It’s difficult today to remember the struggles that leaders of our young nation faced in 1776. Their future was uncertain when they chose to break away from Great Britain. And yet, they were bold, brash, and confident enough that, regardless of outcome, they were choosing the right Course.
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
The Continental Congress agreed on July 2nd to approve separation from England. A team of five men was tasked with crafting an explanation as to why America chose independence. Led by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776.
We celebrate this day as John Adams predicted we would. Parades are perhaps the best public expression of love for America. Many of us will walk in a parade in our local community to celebrate America’s 246 years of existence, and the blessings it has provided us. Others will watch the parade while standing on sidewalks. Still others will observe from windows, rooftops, trees, and balconies in order to honor, respect, and celebrate the greatest country on the face of the earth today.
For those serving as guardians of America the Beautiful, and others serving as guardians of American Democracy, seeing an American flag lead a parade will bring our hands to our hearts, a lump to our throats, and a tear to our eyes. We know how fragile the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution appear at times; many have tried to take them from us.
On this Fourth of July, the Reform Party reminds our government leaders of the political statements expressed in our Declaration of Independence. Most importantly, we should remember these words every time our government chooses to serve its self-interest rather than ours.
“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.”
Let’s teach these words to our children, and let’s reform our government as frequently as necessary to ensure it supports all of us. Not just Republicans, not just Democrats. All peoples in America deserve the respect of our government and our political leadership. Lest we forget, throughout the history of the world, whenever a government serves but one faction of society, it oppresses all others. Consequently, when that country fails as a democracy, it devolves into a lesser, ignoble form of government.
We must be vigilant and persistent to ensure all American interests are represented in our democracy.
To defend and protect America, we citizens have a responsibility, as well as a duty, to ensure we create a future democracy that is better for our children than the one we inherited.
So let us celebrate our previous history with flags, fireworks, and freedoms.
Tomorrow let us begin…again…to reform our government for a better America.