07/07/2013 01:24 am ET Updated Sep 05, 2013

Washington Watch: Week 23 - "The Greatest"

This past week we celebrated the 237th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence.

Yes...our issues are many, and our Congress is in gridlock, and there are those who will never accept the diversity of our country....still, we can fight for our freedoms in ways others around the world cannot.

And, despite all those who disparage him simply for who he is...America ELECTED Barack Hussein Obama, as our President -- TWICE!!

The ideals upon which our country began are to be remembered, celebrated, and always held in esteem as our battle cry. There is still much to be done, and we are often reminded (just last week with the Supreme Court Voting Rights ruling) -- rights can be given and rights can be taken away. We are also reminded that despite the election of a black president, we live in a time when so many of our gains have been washed away by financial turmoil, political upheaval, and benign neglect.

Yet, we hold up the Declaration of Independence as a goal that it will take a lot longer than 237 years to reach. With the document we declared independence from England while chaining so many of our own citizens.

The Document itself serves us well. As described so eloquently by Jefferson, (who penned the first draft)....and subsequently edited by the Congress at the time, led by chosen editors, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin -- the opening of our Declaration of Independence speaks to our goals as a nation:

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

Surely, some of the founders of our great country understood the hypocrisy of slavery as juxtaposed with the above line...and yes, they had to have known there would one day be judgment.

Indeed, the famous statesman, abolitionist, and former slave Frederick Douglass described it adequately in his speech and essay: "What to the Slave is the 4th of July?"

Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with patriotism because ALL of our blood has been shed on behalf of these "unalienable rights."

Still -- the document...the words...stand as our goal. Equal rights for ALL remains our ideal. The fight continues...

Another Reason to Celebrate

This past week, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin suggested the formation of a third political party for conservatives such as herself. Said Palin:

"I think there will be a lot of us who start saying, 'GOP, if you abandon us, well, we have nowhere else to go except to become more independent and not enlisted in one or the other of the private majority parties that rule in our nation.'"

Perhaps if today's GOP got rid of the far...far..right and the old dinosaurs who want to take us back to the 1950's...then maybe they could develop a platform of appeal to voters in today's America (who will not be relegated to the second-class citizenry found in the 50's for women, gays, and people of color.)

Celebrate with Red, White, and Blues

The White House has made available videos of "Performances at the White House" where the East Room of the White House has been transformed into a concert stage many times the past few years..

Here's are some performances from "Red, White, and Blues" a salute to the blues,featuring: (each performance is a separate video on the White House site)

B.B. King & Ensemble "Let the Good Times Roll"
Trombone Shorty "St. James Infirmary"
Buddy Guy & Jeff Beck "Let Me Love You"
Mick Jagger & Jeff Beck "Commit a Crime"
Shamika Copeland & Gary Clark Jr. "Beat Up Old Guitar"
Gary Clark Jr. "Catfish Blues"
Keb' Mo' "Henry"
Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, & Warren Haynes "I'd Rather Go Blind"
Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Gary Clark Jr., & Jeff Beck "Five Long Years"
Buddy Guy & Ensemble (Finale) "Sweet Home Chicago" Watch the President sing.

PBS (not just the home of Big Bird) also has the entire show as well as other White House Performances shows celebrating jazz, Motown, country, classical, Latin, Memphis soul, spoken word, etc.)

For more visit: