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Abler-Minded: 1776 and today

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been submitted by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. A committee of five was selected to draft the actual Declaration of Independence. They were John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert Livingston of New York, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. It is commonly accepted that Thomas Jefferson wrote at least the first draft and the final wording was adopted on July 4, 1776.

The Preamble to the Declaration states, “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.” While this sentence is likely one of the most famous ever written in the English language, many give it little credence today as they ignore God and the beginnings of life are just a matter of “choice.”

Continuing on, the Preamble says, “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 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.”

Thinking back to the McCarthy era and the House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt, I always wonder about how the activities of so many of their targets were at least philosophically supported by this passage. Indeed, there are federal laws today that would seem to ignore these statements. Regardless, the underlying responsibility for us citizens is to knowledgeably and effectively exercise our right to vote. If we continue to vote for the person or party that offers more handouts, we are only prolonging a corrupt system.

The Preamble concludes, “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 Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

We are accustomed to suffer rather than to right ourselves. And that allows the government to reduce us to near absolute despotism. I often joked to my fellow aviators in the Air Force that we could probably not fly one sortie without breaking some rule or regulation that we probably didn’t even know about. I don’t even have a figure but I think it’s safe to say that the Federal government produces thousands of pages of new rules and regulations every day. That’s so many that none of us can hope to keep track of them.

And the crowning achievement of this administration is ObamaCare. Did you know that the rules for many parts of this legislation are still being written? To me, this is akin to the “double secret probation” Dean Wormer imposed on Delta House at Faber College in the movie, Animal House. There are some interesting parallels in thinking about that movie and the current administration, but I don’t think I will explore them here.

Suffice it to say that in some areas I and the individual States could make a strong argument that there are a “long train of abuses and usurpations” that has reduced us to being “under near-absolute despotism,” and has brought us to the point where we would be justified – and even required – “to throw off such government.” To quote Shakespeare, “tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

I heard an interesting observation at coffee the other day. I cannot name the original source to give him or her credit. Anyway, to paraphrase, what was said was that our President has not been a good President, but he has been an excellent Democrat. I believe that’s a true statement. His agenda has been one-sided to say the least. On the other hand, I can’t identify too many politicians in Washington who are working for the good of the American people instead of the good of their party. Statesmen and statesmanship are true rarities in today’s politician.

I honestly think that while we celebrate Independence Day and believe ourselves to be truly free, we ought to realize that the federal and state governments have become gargantuan organizations that treat us as subjects and vassals who must bow to their every whim, rule and regulation in virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

I wonder what day we should celebrate as Total Dependence Day.

Well, that’s the way I see it.