By Pat Tarzwell
Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago a group of men gathered in Philadelphia on hot summer afternoon while their fellow countrymen were engaged up north in what they thought was a Civil War. This Civil War started when the British came to take away their guns by the way, not as we have all been taught, taxation without representation. In fact, taxation was mentioned only once in the 27 grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence soon to be written. This Civil War was to reclaim their rights as Englishmen. This Civil War would change the course of history for all mankind, not because we were that important, but they came up with a new concept:
Government could be formed with debate, deliberation, on purpose and for a purpose. Man was not sovereign and could not be, but God was.
This group formed a structure with God above all things, declaring that our rights come from Him, and only He could take them away (unalienable). The people were next, all equal at birth, allowed to pursue that which would bring them happiness as long as it did not hurt someone else. The states and local government were next in line of importance, and lastly the Federal government, which really was an afterthought. These latter two were to be controlled by the former.
We have turned that upside down. Now we put the Federal Government on top, the States are next, then the people and if you keep him to yourself, God might be tolerated by the government.
In today’s narcissistic world the ideas so eloquently stated by Thomas Jefferson are so foreign to the vast majority of Americans, that this sentence might as well be written in Latin:
”all experience hath shown 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.”
Responsible to Remember
We get comfortable and lazy accepting things as they are, because that is all we have known. We must remember that we are responsible to maintain this government, that we are the ones that are supposed to keep government in check, that when it needs pruning, that will have to come from us. That government is meant to serve the people by protecting their God-given rights. And that freedom will not stay with those that do not work for it. These are the meanings of Jefferson’s words.
With Independence Day just around the corner, let’s remember as we honor the men that gave their all to give us this country we love so much, that the founders of this country put their faith and trust in God’s divine providence and pledged to one another their Lives, their Fortunes and their Sacred Honor, while signing their death warrants. We have a debt to those men, to pass on what they did and live our lives knowing what our responsibilities to this nation are going forward.
Have a memorable Independence Day.
(You may detect a slight service bias here.
Deal with it.)
This post was originally published on July 3, 2013.