As a nation founded on a proposition that is simple to state but challenging to live by and fulfill, this Fourth of July sees us examining ourselves and our leadership against what Jefferson believed was innately possible as a gift from our creator.
Few nations or kingdoms have been blessed at their origin with such a profound and explicit pledge that believes in equality and when properly governed that the goodness of people will emerge.
The Declaration of Independence was approved today on the Fourth of July 1776 by the Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted our enduring manuscript.
Jefferson, rightly regarded as the clearest, most eloquent writer, created what remains one of our core documents. It simply states that all of us equals could work at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This of course led from our Articles of Confederation, to our Declaration and thence to one of the finest organizing documents of the 18th or any other century – our Constitution – effective 4 July 1789.
We the People – were refugees or immigrants or slaves, lettered or illiterate who were fleeing or had escaped from religious and political persecution. The ideals embodied in our laws say we will work together to be free of despots and kings. It also implicitly and explicitly says that all lives matter – a principal that still needs much more work in its adherence. But one that is now rightly being reexamined so that a better good for all of us can emerge.
So, in these days of COVID 19 remember that most of us still aspire to uphold these ideals in our conduct. It’s the reason that the unthinkable once happened – a standing British army, the finest, best equipped the world had seen, was forced to surrender in the field for the first time since the Napoleonic wars to a mere group of ill-trained state militias and the rag-tag Continental Army.
Yes, unthinkable to the Crown, Court, Parliament and British Peer General Cornwallis – but it was thinkable and live-able and actionable to the colonialists. The Declaration and the Constitution were the articulate human mind behind of the Spirit of 1776. These ideals are still worth fighting for. They were – and are – bigger than the kings and despots, corrupt then and now with our generation of incompetent politicians courted and feared by latter day avatars of Redcoats, Hessians and other mercenaries or lobbyists.
In that Spirit of the Enlightenment, we overcame oppression against the odds, rejected false Divine Right of King theories and shed corrupt leadership. We were not and are not Summer Soldiers or Sunshine Patriots. We can do it once again as the proposition and its spirit endures.
We need, no must, cast off a corrupt mis-Administration where the reelection a self-interested despot and his courtiers trumps the Constitution; An administration that is not interested in allowing the innate goodness of We the People – no matter color or creed or origin – to develop; A leadership that deliberately fuels the embers of mistaken hatreds of the past; disenfranchises voters; actively – demonstrably – mismanages our public health and welfare and well being; and mocks our Constitution.
Once again, a day of reckoning is at hand because we fell short of our adherence to that self-evident proposition. We need to acknowledge where we fell short, the mistakes we made and make corrections. Let us toast July 4th – May our current impeached president be the last president of the spirit of a traitorous Confederacy. Our spirit – We the People is one that emerged in 1776 and was enshrined in 1789.
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