Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bunker Hill Day & Remembering John Adams

Today is another one of those days where my blog post has evolved into something completely different than what I originally intended. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to write today. But it wasn't this.

My blog is my happy place. Where I post fun pretty things and recipes. It feels like my living room and I invite you all in to sit with me and talk. Have some coffee and cake. But like we all do, sometimes I need to vent. This space is also where I can shout to the world how I feel. Share my opinions.

Last week, I decided to walk and do some errands. I passed the Wollaston Branch of the Quincy Public Library on my way and borrowed several DVDs. One of them was a PBS special that I had missed called John & Abigail Adams. It's excellent and I highly recommend it.

I watched it last night and then today realized that today is June 17th, Bunker Hill Day. I watched the DVD just last night, so the events are fresh in my mind. The Battle of Bunker Hill was at the beginning, because it was the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution in 1775.

One of the themes of the movie was how John Adams feared that history would forget him. Even though he was the driving force behind the push for American independence. It's so strange looking back at history sometimes. After the Revolution, the first Americans really weren't sure if this whole thing would work. It was an experiment after all. Well, we're still here!

It was so interesting watching the movie as someone who lives in Quincy, Massachusetts.

I recognized Peacefield, the farm where John and Abigail lived.

The marshy lands nearby. I drive and walk around these landmarks everyday.

I went on a tour of their home and one of the things that really struck me was learning that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 4th of July. You can't make this stuff up!

They had been friends, rivals, then friends again. When John Adams died in 1826, his last whispered words were "Thomas Jefferson survives." He didn't know that Jefferson had died just hours before at Monticello.

Now this might be totally unrelated to The American Revolution and John Adams, but earlier today I read this CNN article stating that many companies are refusing to hire people who are unemployed. Her's a portion of the article below.
Some job postings include restrictions such as "unemployed candidates will not be considered" or "must be currently employed." Those explicit limitations have occasionally been removed from listings when an employer or recruiter is questioned by the media though.
This makes me so upset and sad. How are we going to turn the economy around and get people back to work when this is the mentality of corporate America? Is this the country that we want to be?

When John Adams so feared that he would not be remembered, did he also fear what this country would become? Did he fear what some American companies would do? That these companies would forget about the common worker. Choose higher profits and cut employee benefits? Layoff workers when they were no longer needed? Then after a massive economic meltdown of historic proportions, penalize people who are out of work further by considering them no longer fit for employment. And to top it off, unemployment benefits are running out for many, and the Senate hasn't gotten it together to extend unemployment benefits.

What is happening? Are we going to have a permanent underclass in this country? Work is at the foundation of life. If we cannot earn a living, how can we do anything? It's fundamental to our unalienable Right to the pursuit of Happiness. Or maybe the thinking is, well you can try to be happy. But we don't have to let you make a living. People can only take so much until they say, "Enough is enough." We Americans should know that.

*Updated 6/27/10* I'm starting to see more posts about this issue. Take a look at these: The Ugly Secret of the Unemployed and America: Land of the free, home of the poor.

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Asha said...

Loved reading about John Adams. He sounds like our own Gandhi, starting what we thought could never happen to us ie Freedom!
Both died on 4th July? WOW!! Learning about the history of any country or culture is so fascinating.

Have a great Summer Anali, I will be on break until July!:)

Dezel said...

Nice post Anali,

I'm big fan of history and have seen that video several times (I own it). I think it is the video that mistakenly put John Quincy Adams (his son) on the cover. Adams was an interesting man and his relationship with Jefferson was one of interest too, as well as Jefferson's relationship w/ Abigail. Learning about early American History, especially politics and the shaping of our country, should be a part-time hobby for all here ;-) Have a great weekend.

brainella said...

I am a huge history fan; especially the Revolutionary War era. If you haven't read David McCullough's book on Adams, you should. It is very good. The HBO series is well done also.

I've never been to Boston but it is one of the places I would love to tour...for the history alone. :)

Sharlene T. said...

John's relationship with Abigail was one of my most favorite stories. I've always been a history buff but actually living on property in Virginia where Pope encamped was a special treat. As Americans, we should do more than just treat history as a hobby, it should be ingrained in our minds. Other countries make sure their people know their history. We still seem to have the sophomore mentality, which we will rue...wonderful post...hope it gets folks to serious thinking...I'm still trying to process not hiring unemployed

willow said...

Excellent post. I've not seen this PBS piece and will add it to my Netflix queue. Have you see the HBO series? It's excellent, as well.

El said...

We checked the HBO special on John Adams out of the library and it was excellent. We hope to see his house this year too so thanks for the reminder. I don't know what's going to be done to turn this around. I don't envy at all what's been left on Obamas plate. But this mess is many years in the making and recovery will be slow. What do you forecast at this point for the law profession?

Chris said...

I felt like an armchair historian when I readyour post. Your posts are so very interesting and fun to read. I have not had the opportunity to see the film you wrote about but like one of your other readers I will be sure to get hold of a copy. I so enjoy your posts!

Suldog said...

That both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4th, 50 years after the signing of The Declaration, is my favorite bizarre fact in American history.

Nance said...

The Adamses/Jefferson relationship is so incredibly complex and intriguing. Jefferson himself was such a layered, intense, complex person who is often dismissed with just a few broad strokes in order to compartmentalize him more easily. His prickly relationship with Adams and Adams' intelligent wife Abigail is one of American history's most interesting friendship triangles. I teach a couple of Abigail Adams' letters in my honors American lit. class, and the students get a good perspective of early America from her, not to mention a bold woman's voice in a not-so-traditional political power marriage.

A_N_Nanda said...

A profound post. Long-term survival of any system depends on how the society understands and "adapts" the lessons of history. Great things happen when the whole society shares the values and the wealth, and takes part in the progress and prosperity.

Thanks Lisa.


starry said...

Enjoyed reading about John Adams.would love to see the movie.

Amber Avines said...

I really enjoyed reading this. History is so fascinating. Thank you for bringing so many interesting facts into your post.

I completely agree and can see how the landscape is changing for employees. I, too, fear that the middle class will become a thing of the past. Only a society of haves and have nots.

The thing that so many employed people don't realize, though, is that unemployment affects them, too. They think they have jobs and this is an issue that isn't of concern to them. A crumbling economy is everyone's concern. Sooner or later, most everyone is affected in some way. All citizens must stand together to get us out of this financial crisis. For that is what it is, a crisis.

Anali said...

asha - I definitely do see some similarities with Gandhi too. So amazing how the idea of freedom changes the world. Have a great summer break! ; )

dezel - So nice to see you 'round these parts again! The older I get, the more history fascinates me and the more I want to learn. Enjoy the 4th and happy sipping to you! :D

brainella - Oh your comment shames me! ; ) You know I actually have the book and haven't read it. I need to read it before the summer is done.

Anali said...

sharlene - I'm still trying to get my mind around that hiring or non-hiring practice too. So much hardship is being endured and it just doesn't have to be this way...

willow - Thanks! I haven't seen the HBO post, but will get around to it one of these days.

el - My forecast for the law profession? I'd have to write an essay about that one!

Anali said...

chris - Thank you! It makes my day when I see that someone truly enjoyed my writing. : )

suldog - It have to wonder about the big picture. How can that not mean something?

nance - I find myself so at odds with Jefferson. As a black person, I despise him for being a slave holder generally. Then his treatment of Adams was pretty horrible during the election. Yet at the end, Adams foregave him. And the brilliance of the man is hard to overlook. It's hard to take it all in.

Anali said...

nanda - Thanks for the visit and the comment! Nice to see you again! I think the US is going through a huge period of flux and we are definitely NOT all sharing the same values, nor the wealth and prosperity. Something has to change.

starry - I hope you get a chance to see it!

amber vines - Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my post. Your post was amazing and I got so emotional reading it, especially after having just recently written this one. We truly are in a crisis and it will eventually effect us all one way or another.

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