Saturday, July 4, 2009

On This 4th of July

On July 4, 1776, we declared our independence from Great Britain. We claimed the right to self-governance with representation of the people's will in determination of the laws of our land. We claimed the right to reject an oppressive government and replace it with one that was both responsive to and responsible to the people of this land.

That oppression arose from our dependency on Great Britain. The original colonists needed the support of the mother country for survival. In return, the king required taxes. Those taxes paid for wars that caused a mounting debt. The response of the king was to increase taxes to finance his aggressive policies that sought to consolidate his power.

The people sought relief from the burden but were ignored. They sought representation of their views but were rejected. Over time, their dependency allowed the king to increase taxes to the point they could no longer be borne by the people and they rebelled.

Through the blood of committed individuals that Independence was accomplished over the course of 40+ years when we finally severed the control of Great Britain in the War of 1812. Yet, it didn't end there. We remained a nation seeking to find its way. We continued to seek a balance of power in how we were governed which culminated in a Civil War that consolidated power in the federal government. It was a result that led to better relations between the various races which comprise our people, but eroded the power of the people by consolidating it in the hands of the federal government.

We have survived global wars in which the United States came to the aid of nations whose values resembled our own. We have gone wherever necessary to combat the tendency of man to consolidate power through aggression. Yet we have allowed special interests to consolidate power within our own borders.

We have struggled with our own identity. We are a nation of many varied yet closely held beliefs. We have faced many issues that arise from the human frailties of self-interest and fear. We have made great strides in creating an environment of equality of opportunity for all. Yet we have allowed those same frailties of self-interest and fear to be used against us by the very politicians we elected to serve us.

We continue to struggle. Today we face some of the greatest challenges that we have ever faced as a nation. Many of those challenges are the result of the quest for power of individuals and groups who have only their self-interest at heart. They seek power for gain and not in service for the good of the nation and its people. They bully and intimidate through the power of the purse.

That such individuals and groups hold the reins of power is the fault of the people. Enough of us have allowed ourselves to be subjugated to the carefully orchestrated largess of the state and federal powers that our Independence has been lost. That subjugation has resulted in efforts to further consolidate power through expanding government services in ways that create further dependency. We see today an aggressive expansion and consolidation of power through the use of regulation and welfare (although not always by that name). We have become a nation controlled by dependency. Therein lies our downfall.

Our dependency on the government has created a situation of mounting debt that must be repaid. It is the tendency in such times to use taxation to repay the debt. The burden of government has become oppressive. We are facing a crisis in our nation that in many ways resembles the conditions prior to the War for Independence. It is time once again for our government to become both responsive to and responsible to the people.

(Also posted at Panhandle's Perspective)