Larry Clark

Larry Clark

We celebrate the Fourth of July because America’s founders signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

These men marked themselves as enemies of the Crown with their signatures. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the cause of freedom. You can read these words in the Declaration.

Some of the founders were losers because of the rebellion, but they never lost their honor.

Today, we extol liberty and the Declaration of Independence that boldly asserted the 13 colonies should be free of tyranny to engage in self-determination. Then they and thousands of patriots made it stick.

Recently, I saw a quiz on the Web about the Founding Fathers. I answered all queries correctly, including three questions that had nothing to do with our great nation’s actual formation.

Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson are revered national heroes. Lincoln deserves his status as one of the greatest Americans and American presidents ever.

I do not share others’ ardor for Jackson. I think he was one of the most dangerous presidents in our history. He was an imperious leader who ignored the Constitution and the Supreme Court on more than one occasion.

Lincoln and Jackson were not Founding Fathers, no matter how many people love them. Why they were included in the quiz is beyond me. That Jackson was born a colonist in 1767 does not qualify him as a founder.

Maybe the writers didn’t meet their quota of questions. Until I saw that quiz (it was a fairly good test, by the way), I had never seen Lincoln and Jackson associated with July 4, 1776.

Regardless, all the characters in the quiz helped make the United States what it is today. All Americans should hold dear the spirit of ‘76.

I cannot get away from proofreading. Mistakes do not bother me much anymore, but they get my attention. Our language is changing, but I don’t always agree with the changes.

For example, I note several references in various places on the Web that do not use “assassination” describing the deaths of Lincoln, John Kennedy, Archduke Ferdinand, etc. The word used is “elimination.” Why?

It sounds like spy-novel talk or Mafia-movie jargon.

I still think it’s misleading to use “wounded” and “injured” as synonyms. When I see news reports of a shooting, for instance, that included other people being “injured,” I wonder if they were shot or they tripped over something trying to get away.

We command the ability to put information on multimedia any time, any place. We can add to the information, change it or delete it at will. So how do some mistakes go unedited for hours or even days, as in TV news tickers?

“U.S. destined (North Korean) cargo ship.” It meant “detained.”

“No woman has ever walked on the lunar service,” but I bet someday a woman will walk on the lunar surface.

“Funds would prevent drugs from entreating southern border.” Drugs can beg all they want, as long as they are prevented from entering the United States.

Remember, also, a hurricane cannot cause damages. Damage is what a hurricane leaves behind.

People do not suffer bodily damages or damage (prostheses excepted). But we may be wounded or injured. Our reputations can be damaged by deliberate falsehoods. Then, we can sue for damages.

Language can be confusing or misleading. That’s why clarity is important.

Mark Twain said it best: “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

And when you use the wrong word, people notice.

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