Document Strings on New Year's Eve

Good evening and Happy New Year. We begin the election year of 2012 in a few hours. American elections are exercises in peaceably changing, or re-confirming, our national leadership (Note that I wrote 'peaceably', not 'civilly'). I love elections and the politics associated with them. What a gift we Americans have been entrusted with.

The year 2011 ends with people all around the world, out in the streets, demanding democracy. What I think they really want is liberty. After-all our friend Benjamin Franklin once opined that: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." Because it is soon to be an election year and, like elections and politics, I love our country's founding documents, defining stories, heroic individual and group efforts, patriotic songs and pithy quotes, I decided to string a few of them together with italics placed where one piece ends and another begins.

I am confident that you will recognize the following snippets and, no doubt, will be able to place unfamiliar pieces within the important documents from which they come. Happy New Election Year.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stand's one if by land two if by see the whites of their I have a dream that one small step for man, one giant leap for score and justice for all we have to fear is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with malice towards none: with charity for all hang together, or we shall all hang separate but equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Governments are instituted among men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Sea to shining sea! O beautiful for you: ask what you can not endure permanently half slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the gold refine Till all success be nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!