Why do we have a political system? Why do we celebrate the efforts of the founding fathers and other patriots of our American history?
Almost everyone takes for granted American independence and freedom of the individual.
Several million of our ancestors and even still living friends and relatives bear the scars of having to have fought to keep our cherished freedoms. We mostly ignore all of that and utilize such holiday opportunities as Memorial or Independence Day like other National holidays as opportunities for vacation, relief from work, or just indolence. A few still find time to recognize and observe via perhaps an annual trek to a cemetery to participate in a service or just a simple act of presence at a graveside.
Memorial and Independence Day used to be celebrated in thousands of towns with parades that went to a Battle Monument where speakers reminded us of the reasons for our observances. Most of that is now history or worse, it has been usurped as an opportunity for every conceivable special interest group to parade its special agenda.
Take a moment here to reflect upon what started it all....56 brave patriots who took their lives in their hands and those of all around them, to petition the King in a way that was apologetic, not arrogant! These men knew that their cause was just and that the future of the land depended upon their risking all, not for personal agrandizement, but for freedom of the individual, not for organized control of a new class of state leaders.
We should let July 4th give us a chance to consider...
Reflections on The Declaration of Independence
by Richard R. Tryon
This story is not found in any history book or taught in any classroom to my knowledge.
I share with you my tearful experience as a man of maybe 50 who stood at the Pennsylvania side of the Washingtons Crossing point on the Delaware River and read the words of the Declaration of Independence again. Of all of the world's revolutions, I know of no other that began with such a pleading letter to a much beloved King! These men knew that the King was not able to understand the plight of the New World people in terms that would give them an adequate sense of freedom without declaring their independence. They did so very reluctantly! I knew, of course, that they were therefore risking all of their family and accomplishments in a venture that might not only fail but succeed in taking their lives in either case!
They cast their petition in the name of a Divine Providence or God, whom they recognized as supreme and above even the King. They never forgot this point for after the Revolution was won they did not choose to perpetuate it in the name of an eleit group of leaders ala Fidel Castro. Rather they created a Constitution that is full of evidence of their humble knowledge that all must be under God to avoid manís tendency to act like the King, without full consideration of the freedom of the individual.
It is worthwhile to consider in ...
REMEMBERING INDEPENDENCE DAY
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the
Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured
before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.
But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: Freedom is never free!
I hope you will show your support by please sending this to as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.
So....What did they achieve?
A very recent news story reveals another Supreme Court decision as an evidence that our cherished freedom to have legislators make our laws has again been challenged by just nine Supreme Court Justices, men and women who decided to:
Upholds Miranda Police Warnings
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON (June 26) - The Supreme Court decisively reaffirmed on Monday its legendary Miranda ruling, which requires police to tell suspects of their right to remain silent, upholding a precedent from a more liberal era 34 years ago.
In one of its most important criminal law rulings in decades, the high court by a 7-2 vote refused to discard its 1966 Miranda decision and replace it with a less-stringent federal law that allows voluntary confessions even when police fail to give the warnings.
''We ... hold that Miranda and its progeny in this court govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts,'' Chief Justice William Rehnquist said for the majority.
The ruling was a major victory for the Clinton administration and civil libertarians, who said the Miranda decision prevents police coercion and misconduct after suspects have been taken into custody for questioning.
Police groups argued unsuccessfully that the Miranda decision -- requiring that suspects be told about the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present -- should be discarded because it sometimes allows the guilty to go free.
Two years after the Miranda ruling, Congress adopted a law that allowed federal prosecutors to use a voluntary confession made before a criminal suspect has been read the Miranda rights -- a law never enforced by the U.S. Justice Department.
The law, which affects only federal prosecutions and not state or local criminal cases, essentially overturned the Miranda decision and restored the voluntary standard that had been in effect before the 1966 ruling.
But the Supreme Court said the federal law does not take precedence over its Miranda decision, a ruling that means the required police warnings remain as the law of the land.
Rehnquist said Miranda was a constitutional decision of the court, and may not be overruled by an act of Congress.
He said the court declined to overrule Miranda on the grounds that it has become so established in law and in police practice.
But Rehnquist specifically said the court was leaving open whether it would have agreed with Miranda's reasoning and its rule if it had been addressing the issue for the first time.
The ruling involved suspected bank robber Charles Dickerson, who in January 1997 voluntarily confessed to FBI agents that he drove the getaway car in a series of bank robberies in Virginia and Maryland.
A federal trial judge in Alexandria, Virginia, suppressed Dickerson's confession as evidence, ruling that Dickerson had not been told of his Miranda rights before the confession.
But a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the federal law trumped the Miranda decision and governed the admissibility of confessions in federal court. The Supreme Court then said the appeals court was wrong.
The Justice Department strongly defended the Miranda decision. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno took the rare step of signing the government's brief urging that the warnings be retained to promote public confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system.
The Miranda decision flowed from the constitutional right against self incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.
The case has become a political issue. Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush welcomed the review of the Miranda decision while Vice President Al Gore strongly supported the 1966 ruling.
Justices Antonin Scalia, a longtime Miranda critic, and Clarence Thomas dissented.
''Today's judgement converts Miranda from a milestone of judicial overreaching into the very Cheops' pyramid (or perhaps the Sphinx would be a better analog) of judicial arrogance,'' Scalia said, referring to the king of Egypt who built the great pyramids outside Cairo.Ē
The story reports just one example of many that show that our system of government as envisaged by the founding fathers, who declared our independence from the King of England in 1776, has changed a great deal.
An effort will be made here to add additional sections to deal with the many divisive issues that tear at the fabric of the precious gift given to us by these original patriots. Why bother with such an effort?
We still have a right to vote in America or more correctly these United States of America. But do we do it?†
In the times of the founders, a high percentage of those qualified to vote did so. But, then only a few qualified. No woman or slave could vote. No man who was not a property owner had much chance of voting in most of the states of the early Union of 13 colonies.
In time we have learned to allow almost everyone to vote who can do so and is qualified by citizenship and a minimum age. It is so easy to register now that all it takes is the effort to obtain a driverís license in most states. But, is the level of participation greater?† Are the results more impressive in terms of making our country stay free?†Or in leading others to some noble goals?
About half of all registered voters do not vote! They are not interested enough to bother; or worse, they want to but canít figure out who or what to vote for or against!
Of the other half, about 80% or 8 of every 10 are sufficiently ill-informed that they cast their votes in ways that fail to even recognize what they thought they were trying to do. They vote for candidates that misrepresent almost everything to almost everybody! So, a statistical fact of life leaves them divided into two equal groups that cancel each other out! This leaves about 10% of all registered voters the task of making the democratic decisions for everyone!
As we come to another election season many issues seem to be under consideration as questions over which we should have reason to support one candidate or another. How strange it is that we pay so little attention to the relative brain power, integrity or morality of the candidates; their dedication to the task of serving us, vs serving themselves; or their personal conditions of health, maturity, independence and freedom from strange alliances with one form of corruption or another.
Instead, we are encouraged by self-serving leaders to be sure to use a few litmus tests:† Is the candidate for or against any of a dozen issues- pro life or pro-abortion; for or against machine guns for every home, regardless of the consequences; for or against union controlled public schools or alternative education; for or against so-called campaign finance reform, etc.
We spend little time trying to ask if these issues are that simple?†We make the election process into a advertising campaign to see who can spend the most money to confuse our thinking into one action or another.
There is no way that we can expect to get a balanced fare out of the array of newspapers, radio or TV available to us, for the simple reason that so much of it is dominated by economic interests that are tuned to commercial considerations like ratings, poll taking and other simplistic measurements that relate more closely to what kind of sponsors will pay for the time of the exposure than to the facts and ideas to be considered.
Perhaps the world wide web offers a chance for a lot more information to be available. No doubt this is true. And some of it may well add to the type of information that we really need. But, it is hard to monitor or sort out fact from fiction when so little accountability is involved.
Somehow we have to be able to sort facts from opinion- editorials from solid factual reporting. In an age when the writers get compensated by a system that promotes writing about scandal, intrigue, misrepresentations and corruptions, how can we expect to improve our ability to vote?
Obviously, only one answer makes sense. We must raise the standards of reading skills, so that people can be better informed. Of course, they have to want to be better informed. Is there any reason to think that they have a desire to use their time for such? The priority for this is hard to calculate against an age of intellectual and physical diversions that may occupy more time of our day than does working or sleeping.
In the following chapters I have tried to bring the notion of a political campaign to focus on each of the established issues in ways that are aimed at providing a balance to the political problem generated by the historic contention by Democrats that only their party cares about the great mass of people who they claim are overpowered by a class of Republican leaders that do not care for those of lesser advantage. Democratic leaders like to present themselves as somehow a part of this declared oppressed, downtrodden mass.
Conservatives are declared to be stuck without answers to problems while liberals always have an answer. It is this author's goal to allow that compassionate conservatism is a better position for all of us...for it allows for liberal thought to be considered and for concern for the individual to share in ways that can work, the correct position to take in dealing with those that really are downtrodden, underachieving, etc.
Unfortunately each of the essays that follow takes far more than a 'twenty second' sound byte for the reader to grasp and come to a point of agreement...or even to comment and offer an improvement. So, it is not too likely that this campaign 2000 will be any different than many others...unless more have learned to read than I suspect are willing to take the time to do.
We shall see..