Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Listened to Ted Kennedy's DNC speech on the way home from work on a very rainy evening. Among the other things Ted said was an invocation of the first line of the declaration of independence. I don't have the exact words, but here is a NYT summary:
Mr. Kennedy accused Mr. Bush of squandering the good will of the world after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by embarking on a reckless, go-it-alone approach against Iraq that he said made a mockery of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, which calls for `a decent respect to the opinions of mankind."
My first reaction was shame at the fact that I had absolutely no recollection that the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence included such a phrase. But lo and behold, it does. But the overall tone of the sentence doesn't appear to cohere with what Ted was trying to argue.
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.
Rather than saying that we should get the world's opinion on our side (which it probably wasn't during the American Revolution) it seems to me that it merely says that we have an obligation to inform the rest of the world concerning the reasons why we will adopt a certain course of action. But since I couldn't remember what the first sentence of the Declaration said in the first place, what do I know?

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