The Declaration of Independence and Social Justice
“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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly 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. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
—Thomas Jefferson, 1776, “The Declaration of Independence”
These were wonderfully inspired words written by the great Virginian, Thomas Jefferson. But when we look back at our 240-year history, we see a struggle to live up to the ideals Jefferson wrote about in 1776. Here’s some examples: the social injustices of racism, of slavery, of working conditions; the mistreatment of the poor and downcast, of women, children, minorities, immigrants, and Native Americans; the struggle between the rich and the poor, the abuses of greedy capitalist etcetera.
I’ll admit that we’ve made progress in our 240-year history, but there’s still a long way to go. The abuses that Wall Street has inflicted on Main Street remain unresolved. The abuses of our trade agreements and the globalization of our economy remain unresolved. The abuses that corporations have waged against the average working person remain unresolved. The abuses of our tax system—especially by corporations and the rich—remain unresolved. The social bedrock of our society—the family—is under attack. Our moral fabric is decaying. Our freedom to worship as we please is under attack. Agnosticism, atheism, and moral relativism have become the politically correct religions.
I’d challenge you on this 4th of July 2016, to first of all be thankful for what we have and the sacrifices of so many to give us this wonderful country that we live in today. But at the same time, think about what we can do to make our country better for our children and grandchildren.
Happy Independence Day!