Are you ready to pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor for something you believe in? In 1776 there were 56 men who not only took such a pledge, but proclaimed it to the world and stood by it to many of their own loss. It may sound foreign in a day when children harm their parents, or themselves, because their cell phone is taken away for punishment, but I believe there is a much greater number of Americans still willing to make such a pledge. Notice how the founders weren’t willing to make such a sacrifice to have greater dependence upon government?
We are an incredible nation, yet where we came from has been broken into soundbites…and those seem to be trending to focusing on the negative alone. Try this experiment, as I have, and start asking people what they know about the grievances in the Declaration of Independence, and watch the expression on their face. The majority of the people I ask do not know and a few mention “taxation without representation,” but not one that I’ve asked is aware that there were 27 grievances…not a single person (I’ve been asking strangers and acquaintances alike). Why does this matter? Because with just a slight tweak some of these grievances are relevant today. I know we don’t have a king, but we’ve seen a culmination of over 50 years of action from all three branches of government to an acceptance of what was once intolerable.
Fortunately, peaceful means are still within our grasps to adjust course and I’ll expand on that at the end. Let us first review the 27 grievances from our Declaration to see if any are applicable today (my comments in red):
- 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. (Does this bring Arizona to anyone else’s mind?)
- 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. (Relinquishing representation has similarities to the TPP [trade bill])
- 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. (Not quite to this extreme, but Congress did this to themselves when forcing a vote on Christmas Eve over the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare])
- He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. (Reminds me of the Republican leaders kicking their own members off of committees simply because they vote to protect the Constitution or to the will of their constituents)
- 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 mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. (The second half of the sentence once again reminds me of Arizona and other southern states who are prevented from upholding legislation due to lawsuits and interference from the federal government)
- He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations 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. (Have you seen any obstruction in the administration of justice in the last few years? Hint: immigration. May not deal with establishment of judicial powers, but obstruction nonetheless.)
- He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. (This was solved by Article III of the Constitution, although it may be time to amend it to give these justices term limits; especially since they’ve expanded their scope to legislating in the past 50 years.)
- He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. (Let’s see…EPA, FDA, IRS…)
- He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
- He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the 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: (Think of the small arms treaty accepted by the administration, but not the “Consent of the Senate”…thankfully. What the media is referencing as the new “Obamatrade” fits here too since once again we have to pass it to learn what’s in it.)
- For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
- For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: (Maybe not protecting troops or dealing with murders [well maybe Benghazi], but it sure looks like some people are being protected from the IRS scandal and other events. One of their names may even rhyme with Sillary)
- For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
- For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: (Lets see, how about the taxes implemented through Obamacare for which we did not consent, but was forced down our throats with the help of the Democratic majority of Congress: 156% increase to tobacco excise tax, individual mandate excise tax, employer mandate tax, surtax on investment income, 40% excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans [scheduled for 2018], increase in Medicare payroll tax, the “medicine cabinet” tax, tanning tax, medical equipment tax, charitable hospital tax, innovator drug company tax, “black liquor” tax hike, …)
- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
- For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
- For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring 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 into these Colonies: (You can see a similarity here between an Arbitrary government and all the agencies under the executive branch, which many consider our fourth branch of government. These agencies are producing new law at an astronomical rate even though the Constitution gives all law making authority to Congress alone. There were over 18,000 pages of new regulations last year alone through the executive branch.)
- For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: (Wow, after last week’s Supreme Court cases, do I really have to comment on this one? The form of government has been in gradual transition of the states losing power to the federal government…where we lose our local influence upon our federal system. When five of nine people determine a new right or law for the rest of us 320 million, we are no longer participating in a republic or democratic process, we are ruled by an oligarchy.)
- For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. (The Supreme Court did this last week and they didn’t even have to suspend the Legislatures!)
- He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. (Well, I guess you could make the argument that our states bordering Mexico are “out of…protection” since our laws are not being enforced and those committing crimes, even beyond illegally entering, are being set free.)
- He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. (Some people may be able to argue the last point due to poor economic policy, the closing of coal plants, and other policies)
- He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & 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 endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. (A couple names at the top of our government come to mind for exciting domestic insurrection in the last couple of years after run-ins between people breaking the law and the police [police who were later justifiably cleared of wrongdoing…against the wishes of the aforementioned government officials].)
So, isn’t that a coincidence, the most oft cited grievance is number 17 and we just happen to have 17 of the 27 grievances that could be argued as applicable today. While this may bring upon frustration for those of us who love Liberty and wish to pass it on to our progeny, there is hope. It is contained within the Constitution itself (those old dead white guys were pretty ingenious!) under Article V, but we’ll get into that next week. For now we will take time with our families to celebrate, and hopefully reflect upon, our Declaration of Independence. I recommend that you read it as a family tomorrow and every fourth of July, as now that my children are older they thank me for this practice.
So are you willing to pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor for a Declaration of Dependence? Can you imagine any rational person doing so? Of course not, but that is the direction we are heading. If I am to make such a pledge it will be to the liberty of future generations and the ideals that continue to this day in reshaping civilization in a positive way…the ideals of the Declaration of Independence! God bless.