The Fourth – What Independence Really Meant!

John Hancock signature as shown on the engrossed copy of the US Declaration of IndependenceThe Fourth of July is a pageant celebrating our independence from an Imperial nation that denied us self-rule, dignity and freedom.

It’s a time of marching bands, waving flags, capped with cloud-brushing, soaring multicolored flashes of fireworks, lighting the night sky, to the sound of oohs and aahs from crowds across the nation.

It evokes the language of the declaration hammered out in a hot Philadelphia Hall, striking and revising the words of Thomas Jefferson, setting forth who we believed we were as a nation aborning.

We must reflect upon the sentiments of that grand occasion, and how we may fulfill those worthy sentiments today when our independence is at risk from within and from without, including, according to intelligence sources and a Senate Committee, a foreign nation state, Russia, that interfered in our elections.

When we declared our independence, we said we believed that we are all “created equal.” We have struggled since to perfect that sentiment, but of late, persons of color, Muslims and women are treated as suspect by some.

We should respect the notion that “prudence” does dictate that “governments long established,” as ours, “should not be changed for light and transient causes,” but we watch critical functions in the Executive Department compromised or destroyed by Cabinet Officers and the Chief Executive.

Our declaration of independence declared, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The government policy favoring the separation of migrant parents from their children defied the will of the people.  It has required the people and the press and the courts to try to set right this wrong.

Our Declaration of Independence was an indictment of oppressive rule.

The Declaration sanctioned Great Britain when the King had “refused his assent to laws…”

We have a Chief Executive who would be King who fails to respect and enforce our laws, who favors court rulings only if they favor his “rule.”

As was true of King George, we have a Chief Executive who has forbidden “to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance.”  Among them are laws and regulations to sustain the health care of millions of Americans, the protections necessary for our air and water, to safeguard our public lands, to respect migrants seeking asylum, and to provide for the “general welfare.”

Like King George, we have a Chief Executive who “has obstructed the Administration of Justice …”

In regal fashion, claiming unprecedented power to do as he wishes, our Chief Executive fires those who dare to investigate or question his conduct.  Elected officials couldn’t pass a bill to block effort by our Chief Executive to fire the Special Counsel charged with investigating him. Even now, when the Special Counsel has detailed efforts to obstruct his investigation and fire him, our elected officials opine critically but do nothing to prosecute or impeach our Chief Executive for his misconduct.

Slight offenses by our citizenry are punished in disproportion for minor offenses, and our Chief Executive daily misleads the nation, attacks its institutions, violates its laws, and seemingly with impunity.

What are we to do when the man who occupies the West Wing acts as a “Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant ..”

Is that person not, as we found King George, “unfit to be the Ruler of a free people?”

In our declaration of Independence, it was well said that “[A]ll 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.”

We must resist this Administration’s objective that appears calculated to destroy all that was good about this nation.

Our Declaration of Independence plainly stated that “whenever any form of Government becomes obstructive …it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it … to affect their safety and happiness.”

The Declaration further said “[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the governed] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government.”

In this Administration, we are far past that threshold.  Whether by indictment, resignation or impeachment, it must be done. This is of course the language of law and constitutional obligation but the Congress fails its oath of office, makes busy, and accomplishes nothing to deter this Chief Executive out of control in defiance of law and good conduct.

Our character as a nation, our cultural DNA, is of rugged independence, as lovers of freedom, with a can-do spirit, and an extended hand to help others on a journey, still underway, to secure for every person the rights that we declared paramount, the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It is, however, not manifest in the conduct of its elected officials.

It will require the people to do what our elected officials have proven themselves incapable of doing.

Could there be a more blatant disconnect than to have this self-declared potentate address the nation on the Fourth of July.

I think not.