In today’s column the Blue Suit and Josh Resnek discuss the Fourth of July. The Blue Suit believes that the United States is the best country in the world – a belief shared by millions of Americans. Resnek believes in the greatness of America and the American Dream and what he often refers to as the promise of America. The Blue Suit is am very smart cloth suit, but his understanding of history has its limitations. He’s not much for dates or major events and his understanding of the world is partly obscured by his situation. He lives in Everett all of the time. He does not travel outside of Everett very much at all. So he is unknowing about the world. But then, how many cloth blue suits do we know who travel at all? None! Certainly none that talk and walk, who listen to music, who read the newspapers, who understands how to go on the Internet and on and on.
Here’s some of what they shared this week on the 247th anniversary of July 4.
“Are you aware that this is the 247th celebration of the July 4 Independence Day?” I asked the Blue Suit.
‘Of course,” the Blue Suit replied.
“That’s a long time in terms of the great nations and empires the world has seen, isn’t it?” I added.
“Yes it is,” the Blue Suit said.
“Do you know how long the Roman Empire lasted?” I asked him.
“A long long time,” the Blue Suit answered.
“You’re right about that. Let me give you the years, if you don’t mind,” I added.
“The Roman Empire was founded in 625 BC and fell in AD 476,” I informed the Blue Suit.
“I had no idea,” he said to me.
“Yeah. The Roman Empire began 625 years before Jesus and ran until 476 years after Jesus died. That is a long, long time,” I told the Blue Suit.
I told him I had recently been reading the work of Marcus Aurelius, the great roman emperor who gave up the trappings of wealth and his palace to sleep in fox holes with his legionnaires. Aurelius was an intellectual giant, a stoic like Aristotle. In other words, Aurelius did a great deal of writing and his writings come down to us. He wrote amazing things, Here’s a few, I told the Blue Suit.
“You have power over your mind-not outside events… “Dwell on the beauty of life…
“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.”
The Blue Suit wondered why I was dwelling on Marcus Aurelius instead of dwelling on the fourth of July.
“What does this Roman emperor have to do with anything?” he asked me.
“Well, Aurelius was the 16th emperor of Rome and he presided over an empire that would last 150 years after he died and which existed for about 700 years before he was born. That gives you an idea of the lasting power of the Roman Empire. When you com- pare that amount of time to the United States – now celebrating its 247th year – well, the American Empire, as many think of us, is still a youngster,” I said to the Blue Suit.
“The way things are going for us right now in a changing world, I wonder if we can make it another 400-500 years without col- lapsing. What do you think?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Josh, I think you’re nuts first of all. Who talks about such things on the Fourth of July?”
“I do,” I said.
“I know. I’ve got to listen to this stuff,” the Blue Suit answered. “OK. OK,” I said to him.
“Do you know anything about the Greek Empire?” I asked him. “Not very much, Josh. Are you going to give me another lecture to show me you’re smarter than I am?” he asked.
“That’s not what this is about. I’m trying to give you some per- spective on America as we celebrate our 247th
anniversary of our Independence,” I added thoughtfully.
“The Greek Empire for your information began around 1200 years before Jesus was born. It lasted until the death of Alexander the Great about 900 years later in the year 323 BCE (Before the Christian Era).
The Blue Suit was getting a bit agitated.
“When I think about the world and the way it is today, where we are challenged by everyone trying to do us in, it seems rather difficult to imagine the USA lasting 900 years!” he said.
“I think you’re right about that,” I answered.
“Can we even make it to our 400th birthday, do you think?” I asked him.
“I have to tell you, Josh – I honestly don’t know. Another 153 July 4 celebrations seems like a pretty long bridge to gap. But then, what the hell do I know about world history. In fact, we might be able to last another 600 celebrations if we keep to the top of our form. After all, Josh, who is going to take us down?”
“The enemy is from within,” I answered. “No one can take us down but ourselves.”
With that we went to lunch at Oliveira’s.