“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” The courts and common morality define this as all human beings are created equal. Period. Conservatives are all about this while liberals believe some classes are more equal than others.
“…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This says that many of our rights are God-given. That the right to life cannot be infringed by the State. That freedom to move about and prosper, liberty, cannot be controlled by the State (without due process). That the pursuit of happiness is our unalienable right for us and our families to live our lives as we see fit (as long as we do not impede our neighbors’ right to the same).
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed…” The powers of government to secure the God-given rights must be just, and they come from the consent of the people. Thus, the people loan to government some of the power given to the people by the Creator, but it is limited power and only for the legitimate purposes of government. I suggest we deviated slightly from this principle. This phrase is the setup to the most important sentence of the Declaration of Independence:
“…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.”
Thomas Jefferson could not have made it any clearer. America’s founders desired a land in which men might live in liberty. By declaring independence from the government of England and instituting a new government on this continent, they did not create that government for the sole purpose of having a government, or for creating jobs or propping up the elite, but rather, it was built as a fortress to house those principles that secured our freedoms.
They crafted a document designed to carry and shelter our precious freedom and liberty. Government was a secure container to protect that which they considered to be irreplaceably precious—our liberty. Even the independence they sought was a side effect; the main object was liberty. Even the formation of the Constitution in 1787, while a divinely-inspired document, was not the object; the object was freedom.
The Declaration then goes on to list its grievances against England, which are numerous and not too different from some of the challenges we face today.
- “…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.” This means the federal government interfering with issues that should be local.
- “…has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.”
- “…has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws…” This includes the United Nations’ mandates and could even be applied to the tariffs.
The Declaration concludes with this: “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…”
In 2018 we are experiencing an American Spring. We are rediscovering our entitled rights. Rights granted by God and those earned by citizenship. The shame is that we are rediscovering them more or less by accident because of President Trump.
The National Archives’ website hosts a page that invites you to sign the Declaration of Independence. After you sign the document and hit ‘submit’ these words appear:
“Are you sure you want to sign the Declaration of Independence? If you had been a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1776, you were a rebel and considered a traitor by the King. You knew that a reward had been posted for the capture of certain prominent rebel leaders and the largest British armada ever assembled was just outside New York harbor. Affixing your name to the document meant that you pledged your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor to the cause of freedom.”
Supporting this President and the Republican Party in 2018 is playing the parts of a rebel and a traitor to the previous administration’s big government mandates and wealth redistribution.
So as you gather with friends and family to watch the fireworks this coming week, will you be thinking about how lucky you are to be a citizen of a country where freedom is a basic right? America is a country where we can dream up ideas and turn them into businesses and hopefully live up to the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.