*This post was originally published July 4, 2009. I felt it was time for a rerun.
The Declaration Of Independence
WHEN in the Course blah blah blah
WE hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal blah blah
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah (lots of blahs)
pledge our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
So what the heck is that? I'll tell you. That is the version of The Declaration Of Independence that most Americans know. Those are just about the only parts they remember. That's too bad, because there amongst all those blahs are some true gems--our real National Treasure.
Let me share with you some of my favorite parts of The Declaration that most people don't know are there, hidden among the blahs.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,
The laws of Nature, and of Nature's God. From the very beginning, America seems to have been ordained by God. Even before the founding fathers appealed to him, even before the pilgrims came seeking the freedom to worship as they saw fit. All the way back to Cristobol Colombus, who took the name Christopher, which means Christ Bearer, later in life--when he decided to sail West instead of East, because he believed that is the direction God wanted him to go, God has had his hand on this country. Our forefathers believed it. Benjamin Franklin said, "I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an entire empire can rise without His aid?"
A decent respect to the opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impell them to the separation.
I like this line. I just do. Our forefathers believed in the utmost courtesy. That is something that has been lost in the whiny, selfish, perpetual teenage American citizen of today. It's something we need to get back to. Courtesy. If it was good enough for Thomas Jefferson, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.
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 to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.
Rights don't come from government. They come from God. Governments are there to secure them, not grant them and certainly not to take them away.
That when any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.
It is a God given right for a people to set up the government that best keeps their safety and happiness secure. If it isn't working, it is their right to change it.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, persuing 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 provide new guards for their future security.
It is the duty of the citizen to be involved. It is the duty of the citizen to keep the government in check. It is the duty of every American to be responsible for himself and his family, and not allow the government control over every aspect of his life--even if it means he has to work to rpovide for his family, and buy his own health insurance.
A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Now, this doesn't limit itself to royalty. There are certain people in this country who may think themselves American Royalty, and want to rule with an iron hand. These people are unfit to lead a free people.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
See, this is the thing. Fifty six men signed the Declaration of Independence, but it was nothing more than a piece of paper until they backed it up with their blood. And it wasn't just them. Every man who fought. Every woman who watched her husband, her son, go off to fight, knowing that they might not come home again. Patrick Henry summed up their feelings best when he said, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Our forefathers believed in liberty enough to die for it. Do we?