Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July Fourth: Commemorating Independence

On this date in 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the American Colonies adopted a document called the Declaration of Independence, which was mostly authored by Thomas Jefferson. It is in honour of that incendiary proclamation that today's eponymously named holiday, July Fourth, was created, but the true spirit of the document and our nation's birth has been lost among the incessant drone of false patriotism meant to preserve a system grown bloated with corruption.

I know many will interpret my words as rebellious, idealistic, hyperbolic and possibly seditious, but that's exactly how I want to commemorate this quintessential piece of political rhetoric and that is how Jefferson's taunting of the British monarchy was perceived when written 231 years ago. Atop a list of grievances against the laws and actions of King George III, Jefferson crafted a series of statements that inspired revolutions around the world.

It was an initial and mortal volley against imperialism. It shined a beacon across the globe that drew countries toward the principles of democratic, republican government. Unfortunately, that beacon has dimmed from our shores and been overtaken by quite a different signal beaming messages of corporate greed and exploitation in the service of a new kind of imperialism that seeks global economic hegemony. We as Americans need to hold up the looking glass, cast a penetrating gaze at ourselves, and determine if our government has lost its way. Are we becoming the tyrants we once expelled? Is it time for a new revolution?

Below, I include Jefferson's first paragraphs, which we should always keep in mind, but especially keep close on this day of celebration. Read the words with an open mind, not as some historical record to be archived and forgotten, but as a testament to human freedom and equality. and a call to action for those suffereing under the misrule of leaders trying to suppress those rights. Use this holiday as a day to question the prevailing social order, and as a day of reckoning for our wayward administration.

Ask yourselves what meaning the Declaration of Independence has in the context of the current xenophobic public debate over immigration, which tries to exalt native citizens as due more rights than those seeking to join us. Ask yourselves whose interests our current government, bought and sold by corporate lobbyists, is serving. Ask yourselves what right our leaders have to extend their reach into other sovreign nations, setting up puppet dictatorships that pursue a narrow agenda of pernicious profiteering. Exert your own personal independence by rising above the cacophony of propaganda to carry out your duty to establish "new guards" for our present and future security.

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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly 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.
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