Sunday, July 4, 2010

Declaration of Independence...Not Just Pretty Words

Between June 11 and June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote draft after draft after draft of the Declaration of Independence, sweating over each word and phrase, then sweating more after his "editors" added their two cents. While the document is beautifully written (you rock, Thomas!), I tend to think it's a bit hard to understand. So in honor of the 234th birthday of this world-changing document, I decided to simplify it. After all, I needed an excuse to avoid doing more laundry. The original version is here. To read more about the birthday of this exceptional country, read this.

To Whom this May Concern (aka, King George):

Dude, we need to talk, but since you're on the other side of the ocean and phones and the internet haven't been invented yet, we're just gonna list on paper the Ten Things We Dislike About You Because You Abuse Your Power. We're doing this because God would want us to so you'd know exactly what prompted our actions. (Not to mention the whole world is watching.) In other words, you only have yourself to blame.

Everyone is created equal (equal rights, though, don't mean equal stuff), and everyone has basic rights given to them by God. Some of these are the right to live, the right to be free, and the right to be able to purse things that make us happy. Government's role is to protect these rights. But we all know power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Anakin George, you've long crossed over into the absolute power dark side. So when a government--any form of government--abuses its power, then the people should...well, as our mommas use to say, "We brought you into this world, we can take you out of it."

1. You refused to follow the rule of law that provides for the public good, and then you have the audacity--yes, we said audacity--to forbid our governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance.

3. You call the legislative bodies in session and keep them together for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with your measures. Man cannot live on bread and water alone. And the Capitol building can only house so many Sleep Number beds.

4. You've obstructed the laws for legal naturalization of foreigners and refused to pass other laws to encourage their legal migration. We're still waiting on the northern and southern fences.

5. You've made judges dependent on your will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. Hey, we've read John Grisham. We know all about judicial manipulation.

6. You've erected a multitude of new offices, and sent swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. If we had time, we'd chase a Happy Meal toy rabbit. Give us our toys because in five years, we can sell them for a quarter at a yard sale.

7. You've joined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and--unacknowledged by our laws--supported their superficial acts of legislation. We've all had English teachers grill us about what UN stands for: "not, opposite of" and "reverse action, deprive of, release from." Meh. Enough said.

8. You've cut off our trade with all parts of the world. Have you seen how much international shipping is on Amazon? Time to cut out the middle man.

9. You've imposed taxes on us without our consent. This steams us more than what Leno did to Conan.

10. You've plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

Just writing all that has us exhausted.

Look, we've tried reasoning with you. Sent you some lovely invitations to our tea parties so we could talk one-on-one about these oppressions. Your response: Add insult to injuries. Dude, what's with this?! While we'd like to be politically correct and avoid name-calling, the truth is your actions define you as a Tyrant, a man unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We've warned your people--those legislating over us--that their laws are unwarrantable. We've appealed to their natural sense of justice and magnanimity and asked them to cease and desist. Only...they're as deaf to justice as you've been!!!

This breaks our hearts to say, but...well, King George, we have no choice but to end our relationship. No, we're not talking a trial period of separation while we go individually and together to counseling to discuss our issues and seek conflict resolution. We've offered. You ignored. We're talking permanent divorce. A Martina McBride "Independence Day" house burning it's over. Ideally, when the dust has settled (and we've divvied up our loot), we'd like to be friends. Seriously. Maybe even BFFs. Love your fish and chips. Still, it doesn't matter where we take this road, someone's gotta go. We're already gone.

With that said, our lawyers advised we spell this out clearly as to lessen any misinterpretation.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, and with authority granted to us by of the good people of this country, solemnly publish and declare that we are free and independent states. We are absolved from all allegiance to you, and that as Free and Independent States, we have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which Independent States may of right do.

And we're so dedicated to this Declaration of our God-given right to be Independent that--with firm reliance on God's protection--we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Let Freedom Ring!

John Hancock, et al.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~Thomas Paine

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact - the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality. ~Adlai Stevenson

The United States is the only country with a known birthday. ~James G. Blaine

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. ~Lee Greenwood


  1. Happy Independence Day everyone! I love fireworks, but may I just say it's possible to get too close. Anyone doing anything special in honor of the holiday?

  2. Wow, Gina, that was awesome. You got me all excited about Independence Day.

  3. Lisa, I'm sad to say we aren't doing anything this year. All the firework displays are a good drive away...or ya have to buy tickets for Kng's Dominion theme park. Maybe we'll watch some on tv.

  4. Dina, when I was reading over the Declaration, what struck me is that I couldn't remember ever being taught any more than the comments about rights and dissolving the relationship with England. Jefferson and the others who worked on the Declaration made a point to list the grievances they had with King George. And what a list!

    I shared about half of them because they were the most easy to relate to.

  5. Gina, this is great. In the same way having versions of the Bible besides KJV help us gain an understanding of the spirit of the law, we need people to translate these documents into modern vernacular! Great job!

    Our little town has an annual "Range Call Celebration" during the 4th of July. I am skipping most of the festivities this year, but will be attending the fireworks tonight!

  6. Oh, Niki, you're so right about having different versions of the Bible.

    Enjoy the fireworks!

  7. Great post, Gina!

    Lisa, we are the most boring family on the planet! Even though we will be surrounded by fireworks, I'm too lazy to drive to an area where we can see them. And Billy is perfectly happy to stay tethered to his PC. So we will enjoy being at home, luxuriating in the AC. Perhaps we'll get crazy and play a board game :+}

  8. LOL, Jennifer! I, too, could take the family downtown to watch the fireworks near the baseball stadium...or drive down to Chesterfield to see some. I just hate driving. Plus, it's so much cooler inside.

    Maybe we'll play a board game too. Or watch another family movie like we did last night. Only this time I won't wait to start it until 10pm. Uggh.

  9. Happy Independence Day! What a post! Thanks, Gina. It got me all revved up!

    Tonight will be pretty low-key for us. BBQ, corn on the cob, and pasta salad with homegrown tomatoes. (If I have any blue cheese, well, that'll make it all patriotic, right?)

    We used to live in a neighborhood with a block party and a Norman Rockwell-esque picnic, complete with patriotic bike parade for the kids and a bounce house. Those were a blast.

    Wishing you all the best!

  10. Great post, Gina.

    However, I take exception to the quote by James G. Blaine because the US isn't the only country with a known birthday. Canada was born on July 1st, 1867 which is why Canada Day is always July 1st.

    I love Lee Greenwood's song. And I fell in love with Lee himself when he performed it at the Big Valley Jamboree here in Craven, Saskatchewan in the mid-80s. Except when he sang it here, he sang, 'I'm pround to be a Canadian, where at least I know I'm free...' I tell you, for weeks after the concert, I actually thought he was a Canadian until I looked it up at the library. LOL I still have pics of him singing here. Actually, here's something I just remembered... we were sitting close to the front - about 10 rows back - and when I stood to take a pic of Lee, he pointed right at me during one of his songs. Oh, I love that pic!

    Hope y'all had a great weekend. I did!


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