244 years ago on July 4, 1776, a gathering of the Second Continental Congress created a document declaring the British colonies in North America an independent and free nation. Known as the Declaration Of Independence, it began with these words:
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, 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.
Political bands are not permanent and under some circumstances they must be dissolved. But they ought not be dissolved for trivial or transient reasons. That is why the declaration continues with perhaps the greatest political prose to ever be written.
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.
With this paragraph, a mere 259 words, the case has been made that men can form governments to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but that when circumstances warrant and demand it, men may also dissolve those political bonds. Never for light and transient causes but only when the government itself is acting in such a way as to become destructive to the ends for which it was established.
The listing of the charges leveled against the King seem almost trivial to our ears today compared to the litany of injustices being daily inflicted on the American people by our government. Can we in any sense say that we give our consent to be governed in this manner? The only thing that prevents millions of us from open defiance of the tyranny that grows daily is the very real threat of violence from the same government that is descended from the Continental Congress.
That is changing, slowly but steadily, day by day, as more and more Americans withdraw their consent to be governed by a government that violates our natural rights and freedoms. We have suffered mostly in silence as our children have been taught to hate their own people, as our culture has been degraded and our history slandered. We have been mostly mute while the fruits of our labors are taken by threat of force and given to bribe others who contribute nothing of value to our society. Our country is awash in degeneracy and deviance of the most vulgar kind and we have said little. Perhaps worst of all, we have continued to act under the laws of human decency and propriety necessary for a just society while others mock our laws and morals, seeing our temperance and forbearance as a weakness rather than as a virtue.
Many Americans remain in a self-induced slumber, hoping that their silence will buy them time and some measure of peace. They are starting to wake up, almost certainly too late to save this Republic but perhaps not too late to preserve our people.
It is high time we declare our independence and withdraw our consent to be governed. We have tried, as did the colonies, to make our case with humility, only to be spit upon. Like the colonies, our attempts at seeking justice have been met with more injustice....
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
A free people cannot remain free while they are ruled by the unjust. We have not reached the stage of Lexington and Concord, not yet, but that time is fast approaching. Perhaps some people of wisdom and good will may be found who will find a solution that allows for us to peaceably dissolve the political bands that once united us but now imprison us. While I have little hope for that, I do still have a sliver of hope. We are at the brink but not quite over it just yet.
Make no mistake, the sand has nearly run out and the calamity that will result if we cannot resolve to go our separate ways will make the war for independence in the 18th century seem like child's play. The yearning to be free still courses through the veins of the American people.