In 1776, representatives of the residents in thirteen North American colonies adopted a Declaration of Independence that set forth the philosophical principles behind their recent and future actions, their grievances against King George III of Great Britain, and the redress they sought. The Declaration famously illuminated the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness held by all women and men. The writer of the Declaration substituted "pursuit of happiness" for "property" found in earlier formulations of enumerated natural rights, considering property to be a creation of humans that is valued, protected, and used but not intrinsic to human endeavor.
After struggle, victory, and peace, representatives of the citizens of the thirteen sovereign, independent states established from initial trial and error, through debate and consensus a new form of government of, by, and for the people. That government has withstood invasion, wars of expansion, defense, principle, ideology and questionable motive, economic transformations, immigration of individuals from every part of the world, cultural awakenings, social unrest and political corruption, assassinations, and a great conflagration that soaked this country's fields with blood from self-inflicted wounds and tore the fabric of its shared civic culture. That government has evolved as its creators intended to meet new challenges and provided infrastructure, regulations, and services as the need arose. That government remains a beacon of hope for all human beings seeking democratic, representative, responsible, humane, and limited rule over their affairs.
Today, many citizens of the United States of America fear their government has become a creature of the wealthy, the corporations from which the wealthy derive their resources, and the politicians driven to act in the interests of those corporations due to their need for funds to fuel their endless campaigns to stay in office. Some of those citizens have made their concerns known by occupying parks, streets, and public areas in the cities and other locations around this country. These peaceful groups have called upon the one percent that wields power through wealth and elected office to return the government, its policies, laws, regulations, and justice to the ninety-nine percent that have the capacity to fuel the economy, generate jobs, mobilize society, and move forward but are starved of the resources to do so. They seek change.
As the colonial representatives knew two hundred thirty-five years ago, great change must be founded on rational principles soundly developed from evidence, facts, and natural law. Such are the times now that some choose to twist, dissect, or profane the principles supporting change out of fear, ignorance, or self-interest. Nonetheless, the foundations for change are present for all to see. The evidence is clear.
We truly are created equal, endowed with certain rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We all require and are entitled to consistent shelter, social and familial companionship, wellness and good health, education to our potential, full and complete nourishment, adequate clothing, employment of our skills and knowledge, and safety from harm. We build communities. We support our brothers and sisters regardless of skin color, religion, ability, belief, condition, sex, attribute, or characteristic. We treat one another with respect and dignity. We are a diverse, compassionate nation of free individuals.
The ninety-nine percent are held back by the actions and whims of the one percent. Witness the facts: the wealthy have steadily increased their share of the nation's wealth at the expense of the poor and middle classes; politicians have pledged to enact no taxes despite the necessity for revenues to meet the needs of the people and revitalize our nation's infrastructure; corporations have been deemed persons with political rights, allowing these corporations to support candidates and political causes financially, thereby drowning out the voices of voters; elected officials have engaged the nation in lengthy, unwarranted wars that have sapped the economy, killed and harmed tens of thousands of people, and invoked ill feelings abroad; state legislators and governors have used the narrow tenets of religion as the sole basis for laws that restrict the exercise of fundamental human rights by all; politicians have set out arbitrary and selfish requirements prior to debate on issues that require negotiation and consensus; companies, business groups, and single-issue interests have used their resources to influence and shape legislation and regulations for their limited benefit, squeezing out the common good; representatives have conducted inquiries and provided earmarked funds for their own self promotion; laws have been passed to address issues that do not actually exist and other laws have not been taken up that would address pressing concerns, all for partisan gain; the judiciary has become suspect of issuing opinions based on ideology and party affiliation rather than the law and common sense; financiers and investors have used the markets and banks with little oversight and adjustable scruples to speculate, profit, and gain without adding real value to the economy; many news media businesses have adopted clear ideological perspectives while continuing to claim the mantle of unbiased journalism; the United States Senate has adopted rules that require almost all legislation to find support from many more than half plus one members of the chamber, making a mockery of the idea of unlimited debate established by the nation's founders; and candidates for public office have created the endless election cycle in their quest to hold onto their offices once acquired.
These are reasons for deep concern regarding the future of this nation. Their mitigation and elimination require substantial action. Citizens that have occupied
Bear -- 8 November 2011
Daffodil by Bear