by Christine Smith
“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…”
A strong bold and clear definition of the proper form of government, one deriving its power from the citizens solely to protect the rights each individual is born with. Fifty years later, Jefferson wrote in a letter to Henry Lee describing the Declaration of Independence as “an appeal to the tribunal of the world,” and “…intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion…”
Continuing from the Declaration of Independence, “…Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. 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…” 56 signers put their lives on the line for a vision we as Americans celebrate every 4th of July.
They were men unafraid to challenge the injustices imposed upon the people, bold enough to declare the existence of 13 sovereign states, and courageous in stating clearly the people should be governed by the rule of law not by the words and control of a man with dictatorial rule, unrestrained by law, unjust, a usurper of sovereignty…in short - a tyrant.
Yet is that spirit of courage present today? Where are such patriots? Where are individuals who truly love freedom and will fight to ensure the liberties we hold so dearly are not taken from us? Certainly not in the halls of Congress (with rare exceptions). And most certainly not in the White House…and November 2008 will do nothing to change this sad fact. We, as a nation, willingly participate in a huge farce. A dark comedy. Only without the laughs. For this nation will again install yet another “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
But though unfit to rule a “free people” they are fit to be the ruler of the American people, because the people continue to accept more and more loss of their liberties. Each 4th of July weekend we’ll see the flags waving, the festive parades, the BB Q’s, the fireworks and patriotic songs…but do we see liberty? I think we see vestiges of the freedoms we once held so dearly and were willing to fight for. We see symbols, removed from the truth, enjoyable representations of days and a country (a republic) far gone. Yes, we have liberties, but we are losing them at an alarming rate as we continue to elect people who care nothing for liberty.
Celebrating is fine, it’s what the founders wanted: As John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, on July 3, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence had been approved, saying,“It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory…”
We’ve got the “Pomp and Parade” and the sports and all the other festivities, but we have omitted the “Toil” and all that goes with that as well as the “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” In doing so, the people as a whole have not maintained the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, and rather have permitted a government to become so huge, unresponsive, unjust, immoral, authoritarian, burdensome, wielding power without regard to the wishes of the people any longer. Most Americans have brought so little solemnity to defending the Republic, that they don’t even grasp that which they’re celebrating on the 4th of July, and they certainly don’t give it a thought until the next holiday they can celebrate and feel patriotic about. If the enormous number of Americans having a good time today channeled just some of that energy into challenging the corrupt status quo by refusing to ever again vote for a politician who doesn’t uphold the U.S. Constitution in all their policies and decisions, things would change. No longer would the lying politicians have a mandate from the people to continue as they are - giving lip service to all things patriotic while being the antithesis to liberty.
I’m all for having a celebratory enjoyable time with friends in honor of our independence, but I am well aware that “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” (Thomas Paine). I don’t see most Americans doing anything to support it. Instead they treat politics like a game, with the biggest example of that being the political party conventions which are just a big party, with the rest of Americans who don’t attend hyping themselves up emotionally over their preferred dictator.
What has happened to the liberty you are celebrating when you have a government that assumes an essentially dictatorial rule since 9/11; a president exercising power and authority as no president prior, along with a Congress that rubberstamps it all? And consider the decades of oppressive taxation by this federal government while providing virtually no representation; so why do millions of Americans go to the polls and cast a vote for anyone, be they from the “left” or “right” who seeks to not only continue the oppression but increase it?
Recognize that any candidate who has supported or defended the Iraq War, the “War on Terror” or the Patriot Act; pledges to increase foreign aid; refers to foreign nations as our “enemies;” supports using our military for any reason other than defense of America; maintains the use of embargoes; supports the “War on Drugs;” advocates windfall profits tax; supports expanding the government be it for “campaign finance reform,” Medicare, supporting airline bailouts, federalizing regulation of sports such as boxing, education, or any other “good cause” at your literal expense; or who advocates any number of other unconstitutional positions, is “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
A candidate that does not openly and boldly state they will cease the imperialistic agenda of the U.S. government by ending all meddling in the affairs of other nations - no exceptions - and any candidate who seeks to use and increase “legal plunder” as Bastiat says to fund programs to “help” people by taking from others - is not fit to “be the ruler of a free people.” In my opinion, there’s not a single candidate running which I believe (save one) is a patriot, who would always endeavor to put the true best interest of the American people (the upholding of the U.S. Constitution) above all political agendas, who respects individual liberty and a truly free market, and would at least try to reign in the out of control government intrusion/invasions of our civil liberties, taxation, much less end the interventionist assaults on sovereign peoples worldwide.
Resolve to re-dedicate yourself to really trying to make a difference for the cause of liberty. Vow to withhold your time, money and work from all political candidates for any office whom you distrust. Past voting records, empty words, vacillation on issues, and outright declarations of so many unconstitutional positions proves to me that a candidate is unworthy of my support. I will cast a vote only for a candidate, who if they received the office, would not only swear to uphold the Constitution but I believe they would do it. I vow to be always be a voter of integrity. I will cast my vote as if it would determine who will be in that office. As a voter of integrity, your candidate may not win this time, but neither will you have again been a part of giving “a democratically elected dictator” (defined by Jacob G. Hornberger in his article A Democratic Dictatorship as “a person who has been duly elected to office who exercises dictatorial powers”) a mandate from the people.
As for me, the choice is clear: I’m writing in the name of Ron Paul. Let’s dedicate ourselves to actively working for liberty at every level of government, and let’s be part of a unified effort across this country to write in “Ron Paul” on the ballot in November. Any other vote is a wasted vote.
Christine Smith is a writer and political activist from