By now you must know that if it's an early Saturday blog, I must be headed out for a platelet donation!
The Red Cross in in the middle of its annual summer lull
, so of course the need remains high. Besides, during the heat wave, what could possibly be better than taking a break in an air-conditioned facility and being waited on hand and foot for an hour?
Let's move on to something else....last weekend, we celebrated the beginning of our 234th year of Independence. Sure there were barbecues, parades, and we shot a bunch of explosives into the sky while listening to an orchestra written by a Russian to celebrate victory over Napoleon. But there was the obligatory printing of the Declaration of Independence in newspapers across the country (something the Boston Globe does every July 4.) Like I usually do, I took the time to read the 18th century prose, and this time a few things leaped out at me.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.
TJ and the founders thought these truths were self-evident, but evidently they needed to remind the King about these. Note that the only rights they were concerned about at this stage were rather nebulous...the specifics weren't codified until the Bill of Rights, and we're still arguing about them today.
Our Tea Party friends have seized upon the very next passage as their whole reason for existance.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.
I'm actually a little scared by this passage. It seems to me to be fostering mob rule, or minority rule, or balkanization of these United States. My read on this is that just about anyone could alter, abolish, and institute new government "as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." In essence, TJ says screw you, I've got mine.
But then there's the very next passage; it's the caveat. The Tea Party folks conveniently ignore this one, and despite what I said about TJ a second ago, this proves that he knew what he was doing, and knew it shouldn't be done lightly.Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes...
We had cause for change during the Bush regime. Right now, the only argument the Tea Party can make is none; they have a tenuous list of lies and distortions, all fueled by race hatred. This is no reason for a revolution. In fact, a revolution based on that would be counter-productive.
The next section is a long enumeration of the insults and injustices perpetrated among the colonial population by the king...reading through them you can see many reasons for the specific rights in the Bill of Rights. It's an interesting thing to think about.
This one in particular, rather leaps of the page at me though:He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
I see nothing has changed in that regard in 234 years. We went to war on this once before, why not now?
It's in the closing lines that the genius of the Founders truly manifests itself for me. Benjamin Franklin once said that "We must all hang together, or surely we shall hang separately", knowing full well what awaited them all if the revolution failed. TJ knew it too, and this is foreshadowed in the last line of the Declaration. They hoped for "divine Providence" (rather than praying "In Jesus Name") and pledged their loyalty to each other, no matter what came. Honor and Loyalty are two of the most important virtues a person can have...something we've seem to lost sight of these days.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 Honor.