Archive for July 1st, 2011

July 4, in the Words of our Forefathers

July 4.  Independence Day.  A federal holiday.  A time for family and friends, fireworks, picnics, and barbecues.  But do we ever think about what the day actually means? 

Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the King of Britain.  You may think it’s archaic and inapplicable to modern events, but take a moment to read it.  I just did, and it’s really compelling, particularly the Preamble.     

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 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 Depotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

This is, of course, our forefathers’ explanation for declaring our independence from Britain.  Read the reasons closely.  Anything jump out at you?  It sure did for me…

– Governments are formed by the people, deriving their powers from the people, to ensure everyone’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

– A change in government should not be made lightly.  But when a government engages in repeated abuses, it is the right if not the duty of the people to abolish that government and create a new one. 

As you celebrate July 4, think about these words; they should be a wake-up call for every American. 

Our government is supposed to be run by the people for the people.  Not Wall Street.  Not the rich and powerful.  The people.  Yet it feels more and more like our government is run by the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful. 

We are trillions in debt.  Who has this helped? 

Millions of Americans have been foreclosed.  Who has this helped? 

Wall Street took billions of dollars of our money.  Who has this helped? 

Millions of Americans are struggling with foreclosure while Wall Street rakes in record profits.  What is our government doing to fix this?

If our forefathers were still alive, I wonder if they’d be leading a new revolution.  If that sounds radical or extremist, think about what’s happening today and read the words of our forefathers:

When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Depotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their security.

I still think our country is the best in the world, and I’m not trying to start a revolution.  What I’m saying is that it’s up to all of us to take action to speak out against the repeated abuses in Wall Street and our government.  It’s our government, and it’s up to all of us to fix it.  It won’t be easy, but if we don’t try, then we might as well have never declared our independence from Britain in the first place.

Mark Stopa

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