July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Today in the United States we celebrate not only these words but the spirit behind them.

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,
And that's about all that most Americans have ever heard (if that much) of the Declaration. But the men that rose up against the English king in the 1770s weren't simple rabble rousers out to take power for themselves. Some no doubt met that description, but most did not. Many turned to Independence reluctantly, and they were careful to outline their grievances. But even in the Declaration they hinted at the thinking that led to the form of government we have now.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Today we change our government every few years, or at least the people who are governing. While this has solved many of the problems of a monarchy, it has not been flawless.

Today we do not celebrate our government, our elected officials, our troops, the Revolution, or the fact that we won it. Today we celebrate the courage and wisdom of the people (men and women) who stood up for their liberty against tyranny. They risked their lives and livelihoods for their ideals.

Sometimes it's very difficult to tell the difference between insurgents and freedom fighters. On July 4th every year, and indeed on every day of the year, Americans should seek the wisdom to be able to tell the difference, and to take the side of liberty rather than the side of tyranny in the world's conflicts.

Read the Declaration recently? If not, find it here.

1 comment:

stacy said...

I carry a copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence around on my Kindle. : )