Why are we celebrating INDEPENDENCE DAY?

Photo by Epic Fireworks

Photo by Epic Fireworks

I love fireworks, grill-outs, parades and family celebrations as much as the next guy.  But, the intellectual part of myself asks, “Why are we celebrating Independence Day?”

Let’s travel back in time to the original Independence Day when our Declaration of Independence was penned.

Why did we Declare Our Independence?

We thought that King George III had violated many ethical standards of a valid monarch; let alone a democratic-republic.  Here are the basic violations spelled out in the Declaration of Independence:

  1. Violating basic human freedoms including: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness;
  2. Local governments were stifled from establishing and executing laws that made sense to the local population;
  3. Robbing citizens of the right of popular representation;
  4. Bullying citizens with government sanctioned militia;
  5. Perpetual martial law that superseded local law;
  6. Taxes that were not approved by the citizenry;
  7. Fake and unjust trials of citizens as a means of personal vendetta;
  8. Damage of personal property without compensation;
  9. Kidnapped citizens and forced them to battle their fellow citizens as part of the British Army.

I have taken some license to condense the violations of King George III.  I encourage you to read our Declaration of Independence to better understand why we decided to go to war with our mother-country, England.

Where are we Today?

So… after 240-years, where do we stand with our liberties that we fought so hard for when we began our country?

Local vs National Control

The U.S. constitution was intentionally drafted to ensure that national government served the purpose of a national militia used to battle enemies of our nation; protection of human rights; and  not much of anything else.  Local laws would govern the rest of our lives as citizens.  If we did not like a law in a state where we resided, we could simply move to a different state.

Unfortunately, in our current day, the U.S. government is actually much more intrusive than King George III.  Not in the same way as King George III.  King George III simply ignored local laws and did whatever he wanted to the American colonists. In our modern case, the government has gradually increased its presence from almost nothing to now 40% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This means that our federal government has taken control by controlling the very nature of our economy.

Here are the ways our federal government controls us:

  1. Grants to local governments with federal strings.
  2. Writing laws that exceed the limits of federal government on environment, education, healthcare, construction of roads, space programs, drug enforcement, income taxes, retirement, and a number of other violations that supersede its constitutional authority.
  3. Abuse of executive power by creating a power of the U.S. President never given to him/her by the U.S. constitution.
  4. Direct control over money supply through the Federal Reserve.
  5. Engagement in international wars without acts of congress.
  6. Rules governing our lives that have been written by unelected bureaucrats within federal administrative departments.
  7. Targeting of citizens and citizen-groups by the IRS.
  8. Cronies capitalism.
  9. Out-of-control spending in excess of tax revenues; which obligate future citizens to debt for which they have no say.
  10. A political party controlled government that is no longer responsive to individual citizens.

So What?

On some level, I understand why we have abandoned some of the written restrictions within our U.S. Constitution.  It does actually make sense that our federal government has taken on more jurisdiction in the role of interstate highways, enforcement of human rights, and an active role in keeping peace in our international community.  After all, times change, and even George Washington took certain liberties with executive actions that could be questioned even today.

I also think that it is inefficient to have state governments drafting and enforcing laws that ought to be universally accepted.  After all, why should you get a death sentence in one state; and a 25-year sentence in another state for the exact same crime?  Slavery was one of those laws that was thought to be okay when we drafted our U.S. Constitution and almost 100-years later was abolished as a violation of a universal human right.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, we live in a completely different time than American colonists who fought for their independence 240-years ago.  However, as Americans, we ought to still understand why independence is important; and the value of our liberties that we are losing today.

Our current political culture favors the powerful who control the rest of us.  Although, I believe our U.S. Constitution is outdated, I believe we need to revisit our modern day situation and completely re-draft a constitution that applies to our current lives.  We need to decide how much control the federal government ought to have and develop a modern system to ensure we have representation of all citizens.  I know that this sounds impossible since some citizens believe we ought to live one way; while another group thinks the opposite.  However, we all are human beings with basic, God-given, human rights and opportunities that ought to be respected.  Surely, we can come to some common understanding.

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