Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Devil and Independence

Once again, the Spouse urges me to blog.

Even while the dead remained uncounted and unburied, Pat Robertson's claimed that Haiti made a "pact with the Devil", and that they continue to pay for it with their history of poverty and most recently with the devastation caused by last month's earthquake. His pact presumably allowed them independence in 1804. If you search for 'devil pact' on Google today, you will most assuredly get hits on Robertson's image and words. For me this of course begs the question of what pact Robertson himself made with the powers of evil to get where he is.

Today I joined my daughter as we watched the always refreshing and spine-tinglingly patriotic musical 1776. The musical, made a few years before our nation's bi-centennial, recreates the final weeks before the Declaration of Independence of the United States. It includes some real quotes from the likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Being a musical, it contains some myth and of course a love story or two. It tips its hat to the famous painting by John Trumbull (here's an interactive version.) which hangs in the Capitol Rotunda. It includes the stories of the love and partnership between Adams and his wife Abigail (their letters are now famous and actually online), as well as more lusty relationship between Jefferson and his wife Martha. The musical ends with the history striking out of references to (the immorality of) slavery from the Declaration just before it passes.

Robertson says that Haiti made a pact with the devil (and left behind its origins in slavery) in order to become independent. The United States made its own pact with the devil to assert independence with slavery intact, and it has been paying for it ever since.

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