How many of you have read the Declaration of Independence recently? How many of you know what it says, or what it means to our culture? How many of you are aware that this document is what we celebrate on Friday, July 4
We will celebrate the day. There will be parades, festivals, yard sales, cookouts and fireworks. But you will seldom hear any reference to the document that is being celebrated. I suppose that is because in today’s political atmosphere, many of the comments in that document will be considered to be politically incorrect.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Get that? We are entitled to independence by “the laws of nature and nature’s God.”
The Declaration of Independence continues: “… that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights .” In other words, our rights as free men and women are not given to us by government. We are endowed with those rights by God. Government’s only role is to preserve and protect those rights.
The next politically incorrect statement in the Declaration is: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …” That means that governing power is based on the will of the people, and that the only powers government has are those the “people” voluntarily transfer to it.
To make this point even stronger, the document says: “…. 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 effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Finally, The Declaration of Independence clearly supports the sovereignty of the states. Even the title of the document reflects this. “The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies.” Then in the final paragraph it declares: “…. in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”
Let us be completely clear about the Declaration of Independence. It states that our rights and freedoms are from God, not government. It says that we, the people of the various states, are the source of governing authority and that the right to govern goes up from the people, not down from the federal government. And it makes clear that the right to govern, sovereignty, is assigned to the states, not the federal government.
Finally, the Declaration of Independence clearly states that when we the people find that government becomes abusive of our rights, we have the right to change that government. In my opinion, it is time for changes. The federal government has seized far too much power that belongs to the states. It needs to be pushed back to the limits assigned to it by the Constitution, returning power to the states and to the people. That is why this year’s elections are so important. Seek out those candidates who promise to limit the power of government and recognize the right of the people to control government, not the other way around.
It is our right to reclaim our government. We need to get it done.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://frankgillispie.tripod.com/