Here is a Talking Point Guide for use during your Fourth of July gathering that will help stimulate a “higher level” of group conversation.
However, this Guide is only to be used after your group has finished gossiping about any absent family members or friends.
The person in your gathering who happened to stumble upon this piece is obviously the wisest among you and, therefore, should be designated group leader.
The group leader should start off by asking the following question:
What are we celebrating today?
Do not be surprised if the answer is summer vacation, fireworks or barbeques.
The group leader must be patient if any family or friends honestly do not know the real meaning of the day.
If you decide to mention Independence Day you must follow it up with the obvious question of independence from what for whom. Again, do not be surprised if those listening do not know the answer, especially if they are recent products of public secondary schools or universities.
Forging ahead, here is the next question for the group.
Are you proud to be an American?
If the answers are “yes” then follow up with:
Why are you proud to be an American?
This should elicit some interesting conversation.
However, if the answer to “are you proud to be an American” was “no” and the name of George W. Bush is evoked, I recommend you stop right here and drink heavily the rest of the day.
If you dare to continue, this extremely politically incorrect discussion point should be next.
First, mention an almost forgotten document that is the reason for the day and then slowly read its most famous passage, deliberately omitting the three most important words just like President Obama did.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
After your dramatic reading look up and see if anyone noticed that something was missing. If someone did, promise that person an extra hot dog and then task him/her to correctly read the passage. Then you both should explain to your group why the words by their Creator (instead of by their king) were so powerful that a bunch of gentlemen farmers were willing to start a violent revolution against the greatest military on earth.
On the other hand, if no one noticed the omission then inform anyone left listening that three important words were missing and correctly read the passage.
After this, explain to your group that our Founding Fathers were the first leaders on the planet to believe that humans were entitled to certain unalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that these rights were endowed by God and not a king. That is what made the formation of their new nation so special and, many would say, exceptional to this day.
This concept could lead to a number of different discussions, but if this were my family someone would storm off reminding me that we were never to discuss politics or religion at any family gathering.
So Happy Fourth of July and I am sorry if I have offended anyone.