July 4, 1776
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 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.
July 4, 2013
More than two and a quarter centuries have passed since the Declaration of Independence was signed, and we wake to a world no less in peril. We wake to a government that uses the powers it derives from the governed to enforce regulations unfairly, depending upon the beliefs held by the parties in question. We wake to a government that so distrusts its own people – the same people whose rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness it exists to secure – that it monitors their everyday communications. We wake to a government that attempts to infringe upon the people’s right to bear arms, to worship and speak freely, to be secure in their persons and their property. We wake to a government that has forgotten its place.
We wake, too, to a citizenry who has forgotten its place. They have forgotten that government powers derive from them. They have forgotten that the Bill of Rights is not a list of freedoms given to us by a benevolent government, but a partial list of inalienable rights against which the government must not trespass. They have even forgotten the principles upon which this nation was founded. Rather than honor the right to trial by jury, some pass judgment on court cases they watch on television and declare the defendant guilty, going so far as to recommend rioting and bloodshed if the “correct” verdict isn’t reached.
It is said that in a democracy, you get the government you deserve. Perhaps it is true. So rather than focus on the ills in our government, I’d like to spend time this Independence Day challenging you to deserve a better government.
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