Many of us refer to Independence Day as our nation’s birthday. And many of us celebrate the 4th of July just like a big birthday party. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that practice, it tends to pull us away from the unique significance of Independence Day, into the more generic attitude of simply marking a date on the calendar, singing, “How Old Are You?” and eating ice cream and cake after the candles are blown out.
Celebrating Independence Day without focusing on the concepts memorialized in The Declaration of Independence, is like celebrating Christmas without focusing on the birth of Christ. Lots of Americans do it. They have a big party, yet give little or vague thought about what the party is for. And many seem to no longer care. Are they ignorant? hedonistic? or both?
I understand that the Declaration of Independence is not allowed to be studied in some schools because of its “revolutionary” content. Well, duh! In 1776, the Continental Congress, representing the combined will of the then thirteen American colonies of Great Britain, decided to govern themselves and no longer be subject to the tyranny perpetrated by their monarch. Sadly, these words don’t hold much meaning to Americans today. I think many of our citizens think of monarchy as an old-fashioned concern, certainly irrelevant to our time, unless it’s some romantic notion. Likewise, for many the idea of tyranny is something long, long ago and far, far away.
The whole idea of independence itself is misunderstood. The fact is that so many Americans fail to grasp the true meaning of independence, that they have elected a government whose every plan and decision is to make us more and more DEPENDENT upon government for every aspect of our lives. This is not what the war for independence was fought to gain. Way back in 1776 Americans wanted the freedom to do things for themselves. They didn’t want government to do anything other than to protect their freedom to live and be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor without government intervention. They wanted “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Because Britain would not let the colonies govern themselves, the colonists chose to “dissolve the political bands” which connected Britain with the colonies and “assume … the separate and equal station”, meaning the thirteen American colonies were no longer “under” Britain, but standing face to face with them and telling them they no longer ruled their land. This is all in the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence.
The reason, the justification, the altogether moral authority for making such a revolutionary (or revolting, depending on one’s point of view) declaration was that those Americans believed their “inalienable rights” (not subject to human alteration or abrogation) came from the God of the Bible, who is referred to four times in this document. In short, because God has made us to be free, it is the obligation of human governments to guarantee our freedom. This basic assumption, presaging the formal structure of our government, proscribes the policy that says Separation of Church and State means keeping the church out of the state. What that doctrine has always meant is keeping the state out of the church. But that is only one small example of the claim to freedom embodied in the Declaration of Independence.
Declaring that government gets its power “from the consent of the governed” this document insists that, “it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government”. This alone should be sufficient to put on notice any power hungry extremist who would be tempted to usurp the authority of his office. Yet at this present time, there are those in our government who feel they know what is best for the people, and are totally eager to press on with their wishes, despite the popular will of the people to the contrary. In essence, what we have today is very similar to conditions that led to the revolution against British rule and the establishment of the United States of America. The only difference is that this time the tyrant isn’t a monarch, it’s our own elected government. They have become an oligarchy, ignoring the will of the people, something only made possible by rampant voter apathy.
Examine the grievances against the tyranny of King George, III listed in the Declaration of Independence. You will find similarities to contemporary insults to our freedom. “He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” I think of the problems of border security, illegal aliens, drug trafficking, gangs and associated crime. Our government is more responsive to criminal aliens than to law-biding citizens.
“He has made judges dependent on his will alone,” brings to mind Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan. Her “qualification” is that her radical views will facilitate the changes that Obama plans to enforce. She has never been a judge. But from what she has written, spoken and actions she has taken, it is clear that she would shred the Constitution as we know it, substituting eisegesis (reading in her own ideas) for exegesis of the text.
“He has erected a multitude of new offices,” sounds very much like Obama’s ubiquitous “Czars”.
The Declaration of Independence plainly states King George, III “is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”. But the decision to seek independence from his tyranny only came after the Americans “warned them, (the British) from time to time, of attempts made by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.” “An unwarrantable jurisdiction” is exactly how I would describe the recent health care bill. There is nothing in our constitution that gives government the right to dictate to us how we meet our own personal needs. It is an absolute invasion into an individual’s privacy.
But our government has decided they want us to be DEPENDENT upon them. They don’t want us to be independent. Think about this when you celebrate the 234th birthday of the United States of America. What are you celebrating, our independence or our dependence? Or do you even care?