from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Declaration of Independence -- a few thoughts 

On this anniversary of the public issuance of our nation's founding document, I thought it might be worthwhile to offer a very few brief reflections upon it. I am well aware that anything I may herein venture is likely sto ahve been saide elsewhere with far better clarity anf force than I can offer. I also forewarn all who read this that my words will not be well-organized. Rather, they will represent something of a gut reaction as I, in this time of turmoil both at home and around the world, reflect upon the Declaration.

One of the reasons for the publishing of the Declaration was the idea that the founders owed "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." Today those words are repeatedly betrayed by our current (mal)administration. They do not care what other may think, and are prepared to obfuscate, cheat and lie to achieve goals they desire regardless of the benefit of those goals to others.

The signers pledge to one another "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." I have written elsewhere about this, under the title "Three reasons Bush/Cheney could NOT sign"

The Declaration come in the Pledge the signers made

they did not plege their lives, at least when it came to serving their nation in military service

they have been unwilling to subject their fortunes to the same assessments for support of this nation as they require of ordinary people; Cheney ran Halliburton he profited using overseas subsidiaries to get around US laws of trading with Iran and Iarq; and Bush's fortune comes to large degree from the initiative to build the Rangers stadium at taxpayer expense

and they have no honor

or maybe they could, if they (Bush/Cheney) were the ONLY signers, because
- at this point, their lives do depend on one another, because they have turned most of the world and an increasingly larger part of the nation against them

they have continued to enrich themselves and their buddies at the expense of the public good

and at least between themselves they can pretend that they have honor, even as the rest of the world knows they do not.

So many of the grievances against the King could be applied against this admnistration, as multiple people have posted at various blogs today. One such list can be found at dailykos HERE (I have BOLDED the words of the poster:

"He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

The most corrupt administration in history.

"He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance..."

While cargo containers go uninspected, a health care crisis exists, he worries about an unnecessary war and Terry Schiavo...

"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...",  

Red states get preferential treatment- poors and minorities have to wait in line 12 hours to vote...

"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."

Would continuing to re-appoint the same right-wing judges over and over count?

"He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people."

He hasn't yet...

"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."

Failing to protect the nation from terror after 5 years.

"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."

OK, mexican trucks?

"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers."

Given that judges that disagree should be coerced and intimidated according to his party...

"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."

Homeland security.

"He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures."

Uhhhh... yeah...

"He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."

Fixing intelligence?

And I LOVE the special section of the declaration dedicated to Gitmo...

"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.

I truly believe that all of what we hold dear, all the progress we have seen made in over two centuries of our independence, are under attack by this administration. Thye would role back the advances New Deal and the Civil Rights eras, deny any zone of privacy exempt from government intrusion, act on the assumption that the Executive is not subject ot law or oversight by Congress, justify obfuscation and lying to suit their purposes. They would deny the ideas of liberty and self-governance by the people proclaimed in the Declaration and enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The signers of the Declaration knew what they were risking in their public statement. In opposing the Crown they became in the eyes of that power traitors subject to the full punishment of the law. And yet they demanded no more than their basic rights as Englishmen.

Perhaps now, 229 years later, we should similarly pledge to one another, knowing the risks, in order that the dream this nation once promised the world, the dream that Langston Hughes described as deferred for too many or our residents, be reinvigorated. We need to mind Lincoln's words in 1863, and be vigilant, so "that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. "

To quote another founder "These are the times that try men's souls." To remain quiet is to become complicit as our freedom, our liberty, our very demoocracy, are taken from us.

Just a few random thoughts from one American who believes that criticizing this administration is not only NOT wrong, but is in fact a sacred obligation.

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