Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July Eve

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. It celebrates signing of Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

This passage of that document will be recited countless times during holiday celebrations.

"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 to 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.

July 4 is a day for patriotism, for unfurling the American flag, and for patriotic songs, like this one.

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
A Yankee Doodle, do or die;
A real live nephew of Uncle Sam’s
Born on the Fourth of July.

Frederick Douglas (1818-1895), an eloquent spokesperson for blacks, expressed another view of the Fourth of July, in a speech in 1852 in Rochester, New York.

"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answered; A day that reveals to him, more than any other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty of which is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham.'

Today, in one way or another, we are revisiting this historic schism. Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordability Act, exemplifies some of these differences.

President Obama and his party say government’s function is to protect the have-nots, to cover 32 million without insurance while protecting the haves. No one disagrees with this noble goal. But to do this, say Obama and followers, we must expand government, even if we ignore the “consent of the governed.” Obamacare was jammed through, even though in poll after poll, the “governed," some 60% of Americans, opposed government overhaul of health care.

Republicans argue for limited government. They maintain a soaring national debt, based largely on out-of-control spending on entitlement programs, will bankrupt the nation. Moreover, excessive spending on domestic programs hampers the military's ability to “protect” U.S. citizens against foreign enemies.

The majority of the “governed,” if national polls are right, indicate the time has come to “alter” government” and to “institute new government” in a form “most likely to effect the safety and happiness” of the “governed.”

Stubborn unemployment,a floundering economy, a soaring national debt, the dismal performance of Congress, and the wrong direction the country threatens the economic “safety and happiness” of the “governed.”

Elections alter government. In the November mid-terms, the “governed” will decide if the ship of state needs to be righted, or left to its own vices.

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