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AMERICA! is what Will Ferrell’s character in “The Other Guys” yells as he inadvertently drives his Prius into a crime scene. Soon after the car stops, the audience learns that the car’s exterior is covered in cocaine.

It’s a very funny movie and it’s what I feel like yelling every Independence Day or when the United States does good in a particular sporting event like the Olympics.

Obviously, that is not why men like Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire or Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut signed the Declaration of Independence. They were rich white guys that put everything on the line to get out from under the heel of British rule.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

That is the introduction to the Declaration of Independence. Written by Thomas Jefferson in the summer of 1776 as the colonies began to compile their grievances, 27 in total, with King George III.

Thanks to that document and then the Revolutionary War I get to say, Happy Birthday, America! You’re only 243 years old and you look pretty good. Your democracy still appears to be holding up and people still refer to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of possibly the greatest documents ever written.

The ancient Egyptians existed for over 3,000 years and I believe America can reach that milestone. But that will only happen if scientists are wrong about climate change.

Also, on an unrelated note, how is it that America doesn’t own the moon? We were there first and we didn’t take it from anybody. America planted its flag on the moon’s surface before anybody else. So naturally if the Earth does become unlivable I think America and our citizens should have exclusive rights to live on the moon.

I hope you enjoy Independence Day and I hope Americans have the ability to celebrate 3,000 more of these. That’ll show those pyramid builders.

Finally, I leave you with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, my favorite founder.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Give me a call at 715-463-2341 or shoot me an email,

Jonathan Richie is the editor of the Burnett County Sentinel.