Medical Indignities
Ruth Rendell and Me – Getting Older

The Fourth of July 2007

category_bug_politics.gif 231 years ago today, members of the Second Continental Congress signed a document declaring the 13 colonies to be independent from the oppressive government of King George III of Great Britain. And then they fought a war to establish The United States of America.

Speaking at Gettysburg 144 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln declared the importance of this founding document when he said,

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

This week, with the president's commutation of the prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby, we the people of the United States have been shown - not for this first time during the administration of this modern-day George - that today all men are NOT created equal in the United States. Libby, convicted of the felony crimes of perjury, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice, will serve less time than Paris Hilton.

It is appropriate, therefore, while we enjoy the parades, backyard barbecues and fireworks displays that celebrate the ideals on which this country was founded, that we remind ourselves of those principles and note the remarkable resemblance between the indictment in the words of the men of the Second Continental Congress and how our government operates today.

Declaration of Independence
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds 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.

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. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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. 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. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. 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.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, 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; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. 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

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz explains how her five-year-old ruined a man's day in Chris and the Encyclopedia Salesman.]


Comments

Amen!

A very appropriate reminder

I wrote today on my blog: Isn't it great that we have this system of publishing and distributing our ideas easily and quickly to the world?
This is THE Bloggers Holiday.

Thank you for printing the entire Declaration. It is both amazing and frightening to compare the grievances against King George with the actions of President George. Our Founding Fathers gave us redress to such actions by including the power of impeachment against a tyrannical administration. Maybe it's time to use that power.

P.S. For the second day I have had to access this site by using Google. One day I got three e-mails for "Time Goes By" in my Email box after one day of none. Go figure!

Thanks, Ronni!!! I suggest that we all send our Congress Critters and Presidential wannabes a copy of this and the Constitution. They seem to have lost sight of the vision of our Founding Fathers displayed when constructing these fine documents!

Interesting... Parallel thoughts at my place this morning.
http://www.nobodyasked.com/2007/07/04/whither-liberty/

Re-printing this document today is an excellent reminder for us all of the issues that caused this country to be established.

I find it fightening, indeed, to re-read this Declaration of Independence in light of some of our government's practices in recent years. I concur, that it seems we have been subjected to high-handed blatantly less than honorable tactics by our current George that are uncomfortably similiar to the violations of our rights described in our Declaration of Independence.

I expect our founding fathers would easily conclude that we, the people, have been betrayed by our leader.

Last Monday, the other woman in my writer's group did a antiphony with the Pledge of Allegiance and her thoughts of the state of affairs in 2007. It was powerful, and once again the two of you have reminded me that returning to original documents is the best medicine when one is sorely grieved. Thanks for observing the holiday most appropriately.

Great to see how many bloggers responded to the present George by publishing the Declaration -- might we have a renaissance of interest in our rather inspiring history?

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