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Independence Day News

Happy Independence Day Conflucians!!

On this day in 1776 the second continental congress of the 13 colonies officially accepted a document to be used to sever ties with Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was signed and published soon thereafter. And of course not long after was a war for that independence, a revolutionary war. PBS that hosts the Capital Fourth celebration has a nice page with a brief history, including his quote from Thomas Jefferson in 1826 on the 50th anniversary:

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be … the signal of arousing men to burst the chains … and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. … For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

The Library of Congress has the document along with many related manuscripts, letters, and documents of the time. From the text, let’s revisit parts of it:

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.

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. 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.

Among the grievances then listed are a few worth noting:

HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.

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 plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

And then finally closes with:

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 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 Connexion 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 Honour.

What brave and brilliant people. They later formed a government and a constitution. And, to quote genesis, it was very good.

We’ve certainly come a long way since then. There have always been controversies, there have been wars, even a major civil war. There have been many, many corrupt politicians, and there have been disasters. But in recent years we have had some larger than life events that have shaken us to our foundation. We had a corrupt president who after impeached resigned in disgrace. We had a very questionable arms for hostages trading behind the scenes by people running for office that helped them get elected. We had an opposing party go on an endless witch hunt of a sitting president as a political tactic. We had a presidential election decided by the supreme court, with embarrassingly obvious conflicts of interest, selecting the loser of that election to be president. We’ve seen illegal wars for oil and profit a number of times, including our current wars. And finally in the latest blow to our system, we have someone who lost his party primaries but was installed by that party’s leaders nonetheless. He was backed when he was unheard of by major financial, insurance, and oil companies to the tune of more money than any established politician. And who has turned out to be a corporatist, uncaring, detached leader with seemingly endless disdain for the citizens. And further, we have two political parties that are effectively the same, owned by the same interests, making the whole system into a cruel joke.

How did this happened, and what do we do about it? Where is the press? As we saw from Myiq’s post last night, we’ve lost some of our rights of a free press and free speech to a British corporation on the orders of this president. Irony much. It’s now a federal crime look closely at what’s happening with the worst ecological (and probably soon financial) disaster this country has even seen. How can this be?

On top of that we are still in two wars, possibly heading to a third. We are still torturing “enemies.” We are still using rendition to get people into countries where it is easier to torture them. And now we have hit lists of dozens and dozens of US citizens marked for assassination. And we still have not regained habeas corpus, so US citizens can still be taken away in the night for any reason, including for asking too many questions.

How did this happen? How could an unknown, empty suit puppet, obviously owned and controlled by a few powerful corporations, with absolutely no experience get to be president? What kind of people would allow such a thing? Would gladly want such a thing? For those in the mainstream media that participated and helped this happen, and those in the Democratic party leadership that killed democracy and helped this happen, and those in the progressive blogosphere that fought tooth and nail for this to happen, how can you sleep at night? How can you stand there and watch everything unravel and continue to act as if you’re surprised? Or worse, continue to rationalize and excuse as if there is some secret plan? There is a hit list for assassinating US citizens for gods sake, it doesn’t get any more blatant than that. Wake up!

Just like with Reagan/Bush, just like with GW Bush, and just like with Obama, many of us saw this happening and screamed at the top of our lungs. We warned you. We told you so. We screamed. We argued. We proved our case. Each and every time. We are tired of screaming. It’s time for the rest of you to wake up and instead of carrying water for the corporatists hell bent on squeezing every last cent and rights from us, carry water for our country instead. Wake up!

As you can see, I got myself on a bit of a rant. Sure it started out nice all about the declaration, but then I started thinking about our current state of affairs and just got pissed off. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a picnic and hope beyond hope that people can still wake up and do better. We did have 8 years of Clinton, though still a bit conservative for me, did quite a few great things and took the job seriously. As if it mattered. So just maybe we can turn around before it’s too late. I’ll end on that tiny sliver of hope. And this song that John Lennon thought was one of the most perfect songs ever written. In this case, for me, it’s about my country:

Please chime in with any news. Yea, I kind of skipped that bit. And chime in with any good things you can find out there. I could use it.