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‘Strangely, Beautifully Alive’ -James Freeman/WSJ

American traditions and Independence Day. (Tom Gralish/AP)

By James Freeman

This is the weekend for reflection upon the most important sentence ever written in this country:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Of course the Declaration of Independence, created 246 years ago this week, contained many other useful sentences. One in particular may offer a healthy perspective for those among us who are inclined to restructure American governance when it doesn’t yield a desired political outcome:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

The Declaration also noted that the “King of Great Britain” had “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” Among these offenses, contemporary political combatants may wish to note, was that the British government was not allowing enough immigrants to come to America:

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

In our own time the southern U.S. border has tragically become a place of lawlessness, suffering and chaos. Yet the people of color who endure almost unspeakable hardships, risk their lives and sometimes die trying to enter the U.S. demonstrate every day that America is not a racist, oppressive society but the hope of the world. People want in because they know that the liberty promised in that great sentence has been extended to all Americans. The founders were demanding an expansion of legal migration, which still sounds like a plan.

Now to the practical question of how to celebrate this weekend’s glorious anniversary: This column continues to recommend a visit to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and is eager to visit other landmarks after reading Danny Heitman’s new review of “In the Founders’ Footsteps” by artist and writer Adam Van Doren. Mr. Heitman writes:

Mr. Van Doren credits Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) with immortalizing the Founding Fathers through his paintings. Stuart’s oil portraits of such leaders as John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Monroe are rightly regarded as masterpieces, but their formality and composure rarely hint at the rough and tumble of the times that inspired them.

Mr. Van Doren’s watercolors, on the other hand, display an abiding spark of improvisation that subtly evokes the sense of experiment at the heart of the colonists’ rebellion.

With its vivid red walls, Mr. Van Doren’s Independence Hall seems to pulse on the page like a beating heart. Alexander Hamilton’s former home in New York, bathed in what appears to be autumn light, has an animated spirit, too, breathing through brown shadows under a blue Gotham sky. The Maryland State House where a victorious George Washington resigned his military commission shimmers in ethereal green in Mr. Van Doren’s depiction, the edifice as verdant as the trees around it.

And so it goes throughout “In the Founder’s Footsteps,” which also features stops at Valley Forge, the gardens of Mount Vernon, Benjamin Franklin’s printing office and Yorktown’s battlefield. In his paintings, Mr. Van Doren has a knack for revealing relics of the Revolution as strangely, beautifully alive.

Strangely, beautifully alive may also describe a less weighty Independence Day tradition. “Stilt Walkers, Toppled When Pandemic Began, Are Getting High Again This July 4th” is the headline on a story from the Journal’s Jen Murphy, who reports:

Parade candy is a delight for children. For performers strolling down Main Street U.S.A. this July 4th on 4-foot-high stilts, it’s an occupational hazard.

“Bubble gum is the worst,” said retired stilt walker Tim Balster. “On a hot day it becomes sticky, and if you step on a round piece it’s like stepping on a marble.”

Towering Uncle Sams—or perhaps Uncles Sam—are in high demand around Independence Day, the busiest time of the year for stilt walkers. “I turn down more work than I can shake a stick at around July 4,” said Orlando-based entertainer Mike Weakley. He booked seven gigs this weekend and estimates he’ll stroll a total of 10 miles on his 3-foot stilts.

The pay is up there, too. “We consider it a high-risk act and pay a $1,000-a-day rate,” said Sheri Alice O’Brian, owner of the Extraordinary Arts events company in New Bedford, Mass. Plentiful along the parade route: potholes, horse manure and rambunctious children.

Along with reporting the charming and aromatic Americana, Ms. Murphy notes what may be the single greatest achievement in the history of sports. Dennis Haugen “said he strutted the Cody, Wyo., July 4th parade as an 11-foot-tall Uncle Sam for four decades and never had a fall, using ‘a zigzag strategy to avoid swarms of kids,’ ” she writes.

***

We’ve now arrived at this weekend’s requirement for a strategy to feed swarms of kids, not to mention parents who may be swarming around the keg but soon enough will need more sustenance. This column has been preparing to attempt a low-country boil to serve friends and family and welcomes advice from experienced readers.

Meanwhile, the hyper-generous Julie Giuffrida of the Los Angeles Times offers no fewer than four fried-chicken recipes today:

This recipe for Crispy Fried Chicken is an amalgamation of the wisdom of many recipes that preceded it. It suggests using smaller birds (Cornish game hens) for quicker and more even cooking. It starts with an overnight dry-brining technique developed by the late chef Judy Rodgers of San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe. The method makes the chicken moist and juicy. Next is a buttermilk bath to add some tang. The seasoned flour also contains cornstarch and a few tablespoons of baking soda for added crispness. And for an even greater crunch factor, the pieces are double-dipped in the flour…

Chicken Katzu is a Japanese version of what English-speaking Westerners might call a chicken cutlet — a boneless chicken breast coated with bread crumbs and pan-fried… This recipe calls for panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs which are drier, flakier and absorb less oil than regular bread crumbs). The panko-coated chicken breasts are fried in just a quarter-inch of oil. The result is crunchy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside…

In culinary school I was taught that the key to truly crisp French fries is double frying — once at a lower temperature to cook the potato and then a second time at a higher temperature to crisp it. Yangnyeom Dak (Korean Fried Chicken) employs this same technique with chunks of boneless chicken that have been coated with a cornstarch-and-egg slurry. The first fry seals the coating and cooks the chicken. The second, much briefer fry, brings the coating to a shattering crispness…

Finally, if you want that Southern fried chicken coating without the deep-frying, “Original Recipe” Fried Chicken Tenders use the same basic buttermilk bath and dredge-in-flour technique as Southern fried chicken (but only coats once) and then cooks, essentially, in a mini convection oven.

As for the last recipe, sadly Ms. Giuffrida lost this column at “without the deep-frying.” Still, the option is included here because this is not a weekend to enflame our differences but rather to celebrate the beloved traditions we share.

Speaking of traditions, NBC’s “Today” show features a guest promising “a delicious, nostalgic burger that brings you back to your childhood.” Mike Puma is the founder of something called the Gotham Burger Social Club, which suggests that Mr. Puma is part of our great American tradition of community organizing.

Here’s wishing an enjoyable weekend to everyone organizing a community large or small to celebrate the blessings of liberty

_______________________________________________________________

James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival”. Energiesnet.com does not necessarily share these views.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), on July 1, 2021. All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld.

Original article

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EnergiesNet.com 07 04 20229

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