This is a rather important post meant for the discussion and remembrance of a brilliant and woebegone day, one which, as a citizen of the United States, encourages me to move beyond compunction or perhaps better judgment and to delve into the realm of ideas, philosophy and, where it suits, politics. The fourth is the date designated to celebrate the signing of our Declaration of Independence, a document that details why it was that war was necessary. It was a war fought for no other reason than the interests in freedom of people – a people forced into servitude by a government that ruled over them, not one that served.
Some view the Constitution as the document to end all documents in this fair land of ours, where as I view it as only the necessary paperwork that came after the most valuable, and most telling of statements. It is not popular these days to look toward the Constitution with a sense of reverence, you certainly can not nor should not trust a politician to look upon it and see it as it was intended: Chains and handcuffs. That paper was the restraint of government, necessary to withhold from the lives of people the first hand knowledge of tyranny and in so doing secure their unalienable rights. Too often the focus lands upon this document, however, one which has been sullied and besmirched by those who have gained power while it is sneered at as silly and irrelevant by much of the populace. When taken on its own I can see why people remain so cynical for it lacks context.
The Declaration of Independence gives us that much needed context. I share with you now a few select passages that seem to be, too often, left by the wayside.
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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
And here is a mere sampling of the grievances our founders had considered to be tyrannical rule:
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
There is no other document I can readily think of that speaks so passionate a plea for freedom. It is heartfelt and grief stricken in its tone as it greets the upcoming war with reluctant acknowledgment that there was simply no other way to have liberty.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
May we all look upon this day, not with thoughts of ice cream and fireworks on our minds, but with the understanding we celebrate it as a triumph of freedom over tyranny. Happy Independence Day.