This July 4, 2007, as I reflect on this Independence Day holiday and the state of our current socio-political climate, I have to admit that I am having great difficulty celebrating the “independence” of our nation. Those founding fathers who crafted the Declaration of Independence clearly had a different conception of the rights of “the people” to determine their own political and social destiny. Today, I see less of this type of “independence” in the American people. But I am hopeful.
We have all heard or read those famous words, “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.”
But, how many of us remember the further assumption of the Founding Fathers, “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.”
Based upon the very words of the Declaration of Independence, the drafting of which we celebrate today, July 4th, a government of free men is required for one primary purpose – to secure the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, when the government of a free people fails to fulfill its primary purpose, it is the obligation of that free people to cast aside that government.
What are the conditions set forth by the drafters of the Declaration which constituted good cause for an overthrow of the existing government? Lucky for us, they are itemized and listed in detail in the text of the Declaration (see http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/index.htm for the full text). Upon review of the reasons listed in the Declaration, ask yourself, how many of these very same conditions exist today in our current political/corporate system here in the good ol’ U.S.A.? Are we holding our government accountable?
Now, I’m not advocating an insurrection or an overthrow of the government. What I am advocating, however, is a thoughtful re-evaluation of how much “independence” we will settle for as a nation. With our current President and cabinet in their final stretch, it is particularly important that we ask ourselves, “what is truly important to us?” Is it affordable (or god forbid, free) healthcare? Is it inexpensive access to education? Is it freedom from religious intolerance? Is it the elimination of hunger and homelessness? Is it the elimination of torture as an acceptable information gathering technique?
It is my sincere belief that, when it comes to the most basic of “self evident” rights, the American people can and will agree upon these most basic of rights.
As an personal injury attorney here in Orange County, California, I deal each day with individuals who have been injured as the result of the wrongful conduct of another. Each day is an uphill battle against an extremely well funded campaign on the part of large corporations to limit or eliminate their accountability to those who they (or their insureds) injure… all for the purpose of increasing profits. As I see it, the influence exerted by these large corporations on the political system and the devastating effect that it has on the consumer is tantamount to the type of corruption outlined in the Declaration of Independence. As such, we must fight against it. We have the right to do so. We should exercise our right.
If you visit my primary website www.orangecountyinjury.com, you can go to the main “Resources” button and the sub-page “Get Involved” to visit the site for www.peopleoverprofits.org. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of you 4th of July, for all the best reasons.