July 3rd, 2007

patriot, veteran, liberal, politics

The Reason for the Season

There have been questions raised on my Friends list about celebrating the Fourth of July. Is it appropriate to give into the "patriotic" impulses programmed into American schoolchildren when the country is headed in such dark and despotic directions?

Oh, yes.

Remember what we're celebrating, my friends. The proper name of tomorrow's holiday is not "The Fourth of July"; it's not merely some descriptive appellation of a calendar date 48 hours after the midpoint of the year.

It is Independence Day.

It is a celebration of rebellion against the civil and legal offenses of an out-of-control executive sovereign.

We're celebrating Thomas Jefferson's words -- yes, yes, I know that much of the impetus of the Revolution was to preserve the economic interests of a wealthy, propertied, slave-holding aristocracy, but it's the WORDS and the IDEAS that are worth honoring, remembering, and taking to heart -- and we need to heed them now more than ever.

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.

If there is one thing in our heritage worth exporting to the world at large, it is this:

Governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed.

Those are indeed words worth pledging one's "Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor" upon. They embody a concept that is revolutionary not merely in the political sense, but in the Copernican.

This is the United States, a nation born in rebellion, in protest, in outrage. For us, Dissent IS Patriotism -- and the celebration of Independence Day, in the face of an arrogant, petulant, would-be sovereign who believes himself and his cronies to be above the law, is an act of defiance.
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