With windows shuttered and seclusion secured so that the echoes of raucous debate would not be heard by unwanted ears, a sweltering heat began to brew due to a mix of both the excessive July temperatures and the passions for freedom that brought the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence together.
The fear of loud and contentious debate was unfounded for on this day as the issue of independence was debated it was soon discovered that it was more agreeable discussion than argued contention.
After taking note of the general agreement that existed in the room a Virginia delegate, Richard Henry Lee, rose to his feet and declared: “Why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens.”
And with that, prompted by taxation without representation and a yearning for self determination, the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence was introduced and an oppressed people gave birth to an idea bigger than self and a force unlike any other known to man . . . Freedom.
Two hundred thirty three years ago freedom was rare. It was a novel concept that many only dreamed of and few truly possessed. The few who did possess it took it away from others. The fortunate few, who had their own freedom, enriched their own lives by controlling the lives of others.
Two hundred thirty three years later some things are the same but many things are different.
Today there still exists the few who have their freedom but use it to their benefit by denying others their own. In America these few are those whom maintain their existence as members of the political class and perpetuate their economic lives and political careers by procuring deals with unions and special interests that garner them the financial resources to stay in power.
This political class undermines the very foundations of freedom that gave birth to their representative offices and places the collective individual voices of Americans into a hyperbaric chamber of unaddressed concerns and needs that are sealed off from the halls of Congress and the Oval Office.
No more are the concerns of the people given priority. No more are the every day lives of the non-political class the driving force behind the supposed representatives of freedom. In their stead are the desires of the political action committees which offer a bundle of money and legion of self interested volunteers that will aid in reelection efforts. In their place are the powerbrokers who will commit to keeping a member of the political class in power so long as that individual will use the cover of night to slip in a pork barrel measure that exempts them from a law, regulation or tax or funds them with a federal grant.
Two hundred thirty three years after tyranny was rejected and the cause of freedom gave a voice to the people, the voice of the people is drowned out by tyrannical trends. Today, the erosion of our freedom has brought us from a government created to spread independence to a government used to suppress liberty.
This turn from personal autonomy to government collectivism has been fueled by a corrosion of freedom and personal autonomy that has seeped into the everyday lives of the individual American voters whom choose to support the shifting of personal responsibilities to those who are suppose to represent them in the ruling political class .
Rather than creating a savings for ones own golden years, the ravages of time have lulled individuals into thinking that government will do that for them through the auspices of Social Security or some sort of federal assistance.
Rather than creating a better business model that makes ones business more profitable and their product more sellable, corporate interests have come to rely on government bailouts to prolong their bad example.
These are but a few examples of the eroding senses of autonomy and independence that we as a nation have adopted due to a degradation of freedoms value. As a nation our people have taken freedom so much for granted that, without realizing it, we are losing it.
This is a far cry from the men who gave rise to our independence on the Fourth of July in 1776.
In the face of brutal tyrannical forces these men risked personal wealth, land and even life in order to give birth to freedom . By declaring independence from the Crown, they were sure to face the British empires wrath. Yet despite all that they would knowingly sacrifice, they proudly presented their signatures to the King by signing the Declaration of Independence.
And they did so without trepidation but with a steely resolve and an undying respect for freedom that made them understand that, with freedom, all that they had to lose was worth losing because without freedom all that they had was not worth having.
This understanding by each of these men was so pervasive and so all encompassing that people like John Hancock signed his name to the Declaration of Independence in vividly large and bold strokes of defiance so that the King of England could see his signatures without glasses and increase the size of the bounty that he would undoubtedly place on his head for what the Crown would call an act of treason.
Upon his signing of the sacred document Benjamin Franklin remarked “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”
Yet with a fully understood importance of freedom, the men in that hot, fly infested Philadelphia statehouse crafted a document that ended by saying “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”, and then, one by one, they signed it.
They all paid a dear price for it. Many lost their livelihoods and property, others lost family members and some, after years of torture lost their own lives.
Yet today, 233 years later, the greatest sacrifice we make for freedom, is occasionally inconveniencing ourselves by making a trip to a polling place and putting our signature in a voting registration book and casting a ballot.
And who do we cast that ballot for? We cast it for elected officials who place a tax on every aspect of our lives from our birth to our death and now even on the very air that we breathe in between the two. We cast that ballot for a President who apologizes for America’s defense of freedom and pushes for some of the most collectivist policies in our nations history.
Yes my friends, we have indeed taken freedom for granted. So much so that we find it acceptable when our elected officials legislate it away and so much so that many find it offensive when we try to preserve it. Our loss of respect for freedom and independence has led to a government that is so antithetical to the principles of freedom that I dare suggest that if the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were alive today, they would be locking themselves in another room and plotting a second revolution, a revolution of restoration. A revolution to restore America to its founding principles.
Years of a government geared more towards syndicalism than individuality and personal responsibility has procured a sustained reliance on government and that reliance has helped to strip away the individual liberty that created the very spirit of 1776.
This detrimental progression is not the blame of any one party or pe rson. Its blame is placed on Republicans who dedicate themselves to those in the political class who are willing to betray America’s economic future and individual Americans economic survival by supporting such things as the Cap-and-Trade environmental hoax conjured up by socialist inspired ideologies of collectivism which account for the greatest transfers of wealth ever known.
It is to be blamed on Democrats who believe that the defense of freedom should be left up to someone else other than America, the greatest source of freedom ever known.
It is to be blamed on Americans who take more from society than give back to society and who take more time to research the life of Michael Jackson than to review the voting record of their own congressman.
We are living in a time when people such as the non-partisan tea party protestors are belittled and deemed as potential terrorists by the very government whose policies they peacefully and legally oppose. This despite the fact that they simply possess the same revolutionary spirit of opposition to tyranny that the American revolutionaries possessed in 1776.
We are living in a time when all the energy expended, time devoted, blood shed and lives lost to preserve all that our nation gave birth to and created in the name of freedom are being overshadowed by the same type of policies that we declared our independence from in 1776.
All of these factors make me contemplate what this Fourth of July, 2009, marks. Does it mark the 233rd year of our independence? Or does it mark the rise of government suppression and the end of celebrating liberty?