By Jim Beers July 8, 2009
The Declaration of Independence was adopted in the midst of The Revolutionary War by all the Colonies except New York on the 4th of July 1776. The Colonial Congress ordered it signed (by John Hancock, President of the Congress and Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Congress) and distributed immediately to inform one and all why we were in rebellion against English rule. As Thomas Jefferson described The Declaration it was "an expression of the American mind". By January 18, 1777 all 56 signers had placed their signatures on the document. In 1781 the Colonies won a military victory and 2 years later Britain officially recognized our Independence as proclaimed in The Declaration of Independence.
Historians, scholars, and common men worldwide have marveled for centuries now at the concepts affirmed in The Declaration. Religious leaders and preachers throughout the western world have frequently mentioned The Declaration as a model basis for any government that truly aims to be "for, by, and of the people". Now that the fireworks have died down and all the leftover bratwursts have been consumed it is a fair time to ask how the 2009 "American mind" compares to 1776.
The Declaration affirmed in no uncertain terms "We hold these truths to be self evident":
-- "that all men are created equal".
How "equal" are government race and sex categories required on forms and in the Census as the basis for representation, contracts, hiring, promotions, housing, government services, etc.?
-- "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".
What "Right" does any of us recognize as "unalienable" any more? For that matter, the mention of a "Creator" in any public document or in any public place like a school today is merely a basis for ACLU lawsuits and public disgrace and punishment for the "offender". "Rights" have become whatever the majority wants or whatever elected politicians condone while considering themselves first of all.
-- "that among these are Life".
Abortion is rampant at all stages of pregnancy and we pay for foreign nations to kill their young as well. Simultaneously the federal courts have prosecuted people for 90 years for destroying a Migratory (federally protected) bird EGG since the egg is the protected bird in the eyes of the law, how absurd is that? How can euthanasia and assisted suicide and even killing children up to six months of age (if they may not have a "good quality of life") ever be consistent with an "unalienable Right" to "Life"?
How is "Liberty" recognized and protected by Endangered Species preferences that harm citizens? What about growing prohibitions against hunting, trapping, fishing, timber cutting, grazing, home building, and the freedom to buy certain vehicles or to live on or use private property? How is "Liberty" affected when one group of citizens objects by outlawing other citizens using their own animal property as they (and their families for generations before them) have done for eons?
-- "the pursuit of Happiness".
How is "Happiness" affected by the forced imposition of the "Happiness" ideas of others? From vehicle size to home location to what we eat, we are being forced to live as others would have us do. Recently I visited a large hospital and saw the "No Smoking Anywhere" sign as I entered by a large construction site on the grounds. Now I don't smoke and I can sympathize with smoking bans indoors and by entries on private property however, what basis is there for the hospital do-gooders preventing those construction workers in the open under God's sky from smoking? The answer is of course that we have become so inured to a majority rule overriding "unalienable" "Rights" that such prohibitions are accepted and serve as the basis for food prohibitions and other lifestyle "Happiness" prohibitions in the future. The matter of smoking for those workers is and should have remained simply a matter between them personally and God.
I could go on here but space and my time are limited. Suffice to say that we have strayed far from those shining principles laid out so eloquently in The Declaration of Independence. Currently, the President and the Congress are accelerating this erosion of these principles by advocating without any credible opposition:
- Government owned and run businesses from auto companies to insurance companies and banks.
- Eliminating the freedom of Catholic hospitals and health workers like doctors and nurses to refuse to take the Life of an unborn child.
- Federal spending that will destroy our economy and (if the nation survives) hobble our children and grandchildren with unimaginable debt.
- A gargantuan tax scheme ("Cap & Trade") based on an imaginary threat (climate change) that human ingenuity can always adapt to but that no government can ever "change".
- A socialized medicine program that has everywhere eliminated specialist doctors, timely health services, health care options for the elderly and very young, rural health care, and established governmental authority over who will live and who will die ("since we pay for it we get to determine who gets what").
The reader that has gone this far might rightly ask what is to be done? Isn't the America founded on the Declaration of Independence far preferable to that which we have today?
These are good questions and the answer, short of the solution for which the Signers of the Declaration placed their "lives and fortunes" on the line for, may have been buried in the news this week. Just as "Cap & Trade" and "Socialized Medicine" bills passed the US House of Representatives while the country, media, and TV remained enthralled with Michael Jackson; so too in all the punditry prognostications about how dumb and what a quitter Governor Palin is for resigning the Alaskan Governorship we may be missing the real story.
Of the 56 Signers of The Declaration the majority were well-educated and prosperous. A few were entirely self-taught. One was a sea captain. Almost a quarter were planters and a few were truly farmers. Four were educated as ministers. Some were merchants and shippers. What they all had in abundance was courage and a sense of purpose.
Disregarding what you think of Governor Palin, she has given us a ray of hope. The current arguments about "experience" would have amused The Founding Fathers. Had they accepted that, well I guess they would have gone to the Parliament in London to get some power hungry politicians with lots of "experience" (Jeffords and Specter come to mind) to form and run the new country. Thank God none of them were that stupid.
The current Democrat and Republican Parties and politicians have carried us down the road (particularly over the past four decades) to the mess we are in today. The Party platforms differ in little more than speed and commitment. The lifelong politicians we have today are little better than the entrenched aristocrats in the Parliament that we threw off in 1776. There is about as much likelihood of "reforming" them into agents of the principles laid out in The Declaration of Independence as there is in training a cat to retrieve ducks.
How do you replace them when the Parties will simply replace the losers with other "team" (i.e. "Party") players? The answer is what we all saw Governor Palin do in Alaska. She took on the "Party" and began changing things despite not only the opposition but also despite her own (?) Party. Where do such people come from? The Party Convention? Not Hardly. The children of those that vacate the office like Dingell and Biden? Crooked politicians that get elected no matter what like Marion Barry and Alcee Hastings? No, they come from right where Governor Palin comes from - individual American citizens with "courage and a sense of purpose" like those Signers of The Declaration of Independence. Redux means "brought back, resurgent" and if ever there was a need for this word, this is it! If it cannot be done by such people reforming one (or both) of the "Parties" or by forming a new Party then God help us all.
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