Yesterday, we celebrated our nation's 241st birthday. By ancient history standards, we're still far from being what one would call an old culture. But, compared to the vast majority of the world's nation states, we are definitely getting old.
We've been operating with the same constitutional system of government (electoral college and all) for 228 years, that's more than almost all of our world peers. Of course it's not as if the mentality of our United States has remained frozen since our nation began. We've never stopped turning new corners, responding to new challenges -- sometimes nobly, sometimes shamefully -- shifting our views, reacting, rejecting, reconsidering.
When you're a free people with the freedom to think and speak virtually however you choose, you can often find yourself in a nation with views that are "all over the map." But as they say, our U.S. Constitution is a "living document," open to amendments and fresh interpretations as the realities and sensibilities of our world and society continue to change.
However despite those changing perspectives, the remarkable
language composed by
in our nation's Declaration of Independence still guides our nation. And I believe this phrase continues to be pivotal:
"We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
It seems like such an wonderfully positive goal to assign to a nation. You could almost compare it to the Golden Rule as one of those behavioral standards that is irrefutable. And it feels quite reassuring to live in a nation that clearly states it exists to uphold the conviction that each of its citizens possesses the undeniable right to
live their life free to strive toward achieving happiness. -- That's r
eason enough to celebrate the Fourth.
But there's the catch in this scenario
that needs to be mentioned. Especially in these t
imes when enormous efforts -- at work since the '80's -- are successfully reinterpreting the meaning of Jefferson's words as most Americans have come to know them. "Liberty" has always been in the eye of the beholder. So has the "pursuit of happiness." For example, when Thomas Jefferson wrote his timeless words, the truths he expressed were not so completely self-evident that he included his slaves in that thought. (Although, I'm sure they would have appreciated that.)
And, I'm sure that there were many women in Jefferson's time with minds as sharp and inquisitive, as artistic and ambitious as any of today's influential females. Abigail Adams and Dolly Madison are proof of that. Yet it took another 144 years before women nationwide could take part in electing our national leaders and legislators. No doubt there were millions of women in the century leading up to suffrage (and 50 years later, to women's liberation and Title IX) whose pursuit of personal happiness was stymied, not just by societal conventions but by actual laws.
I've already referred to the perverted rationalization of slavery that our country juggled for nearly a century after our founding. It took a terrible civil war to end that, and another century to come close to erasing most but not all of that era's ingrained inequities.
And interracial marriage didn't become a national right until a Supreme Court decision in 1967. While gay marriage wasn't a national right until 2015. - Talk about obstructing the pursuit of happiness!
So why did the unalienable rights of so many Americans take so long to be enforced? Cultural resistance, prejudices and ignorance, all helped keep change at bay. But another factor was the numbers of people who believed changing the status quo was an attack on their personal liberty and the happiness they pursued.
Slaveholders' happiness required the freedom to own other human beings. During the decades leading up to women's suffrage, having an undisputed superior position in society made many men quite happy. Nineteenth century industrialists were happy to keep women from voting on labor reform laws. And racists and bigots throughout our history and across our country have found their happiness in maintaining a favored position over fellow Americans they enjoyed treating as inferior.
There have always been individuals and organizations, who have tirelessly worked to block the happy pursuits of other Americans when such progress got in the way of their "freedom" to do whatever they want. What's scary is, this is going on right now in America, perhaps more effectively then ever before.
Dark money is having an increasingly influential affect in every branch and every level of our government. The machinations of billionaire libertarians (near-anarchists) like Charles and David Koch and their uber-wealthy friends have devoted many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to reinterpret our nation's understanding of Jefferson's words to match their desires.
They are funding of ultra-conservative think tanks, influential right wing pundits, "scholars," university chairs and departments and ideological political candidates even in the most local elections. Their goal has been to turn Americans away from trusting government to do good in any way. Their efforts are succeeding. (And we Democrats haven't done enough to counter their moves.)
But I guess I really can't fault those politically engaged billionaires for their efforts. All they're doing is pursuing their own happiness. And for them happiness is simply to make as much money as they can before they die -- with no-one ever telling them what they can and can't do. I'm sure they're sincere in the rightness of their selfishness. (But then so are high functioning sociopaths.)
On this July 5th, what their strategy is doing to our country does not bode well for improving the pursuits of happiness for millions of us average Americans. That probably makes the dark money guys kinda happy too. -- So now, what can we do to change that?
NTDO member since 1973
To renew your NTD membership or to become an official member of the New Trier Dems for the first time
. You'll see information on all you membership options.
There is an education bill in the Illinois Senate, SB1,
that uses an evidence-based model to make funding fair for those that have been left behind, while making sure no school district loses money. This responsible solution enjoys support from nearly 150 superintendents and school districts across the state. To learn more about this worthwhile legislation click here.
The Winnetka Sidewalk Sale is July 14 and July 15
The Wilmette Sidewalk Sale is July 22 and July 23
The New Trier Dems will be there each day
We need volunteers for our NTD table. Can you help?
This is a pleasant way for a dedicated liberal to spend two hours on a nice summer day. There's a straw poll to attract passersby (Trump's name is mentioned) and a table laden with useful information for residents. You'll have interesting conversations with table visitors and there may by a few declared candidates stopping by too. Each summer our NTD table underscores the active presence of Democrats on the North Shore. This is important. Come be a part of it.
In Winnetka these time slots need volunteers:
Friday July 14 -- 9am to 11am, 11am to 1pm, 1pm to 3pm, 3pm to 5pm
Saturday July 15 -- 9am to 11am, 1pm to 3pm, 3pm to 5pm
To volunteer for a time slot(s), contact Marcia Fields here.
In Wilmette these time slots need volunteers:
Saturday, July 22 -- 1pm to 3pm, 3pm to 5pm
Sunday, July 23 -- 9am to 11am, 1pm to 3pm, 3pm to 5pm
To volunteer for a time slot(s), contact Judy Mandel here.
Upcoming events and news items:
Monday July 10 in Chicago - Rep. Robyn Gabel Rooftop Soiree
Monday, July 10, 2017 from 5:30 - 7:00pm
The Chicago home of Ellen Benjamin and Fred Bates, 3512 Southport Ave., Chicago
The annual rooftop soiree supporting state Representative Robyn Gabel.
For additional information or to RSVP. email Katy Lagenfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-600-9496.
Wednesday, July 19 -
The Tenth Dems Candidate Appreciate Event
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, time to be announced.
SAVE THE DATE
Location in Tenth District to be announced
Tenth Dems hosts an event honoring those who put themselves forward to run in the April local elections. Keynote speaker will be Jason Kander who was named one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party by President Obama. He was a U.S. Senate candidate in 2016 after serving as Missouri's Secretary of State, a state legislator, and an Army National Guard intelligence officer.
Details to follow.
Tuesday, July 20 at Arlington Park - A "Day at the Races" for
State Sen. Julie Morrison with Special Guest John Cullerton
Thursday, July 20, 2017. Suite opens at 12:30pm, racing begins at 1:25pm
Arlington Park, John Henry Suite, 2200 West Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights
Come out to Arlington Park and enjoy this annual event with State Senator Julie Morrison and Senate President John Cullerton.
For additional information or to RSVP, register online or by email. Or call 312-630-7700.
Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.
Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.
FYI: The NTDO Events Calendar
for the rest of 2017
June 23-24 GLENCOE SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Glencoe
July 14 -15
WINNETKA SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Winnetka
July 17 ANNUAL MEET AND GREET at AVLI ESTIATORIO
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
July 22 -23 WILMETTE SIDEWALK SALE
9am-5pm Downtown Wilmette
Sept. 10 NTDO ANNUAL MEETING AND PICNIC
Lake View Room and Beach Pavilion 1 pm - 4 pm
Oct. 8 2017 NTDO ANNUAL DINNER
Maggiano's Old Orchard, Skokie, 5 pm-9 pm
Nov. (Date & Place TBA)
"HEAD START FOR 2018" CONFERENCE
All North Shore Democrats Invited
The guest speaker for the October 8, 2017 NTD Annual Dinner has been confirmed.
It's Congressman Mike Quigley.
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Quigley will bring his perspective on the possible Russian meddling in our 2016 Election and the seriousness of such a threat to our democratic process. (Were any Trump operatives involved?) -- By October, who knows what our guest speaker may have to report?
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
If you are not already an NTDO member, and enjoy our Newsletter, we hope you consider joining us as a dues-paying member. NTDO is a not-for-profit political action organization. We depend on our membership dues to support our Democratic causes and candidates.
There are two options for dues payments: by check or credit card.
By Check: Make check payable to NTDO and mail to our office:
800 Oak St., Suite 112
Winnetka, IL 60093
By Credit Card: visit our website by clicking here
Click on the "Join/Contribute" button
Find the link for "contribute with ActBlue"
or go directly to ActBlue by clicking here.
|Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? Your participation in grassroots political action will make a difference. -- Come join us.
When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain free admission to select forums and events throughout the year.
Come be a part of New Trier's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street, Suite 112, in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.