we engage to avoid all unnecessary lawsuits whatever.

4thly. As a strict and proper adherence to the non-importation and non-consumption agreement will, if not seasonably provided against, involve us in many difficulties and inconveniences, we do promise and agree, that we will take the most prudent care for the raising of sheep, and for the manufacturing all such cloths as shall be most useful and necessary, and also for the raising of flax, and the manufacturing of linen; farther, that we will, by every prudent method, endeavor to guard against all those inconveniences which might otherwise arise from the foregoing agreement.

5thly. That if any person shall refuse to sign this or a similar covenant, or, after having signed it, shall not adhere to the real intent and meaning thereof, he or they shall be treated by us with all the neglect they shall justly deserve, particularly by omitting all commercial dealing with them.

6thly. That if this or a similar covenant shall, after the first day of August next, be offered to any trader or shopkeeper, in this county, and he or they shall refuse to sign the same, for the space of forty-eight hours, that we will, from thenceforth, purchase no article of British manufacture or East India goods from him or them, until such time as he or they shall sign this or a similar covenant.

Witness our hands, dated at Lenox, this 14th day of July, A. D. 1774.”

Okay… ya know…. dayum! My great great great great grandfather, Rufus Branch, signed that Covenant.

Now. I just have to toss in this very quick disclaimer, just cuz, well, I just have to. If I had discovered a slaveowner or something in my lineage, so what. (I still might, althoguh I doubt it.) If so, I would, here  and now, renounce and rebuke that. It’s not like that crap is transmitted by DNA. That’s all. So, now, having said that, I will say this: Woo hoo, Grandfather Rufus, I hereby, and now on this date, co-sign on the sentiment and  principles therein!!! Well, except for the sheep part.

Those people in this country right now who are clamoring on and on about tea party and patriotism and lumping that in with their bigotry and hate…? and claiming some pack of lies to distort and pervert the ideals of the founders who were actually against tyranny? To them I say: Fuck you. How dare you. Piss off.

phew. Okay, listen, I know this has gotten kinda long. I still have that Second Thing to address. It’s worthy of its own separate Essay, and maybe I’ll have to attempt that as it’s gotten rather late.

It’s about my Dad’s cousin Dwight. Yes, I believe I’ll save that for another day. Maybe tomorrow. We’ll see.

What an odd thing to realize that, yes, I, and my own daughter, now age 13, really could qualify for the DAR, conceivably. Always thought they were pretty right wing, right? I dunno. But, sister #2 tells me, well, hey they do award college scholarships, so maybe you should look into it, for your kid. Uh, no, I dont think so.

My feelings along about now are more in the direction of wishing I could join or even spark a new movement, a New Daughters of the American Revolution, 21st Century Redux. For my daughter, our daughters, and sons.

And just rambling & giving more thought to the destiny of this nation…. and planet. Seems to me about all we’ve got left is barely a toehold on it.

6 comments

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    • Diane G on January 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Great story, and I’ve missed you ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. such a great word. So deranged right now. Seems so big this country, that started out with thirteen colonies. Seems these colonists knew the value of a boycott and even then had a good grasp on the tyranny of corporate empire passed off as free trade. I wonder what Rufus would have thought about Wal Mart, or Goldman Sacks for that matter. I liked the common good aspects of the covenant it was well thought out as far as it’s effects on the general welfare.

    Nowadays we are told to sacrifice not for the common good but to keep the nation competitive in a global market designed to make a killing off our freedom to consume for the profits and power of corporations and the war machine. I miss you Lady libertine, I too have taken to wandering the world wide web but it offers no answers to the spirit that said yes we can. The covenant that the majority voted for, a peaceful transition of power, had no interest in the general welfare. We didn’t do it we, didn’t read the fine print, we forgot caveat emptor.

    Speedy redress of grievances, that democratic participatory representation offers is nowhere to be found by the ballot box or elsowhere, it is owned by the corporations that your ancestors boycotted. The only revolution’s offered feature upside down readings of the original intents of the documents and Glocks with ‘you lie’ engraved on the clips.                

  3. DDAdmin, okay MomCat!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Not sure when Ill get around to Cousin Dwight, but I will.

    I miss you guys too.

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