A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
“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.”
If you are still with me, you have just read the preamble to the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.
I’d like to draw your attention to the very first line in the preamble: “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. “
For me, the very first sentence of the preamble sums up, for all time, the “idea” that is America.
See, America is a country which was founded for individualists. The folks who founded it made that very clear when they wrote the Declaration of Indepenence. They were saying to the world, “Hey! Want to be free? Want to take your shot? You can. Here in America. There is no King, no soveriegn, no government to get in your way. In America you will be free to pursue your own happiness!”
Look at that sentence closely and you will see there is no guarantee you will “catch” your happiness, only that you will be free to take your best shot and go after it, to pursue it.
So what the hell happened???
Government happened, that’s what!
The American government did what all governments do. It began to grasp for more and more power from day one right up to the current hour, the current minute and second. The battle is rampant in Washington, even as I tap this keyboard. The government is attemptimg the most massive power grab in the history of the country. Yes, that which the American government is doing to it’s people today makes King George look like a piker!
All the founding Americans wanted was to be free to seek their own destiny. All they wanted was for the government to let them alone to either be successful, to whatever degree they were able, or to fail as miserably as they were likely to do. But, they made themslves as clear as was humanly possible. They did not want the hand of government in their lives. They wanted to be free men and free women.
So, I ask again, what the hell happened???
Americans have changed. We are no longer made of the stuff those folks were made off. If we stood on each other’s shoulders we would not reach the ankles of the founders of this country. If Washingtom, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and the rest of The Founders could see us now they would be absolutlely appalled at what we have become… at what we have done to their idea of America.
If, after I leave this plain of existance, should I be fortunate enough to wind up in the same locale as Washingtom, Jefferson, Adams, et al, it is my intention to seek out as many of the founders of this nation as I can and apologise to them for having had a part in “The Bastardization of America.” For if my generation of Americans is guilty of anything, we are guilty of allowing what used to be a great nation, to disgrace herself before God and before the other nations of the world.
Today we are battling each other in a verbal fight over whether or not America is to give up democracy and become another failed socialist state. (Did you REALLY think this was about healthcare? It is about POWER!!!) It shames me to acknowledge that my fellow Americans have so little confidence in themselves, and their own abilities to live free, they are willing to bend their knees, bow their heads, and bare their necks to the chains and whips of socialism. That we are even considering such a thing speaks of the tremendous loss of character of a people whose ancestors, a handful of rag-tag colonists, went to war against a world superpower to gain their freedom. They put everything, including their lives, on the line so that modern day Americans could be free as well. Today we spit upon their sacrifice. It is inexcusably shameful.
J. D. Longstreet