Saturday, June 12, 2010

Anniversaries to Savor

Although liberty-lovers may focus on dates like July 4th (Independence Day) or April 13th (Thomas Jefferson's birthday) as notable enough to celebrate each year, today -- June 12 -- turns out to be the anniversary of several events worth commemorating.

For example, it was on June 12, 1776, that Virginia adopted its Declaration of Rights, a precursor to the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

Although nowadays the two largest national political parties hold their nominating conventions close to Labor Day, it wasn't always so.  According to the AP, on this day in 1920, the Republican party,

meeting in Chicago, nominated Warren G. Harding for president on the tenth ballot. Calvin Coolidge was nominated for vice president.
Both Harding and Coolidge are underrated but they deserve some applause for reversing some of the big-government trends begun under Theodore Roosevelt and accelerated under Woodrow Wilson.

It was also on this day, June 12, 1967, that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia's law prohibiting interracial marriage, in the serendipitously-named case of Loving v. Virginia.  In his opinion for the majority, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.
Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan -- again on June 12 -- issued a challenge in Berlin to Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!" (It only took two years for the people of Germany to do just that.)

Having more than one thing to note and remember on any single day is worth celebrating.

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1 comment:

Dirk said...

I'm on my way to Theodore Roosevelt Island today to pay my usual hommage. I'll burn a cross for your or something.