The Real Meaning of Independence Day

It’s Friday, July 4, 2014, and Americans everywhere are firing up their grills and pulling out their stockpiles of technicolor ordnance to celebrate Independence Day. For most, eating too much meat and watching fireworks with the kids is about as far as this celebration will go. And most will never really consider what we are celebrating.

Yesterday, I was at a fireworks display with my kids, and the announcer said today was all about being thankful for the armed forces—for those people who were willing to die to protect our freedoms. I thought that was Memorial Day. Or Veteran’s Day. Unless you count WWII, no one has spilled blood to protect my constitutional freedoms since Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appommatox. Drone killing “suspected” terrorists along with innocent civilians, propping up (or toppling) foreign dictators, and providing firepower for UN coalitions doesn’t count in my book.

In the 18th century, Independence Day commemorated an act of extraordinary courage. Against overwhelming odds, a loosely connected group of colonial governments decided to band together against the greatest empire in the world. We know how the story ended, but they didn’t. By all outward appearances, they had every assurance of failure. A modern-day parallel would be a few pre-industrial third-world countries coming together and declaring war on the United States.

And the craziest thing about it all is that the colonies actually won. They won because they refused to bend their principles to pragmatism. They refused to give up their convictions. They refused to allow fear and security to trump faith and freedom. And these weren’t just buzzwords for ’Merica then. These men and women died for these ideas.

And what’s left of that patriotic fire? We submit gladly to much heavier taxes and exceedingly more tyrannical intrusions from our civil authorities. We bicker about Republicans and Democrats being in office when the entirety of Washington is bent on our subjugation. So much of what was going on in 1776 is occurring again on this same soil. And those who once bled to rid this land of tyranny are in jeopardy of having died in vain while we sheep-like feed on the panem et circenses of bratwursts and fireworks.

I encourage you to read the Declaration of Independence today. But recognize the condition we are in. We don’t have a single enemy like our forefathers did. They could send their grievances to one man—King George. We have more than just one man to blame. Obama may have taken to himself some monarchial powers, but the fact is that Washington, DC now plays the part of King George. Consider just a few of the grievances of the original American patriots, and consider how the whole of our civil government is now repeating those grievances:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. . . . He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. . . . For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

These grievances are connected. The Federal Government refuses to allow states to rule their own citizens with laws confirmed by the citizens of those states. The Supreme Court regularly overturns local laws, federal bureaucracies routinely encroach on local law enforcement, and state and county governments—the people’s governments—have no real authority to represent the will of the actual people of this country. Local representatives have no say in how this country is governed. That is the worst form of “dissolved Representative Houses.” At least in the case of King George, he made the dissolution publicly apparent. We have it much worse because we are led to believe we actually retain local representative houses. But these are feckless titular bodies hollowed out of any real power.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

The GOP and DNC have rigged the electoral system to maintain power without the consent of the governed. One of the major ways they do this is to hold delegate conventions at locations that are not publicly disclosed, or by changing the venue for delegation conventions when the victory of the mainstream favorite is in question. By maintaining complete control over who is on the ballot, the GOP and DNC have disfigured the American democratic process and called the legitimacy of the sitting government into question.

Furthermore, the federal government “fatigues us into compliance” by making the process of petition and redress impossibly convoluted. They have created a virtual distance that is unusual and uncomfortable.

. . . He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

Wow. Do you really need any application for this grievance? Whatever Offices King George may have erected, he’s got nothing on the current federal government.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

The entirety of our massive standing army—including the purportedly state-controlled National Guard—is under the direct control of the Federal government. Our local police are also becoming increasingly militarized—often through federal subsidies. The majority of states do not have a proper state militia. We are more vulnerable than our forefathers by far.

. . . He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation . . .

The United Nations is a perfect example of this today. There is no reason at all why we should be concerned at all with legislation the UN has created. But, alas, our civil authorities have “given assent to their acts of pretended legislation,” so we are bound to abide by it.

. . . For protecting [troops], by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

Brutality from the federally militarized police and the federal cronies for “homeland defense” regularly goes uninvestigated and unpunished.

. . . For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

Oh my. Since Obamacare has been called a tax, it is just the most recent and largest of taxes imposed on us without our consent. But the list is long and varied. In fact, our forefathers didn’t have to put up with anywhere near the kind of taxation we do.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

Thanks to the pathetic provisions of the misnamed PATRIOT Act, you can be held without a trial and even without charges, tried by a military tribunal without being present at the trial, and subject to any number of abuses and intrusions … “legally.” Again, the founding fathers spilled their blood for far less than this.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us . . .

That is the nature of the false narratives of racism, sexism, and homophobia. These are nothing more than the excitations of domestic insurrection to continue thrusting this country into perpetual unrest. A divided country is much easier to rule.

And why are Americans so willing to put up with this prodigious list of abuses? The Founding Fathers had a reason for that as well:

. . . 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.1

As bad as things have gotten, this is what we are used to now. Like the proverbial frogs, we don’t even realize we’re nearly cooked. We don’t even think about it anymore.

But, even if you don’t think of it any other day, please consider it today: You have no independence left to celebrate. This Independence Day, like many that have preceded it, is a sham. We are all dependents on and subjects to a tyrannical government. But it may not be too late to recover what the Founding Fathers left to us. There may yet be enough of the original system left to retake the governance of this country from parasites and wastrels. But it will not be easy.

This Independence Day, consider the small band of men who signed their names to what amounted to a death warrant for the slim chance that they could live free for a few more months and possibly secure a free future for their children. They risked it all to secure liberty for themselves and their children. What you are willing to risk?




  1. This is uncannily similar to a phrase in Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy, and I would be surprised if Jefferson didn’t have it in mind: “makes us rather bear those ills we have, Than fly to others that we know not of.” []

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