If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

HERE'S TO THE FOURTH OF JULY



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

Two hundred and thirty-seven years ago on July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress approved The Declaration of Independence justifying actions already taken to separate from England and leading to The American Revolution. It was drafted by a committee that included Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of this document and was based on John Locke’s Natural Rights to justify The Glorious Revolution in England. The Constitution that followed written by Madison and others contained ideas not all the members of the Continental Congress found easy to accept thus it wouldn’t be ratified by all the states until 1791 when The Bill of Rights was added.

In spite of declaring all men are created equal and deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, America did not live up to those ideals. Of course, in those days men did not mean women, indentured servants, slaves or Native Americans. We suffered a horrible bloody Civil War of Americans fighting Americans to free the slaves. But even free from ownership Jim Crow laws and prejudice kept the Blacks from realizing the full promise of the Declaration of Independence.

Others have struggled to get their just rights, too. The way we treated the Native Americans, is beyond belief for a country that was supposed to be living by the ideals Jefferson and other early framers of The Constitution and the Bill of Rights set forth. We exterminated Native Americans to provide land for our growing population and those remaining were forced to live on reservations often far from their native land. We were to be a country both tolerant and God-loving, but certainly didn’t live up to those standards.


Instead of living up to the ideals which the Statue of Liberty represents of a country welcoming all those coming to her shores with open arms, instead prejudice against newcomers to this country was quite common against those from middle-Europe, Africa and Asia. Even the Irish were reviled and looked down upon for many years. Much of that was economic driven since immigrants worked harder for smaller wages, which is similar today to Hispanics, the latest “class” of immigrants who suffer as did the Irish, Italians and Chinese, etc. before them.

My grandfather, an immigrant from Slovakia, worked for a mine and lived in the company town of Crabtree, Pa. He was called into the boss’s office once and reprimanded because his wife wasn’t buying enough at the company store. Instead, she was taking a bus to a nearby town to buy groceries for their large family where the groceries were cheaper. When many of these immigrants tried to form unions for decent working conditions in mines and mills the owners brought in union breakers. All they wanted were decent wages to support their families and safety in their work place – what had been promised them by the Constitution.

Our country suffered from state sponsored violence against workers before recognizing unions and enacting child labor laws, but eventually more and more unions won and the wages and working conditions of workers improved in many if not all work places. Even though unions brought up the wages in union free businesses as well, union members were often reviled as trouble makers wanting something they weren’t entitled to. I wonder how many see any connection between the demise of union membership today having something to do with the fact that there’s a widening gap between the rich and the poor and the middle-class losing ground in both wages and savings. The income disparity unions managed to correct have now grown larger than they were before the Great Depression. Some might see this gap as also because more and more businesses are sending jobs to other countries whose workers work for much less money, wages no worker in this country could live on.

And then there are the women. It took a century and a half before women were granted universal suffrage, and even longer to be admitted to all colleges and even though many women still don’t get paid comparable to men doing the same work, they are getting closer to that goal the Constitution set forth even though the framers didn’t consider women when they wrote it.

Others have struggled to realize their rights, too, like GLBT, who have cut across race and economic boundaries and are much nearer to getting all the rights of the Constitution, although recently the Supreme Court repealed critical parts of DOMA. They also gutted a critical safety mechanism in the Voter Rights Act because Congress refused to update it in more than thirty years to reflect current discrimination issues against the poor and elderly. The Senate passing an Immigration Bill even though the House is dragging its feet show signs that maybe our country will start embracing the principles of the Declaration of Independence more fully. After all, how many people even ten years ago would have believed we’d have an African American president?

                        Step by step, the longest march can still be won, can be won.
                        Many stones can form an arch, singly none, singly none.
                        Drops of water turn a mill, singly none, singly none.
                        And by union what we will, then we accomplish more.

The above words come from the song “Step by Step.” The words (1960) are by Pete Seeger based on the preamble to the 1863 constitution of the American Mineworkers’ Association. The tune was adapted from an Irish song about the 1840’s famine that led to the great wave of Irish emigration.



Today we enjoy the Fourth of July with parades, picnics and fireworks celebrating the birth of our nation, but just as a newborn child our country had much maturing and growth to do. And it’s not done yet until all benefit from the promises made in The Declaration of Independence. It’s up to us to work together to see that promise gets closer and closer to reaching all citizens.None of us are free until all of us are free. But in spite of our warts and problems which all countries have to some extent either greater, the same or lesser than ours, I'm still proud to be an American and get teary eyed when I hear "The Star Spangled Banner" even though I can never hit the high notes when I sing along.


In what ways can you or do you already support the Declaration of Independence?


                        

12 comments:

Claire said...

You hit some important points here, Gloria. When I taught human resource management, students would complain about all the legal issues they had to study. Some of my assignments included watching and reporting on the film, Norma, or reading sections of books like, Life in the Iron Mills. They'd come back with a difference perspective after that.

Happy Independence Day!

E. B. Davis said...

I revere our land. Yesterday when we drove back from western Maryland through the mountains, the vistas were of green crops (mostly corn) in the valleys with a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The scenery was truly majestic. We have such great resources in this country, and our natural bounty must be appreciated. I grew up in the country. When I drive through transition areas where farmers have given up since their land is worth more to developers than it is to raise crops, I have to shake my head in dismay. I grew up in the country across the street from a dairy farm in PA. Those rolling hills filled by farmers brimming with crops is still the backbone of America to me.

Warren Bull said...

Benjamin Franklin complained about Germans who immigrated to the colonies. A sad part of our history is the many times people who arrived or were born in this country who then tried to stop others either from coming or from getting full legal rights. in a small way I have worked for equal rights for everyone.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Sometimes I am discouraged by how far we have to go before we can have equality. Then I think of how far we have come and hope returns.

Something we should keep in mind is that our "Founding Fathers and Mothers" were all traitors - at least from England's perspective. There are often two very diverse views of an issue. Trying to understand both of them before coming to a firm opinion seems to be a lost art these days, but I still try.

Unfortunately, today facts are often dismissed as opinion and opinion proclaimed as facts, and I get discouraged again and need to remind myself of the great strides we've taken in the last two plus centuries.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

The other night, I watched the musical 1776 on television and was struck by the fact that so many issues discussed in that movie continue to be topics considered by our state and federal legislatures. Thanks, Gloria and all who have commented, for reminding us that keeping informed and being part of the debate are very important ways to live the principles the Declaration of Independence helped ensure for us.

Shari Randall said...

So much to think about - thank you, Gloria. We do have a long way to go, but there are still many things to celebrate.
At work, I often see recent immigrants try to pay for the library books they are checking out. One man told me that in his country, only the rich have books. On those days, I feel very happy to be a US citizen.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Great post, Gloria, with much that still, unfortunately needs saying.

Few in the US today are aware that the settlers used the first known instance of biological warfare against the Indians (smallpox-infected blankets given to women and children) and that Hitler studied America's treatment of the Indian tribes and the reservations system and modeled his "Final Solution" on them. (He wrote about this in letters and in published work.)

Almost no one knows that in the 30s, the US packed legal residents and citizens of Mexican heritage into locked train boxcars without food or water and sent them into Mexico, unloading them (often with many corpses from the trip)in the desert of a land where many didn't even know the language. Only to turn back to Mexico and recruit many of the young boys who were American citizens and had been illegally deported to fight in WWII when they grew short on manpower. Like the Japanese internment camps, this doesn't make it into the history books we learn from in schools.

I love this country, but we still have a long way to go to live up to our ideals.

Gloria Alden said...

So many good comments. My internet is down and I'm trying to use my brothers lap top with touch control unlike the mouse I'm used to using. Anyway, Clair, good job on teaching students a different perspective.

E.B. it's true we live in a beautiful country, and I also feel bad about how so many farmers have given up their land for development. I grew up in the country, too, still do for that matter.

Sorry, Warren, as I was trying to maneuver this lap top at an odd angle, I deleted your message. :-(

Jim,I have the same feelings, but like you, when I see how far we've come, I feel quite optimistic. But it is depressing when someone thinks an opinion is a fact when it's not.

Paula, we do need to keep informed, but sometimes I don't think people like to take the time or interest in following the news and try to understand what's going on.

Shari, that's another reminder of what a great country we have.

KM said...

Great commentary. How soon we forget

In the original Virgina colony, in order to have a vote, one needed to be free, white, male and own at least 100 acres. No one else was considered "equal."

My Irish grandfather was a Molly Maguire in the Pennsylvania coal mines. He changed his name & fled to avoid arrest & probable execution. He became active in the Teamsters Union in New York, and was blacklisted, so that his wife had to get a job to support the family. I'm the union rep at my work, and maintain my inactive Teamsters Union membership from when I worked in a Teamster represetned job.

Things may not be perfect, but we have it better than 99% of the people who have ever lived. I think we do have a responsibility to work to keep our principles alive and functioning.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting, KM. Even after my father became part of management, he backed the unions if not at work, but in what he believed. My brothers, my husband and my son were all union men - my youngest brother is, too, and is head of his local at the IRS. I was in the teacher's union. I agree with you that we do have it better here than 99% of the people who have ever lived and need to work to keep our principles alive and functioning.

Patg said...

I believe unions are a double edged sword. In the mining area of PA where I was born it was a well known fact that the mod owned the unions and there wasn't a snowball chance in hell that you refused to join. I remember my dad talking about what he was told to vote for when union votes came up.
And all huge immagrations bring with them their 'mods'. The Irish mod, then the Italian mod, now we have the Slavic, mostly Russian mod, and don't forget the Hispanic Cartels.
Kept me out of unions and voting against them my working life.
Patg

Unknown said...

Thank God for unions! Great Post Gloria!