(NOTE: I lost my righteous fervor for this project when Bush commuted the sentence of one of his criminal underlings the other day and our "opposition leadership" affected a protracted yawn.. More below)
I got into an argument with an ardent C&L'er last week who wanted to tell me how horrible our founding fathers were. Yes, they had slaves. Yes, they were rich landowners. Yes, their women didn't have very many rights. Yes, they stole my ancestor's lands. But still they managed to craft the constitution and announce a Declaration of Independence - documents whose substance put to shame ANYTHING produced by a politician in my lifetime, even in times of equal strife.
These men were the power brokers of their time. And yet, they purposely set limits to their own powers. These men were in the position to become the 'new nobility' of America. And yet, they had the forethought and intelligence to look beyond their selves. These men had grandiose ideals of progress for their country. And instead of limiting their scope to "reasonable" levels, they reached as high as they could, bolstered by the belief that they were creating a new world, where men could live freely.
They declared their independence to an unjust government which treated its citizens unequally and capriciously. This document is no less valid today, considered against the unjust actions of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, than it was then against King George. Most of the declaration stands on its own, in 1776 or in 2007, two hundred and thirty one years later. Much has changed. The tyranny and greed of government officials has not.
As you read the Declaration of Independence on the anniversary of its' issuance- think about a small group of Americans, who discussed the that tyranny and decided to act to free themselves of it. Our founding fathers, flaws and all, gave us a precious gift in the laws and the constitution they crafted. We do the country they built dishonor when we discard this gift. We do OUR country the gravest of injuries when we disregard our own rule of law for the sake of expedience.
The Declaration of Independence
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
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 dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
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 benefit 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.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
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.
Someone invariably says: "Violence is not the answer." Well, sometimes it is.
It solved Hitler when his violence became less than that of the nations his violence oppressed.
It solved Caesar when the Senate said enough is enough. Caesar took the law into his own hands one too many times, and thus, the Roman Senate responded.
I have a form of power, as a citizen. And I can exercise that power by gathering other citizens around, forminq quorums and working together for change. I can see this change on the horizon, distant yet coming slowly nearer. But at the same time, I can also see a power mad dictator becoming worse as each new day brings new transgressions against the republic and the people of the republic.
And I look around- and the only ones who seem to pay attention are those of us on the blogs- who, by and large- are convinced after careful deliberations for the past several years that our current government officials are corrupt; that they are traitors to this nation.
Day by day, we gain more of a foothold with the non-blogging public, as our efforts inform them more and more of what is going on and they began to see the horrible truth of our country's leadership.
I hope for the best and plan for the worst. But I cannot stand in line, step by tiny step while our President hurdles the constitution, and destroys our laws one by one.
But what is the alternative? Truly, at the moment, there is NO valid alternative, violent or otherwise, without true leadership.
The man on the American street, no matter how morally upset, is not troubled enough by the actions of his government to care much. Frankly, the subject of immigration gets people more upset, and thats a bullshit argument on all sides, as Mirth has pointed out.
There can be no "Declaration of Independence" until our countrymen are ready to be Independent. And right now, they aren't. They clamor for I-phones, video games, new cars and absurd television shows to draw their attention away from reality. They can't be bothered beyond waving a flag and simple solutions that don't require them to think.
And although I see pathways that lead to an end to this situation, they have horrible consequences and side effects. And why make awful choices and awful sacrifices for countrymen that are less independent than a fourth grade elementary class?
So, there is no declaration. Men like me, simple citizens of little or no substance, must be joined and led by men of substance both morally and financially if there is to be change. There are no Jeffersons, Franklins, and Washingtons among our generals, politicians, and community leaders.
I am the rabble. I have a voice. But if it isn't heard by those who can make a difference, it is just noise. And I am not yet willing to give up everything for countrymen who cant even be bothered to give up their time to affect a change.
I have begged, pleaded, commanded, and bitched at my countrymen enough.
Do as thou wilt. Protect your family and your community as best as you can.
Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.