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Fifty-six Honorary PUMAS

Two-hundred and thirty-two years ago, fifty-six men committed high treason.  In doing so, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.  Today our nation celebrates what these traitors did.  They declared our independence.

These men were duly appointed representatives of the thirteen original colonies.  The colonists were very unhappy with the people in charge.  They didn’t like what Mad King George and Parliament were doing, and they especially didn’t like not being able to participate in the decision-making process.  They didn’t feel like their voices were represented. 

They had tried to work within the system, to no avail.  They wrote letters, they went to meetings, they begged and pleaded.  But their pleas were ignored, and they were threatened with punishment for not being obedient and loyal subjects.  They had been loyal all their lives, but now, finally, they said “Unity-Schmoonity!”

So these men met in what was called the “Second Continental Congress.”  In June of 1776, five of them were assigned to a committee in order to write up an explanation for their actions.  Thomas Jefferson did most of the work, but all five participated.  The committee presented this copy to the Congress on June 28, 1776.  The official title of the document was “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.”

Then the entire Congress did some more revising and editing.  On July 2nd they actually voted and agreed to declare independence, but they hadn’t approved the actual wording of the declaration itself.   July 4th wasn’t a holiday back then, so on that day they met and voted to approve the text of the declaration.  (The actual document wasn’t prepared and signed until August 2, 1776)  If you have never read the entire Declaration of Independence, I urge you to do so.  Below are some excerpts.

What the documant did was to lay out in specific detail an explanation for Congress’ decision.  First they wrote an introduction, explaining the purpose of the document:

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.

They wanted the world to know they weren’t just a paranoid band of shrieking hold-outs.  They believed they had justification for their actions, and weren’t sore losers acting out of spite.

Next they cited their authority to take such action:

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 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.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, 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.

This section, known as the “preamble,” is an assertion of what is known as the “right of revolution”: that is, people have certain rights, and when a government violates these rights, the people have the right to “alter or abolish” that government.  Substitute “party” for “government” and you’ll understand why these men are honorary PUMAs.

The next section of the Declaration is called the “indictment” because it lays out the specific charges against the king detailing how he violated the colonists rights and was therefore unfit to be their ruler.  After that is a section explaining the efforts they had taken to resolve the situation, and finally a conclusion where they actually “declare” independence.

Now there is plenty of legitimate criticism that can be made.  This group consisted only of white men, and many of them were slaveowners.  They weren’t interested in the rights of women or minorites.  As a matter of fact, many of them didn’t even think all white men should have the right to vote, they thought only white male landowners should have that right.

Many people, myself included, think the British government was actually quite reasonable in most of its actions towards the colonies.  They had spent a fortune fighting a war the colonists had started with the French and their Native American allies, and they thought the colonists should pay for it with taxes.

Not all colonists agreed with the revolt, including some that were actively opposed and some who didn’t care one way or the other because they didn’t want any government at all (Paultards and Perot supporters have been around a very long time.)

But these fifty-six men believed in what they were doing enough to put their lives on the line.  Benjamin Franklins line about hanging together or hanging separately wasn’t a joke.  If they were captured they would probably have been executed.  As for their sexism and racism, they were products of the time in which they lived.  They were among the most liberal thinkers of their day, even though compared with today some of the beliefs they held are abhorrent.

Don’t forget, this was a time when doctors were bleeding people with leeches to remove the evil spirits.  The idea these men pushed forward was extremely radical, although we take it for granted.  They believed they had the right of self-determination, and that no other person or deity could control their lives, except with their consent.  They were willing to die for the right to choose their own leaders, rather than accept someone they considered illegimate.

These men, like all PUMAs, were completely batshit insane.  They were fighting a battle they couldn’t win against an opponent that couldn’t be beat.  The British Empire was the richest and most powerful empire on Earth.  Their Navy controlled the seas, and their army was the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world.   General Charles Cornwallis was a smart and experienced military commander. (After Yorktown Cornwallis was transferred to India where he served two very successful terms as Governor General)

The rebels, on the other hand, had no money, and very little equiptment or support.  The lack of money, equipment, uniforms, and supplies as well as trained officers and NCO’s wasn’t a glaring problem because they had no military forces to use them.  Their entire “army” was little more than untrained militia experienced only at fighting Native Americans on the frontier, and their navy was nonexistent.  Sane people would have given up.  Rational people would have never even started fighting in the first place.

So as you watch the fireworks tonight, raise your glass and salute these fifty-six honorary PUMAs, and all PUMAs everywhere.

Thought for the (Independence) Day

America was built by folks who were told “you have no place else to go” … but went somewhere else anyway.

Diss me, Donna!

Dear Donna Brazile,

NO WE WON’T featured an interview with founder of PUMApac, Darragh Murphy last night in which she says you are sending a letter to people telling them that we are Republican Trolls and “hysterical feminists”.  I checked with edgeofforever at Not Your Sweetie this morning to see who was included on the list of PUMA sites that are allegedly run by the GOP.  Much to my dismay, The Confluence was not among them.  I find this situation unacceptable.  After all, the term PUMA originated right here at The Confluence in a comment by SM in a post about how we were going to withhold our votes.  We announced the formation of the PUMA un-Party in the very next post and it caught like a wildfire on dry tinder.

The Confluence must insist that you diss us all equally.  It will not do for our sibling sites to get all of the attention that a full onslaught Donna Brazile derision is likely to stir.  We consider it a slight to us that we will not be able to enjoy the fruits of such notoriety.  We count on your pronouncements to spur interest and recruitment in our cause.   Surely The Confluence’s efforts to spread insurrection among the rank and file is worthy of some kind of expression of your loathing and disgust.

We urge you to rectify the matter expeditiously.  If you can not find it in your bile to call us Republicans, please refer to us by some other equally nasty ephithet.  Like, you had something going there with “hysterical feminists”.  We think you can work with that.  For example, Markos Moulitsas called us a “shrieking band of paranoid holdouts”.  But in both of these cases, the slurs lack that certain something that would pile on guilt.  “Hysterical”, “Shrieking” and “paranoid” imply that we are not accountable for our actions.  Please try to tie the two concepts together.  It won’t be enough to call us delusional.  We must also be culpable.  How about “bloodthirsty Amazons of ruination”.  That’s just off the top of my head.  I will sample my commenters at The Confluence for some better examples.

We are willing to work with you, Donna, to strike the right tone that will start a news cycle that the nation will never forget.  So, please, put us on your list to be dissed.


Riverdaughter at The Confluence

Independence Day

Oh, for Heaven’s sakes, now we’ve got Barack Obama behaving like Moses laying down yet another commandment for women to heed. In his recent interview with Relevant, a Christian magazine, the Dauphin of Democracy says:

prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”

Obama then added: “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.”

But only last year, in it’s majority Supreme Court opinion on the partial birth aborthion law (Actually, intact Dilation and Extraction), Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote this:

“While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained,” Justice Kennedy wrote, alluding to the brief. “Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.”

Given those stakes, the justice argued, “The state has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed.”

So, let me get this straight. If you get a late term abortion for medical reasons, you will feel suicidal about it in the future. But if you feel suicidal about being pregnant, under no circumstances should you get a late term abortion. Maybe we should ask Andrea Yates for her expert opinion on the subject of regret, self-esteem and depression? Come to think of it, *she* didn’t have much choice in the matter. Her husband/protector and pastor went against the best advice of her doctors who told them she should never get pregnant again as it would make her post-partum psychosis worse. Seven years later, five children dead and a brain permanently damaged by untreated disease, she’s serving out the rest of her life on a psych ward. Nice going, Mr. Yates.

Thank goodness we have all these guys to protect us from the consequences of our rash decisions. We should not trouble our underdeveloped consciences about the fact that the presumptuus nominee and a justice of the Supreme Court contradict themselves. For the women with medical emergencies that just happen to fall one day into that late term stage, it hardly matters. Their options are now limited by the philosophical and moral musings of two men who could be discussing the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

Can someone tell me where is the woman who speaks for us??

Fine. We’ll look after ourselves from now on guys. We PUMAs will form a new government “laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to [us] shall seem most likely to effect [our] Safety and Happiness” You just sit there in your leather wing-backs in front of the roaring fire and muse philosophically and we’ll do what we need to do. We wouldn’t want the brutality and sorrows of life to affect your mental state.

So much for Obama protecting our right to choose. Can we have Hillary back now?

Our Sister Independence Day Readings:

And don’t forget to Kiss Him Goodbye.  Remember, it only takes 500,000 of us at $20.08 a head to retire Hillary’s outstanding campaign debt to her vendors.  It looks like sisters are doing it for themselves.: