The beginnings of our nation are annually celebrated on the 4th of July. It is also a time to revisit, reconsider and rededicate ourselves to the basic principles and ideas of the Declaration of Independence first publicly read on July 4th, 1776.
That Declaration of Independence was the very heart of the American Revolution. It was the basis of the democracy formed to replace English tyranny and its rule by an aristocratic elite.
We have sometimes been less than faithful to some of the principles of that declaration. However, over the last half century, culminating in the excesses of the last four years, we have watched a consistent dismantling of our democracy, our basic governance, our sense of justice and community and any sense of equality. We have witnessed the basic structures built to protect our citizens and our basic democracy abandoned and replaced by structures built only to keep an economic aristocracy permanently in power.
Let's revisit some of the segments of that declaration:
It first declared that human beings have--"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 affect 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."
It identified fundamental problems that would require change; such a--"abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: "
It also identified what makes a poor ruler--"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."
It identified a dysfunctional government--"They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity."
And finally, there is the call to action--"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."
This is a document about making a necessary and fundamental change when conditions become to intolerable and unjust for the human hope for democracy to survive.
To paraphrase another old saying "Now is the time for all citizens to come to the aid of their country".
The only question is how applicable is all of this to our current situation?