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Tonight, after dinner the people of the Santa Clarita will once again gather around the long parking spaces on Valencia Avenue around the Barnes and Noble Book Store and the Valencia Library –  the two most bookish enclaves in Santa Clarita – to watch again the SCV’s most exuberant show in the Westfield Valencia Town Center display for July 4.   It is a show that celebrates energy – energy in the sky.  Perhaps not coincidentally, energy was also the favorite word of a key founding father who was barely a youth out of law school on that first American Independence Day.  I am referring to Alexander Hamilton, who since becoming the subject of the most resounding Broadway musical of our ages has seemed to finally settle into our history as our first rock star.

When you see this explosive sky show in Valencia, we are also reminded that the United States was born in a burst of energy, sort of like the universe has been said to have been created in a great big Independence Day bang,  In America, also, there was enormous energy that was pressing against the seams put there by the British governors of the day, governors like the amiable bachelor Baron de Botetourt, who would love to  visit Thomas Jefferson and his young wife Martha singing at the piano in the Jefferson’s palatial Monticello but would not take anything Jefferson seriously on any discussion about politics.

It is an important pattern to remember that the British governors at the time wanted presentable Americans such as Jefferson and George Washington to extend a kind of Hellenism into America with their splendid Greek architecture in Monticello and Mount Vernon and many other like chateaus, before people like Jefferson or Washington were able to support these estates.  The British wanted them to have these palatial properties because they helped lay a firmer British claim on the land, and by getting both Washington and Jefferson deeply in debt to maintain their chateaus the deal was becoming also a way to control the lives of the most Americans in the picture.

So here was a way a lot of that pent-up energy developed into the American War of Independence.  The dunning messengers arriving at Monticello and Mount Vernon to collect impossible debts for British creditors – and doing the same for other Americans like them – by 1775 drove the most revolutionary Americans into a revolutionary fury. But I have to remind my students that this was no revolution.  It wasn’t the poorest Americans who wanted a revolution to create better opportunities for themselves.  It was the Americans who lived on the most lavish properties – like Washington and Jefferson and John Hancock – who desperately wanted a war of independence to establish independence from their British lenders.

So, let’s think a little about that tonight when we see all that energy in the sky over Valencia – the energy that can get pent up under the weight of incredibly optimistic mortgages.

 

Chris Sharp- Commentary

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . Sharp's latest book is an Amazon Kindle collection of his published short stories, Every Kind of Angel . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.