Saturday, July 5, 2008


5 July 2008
Two hundred thirty-two years ago a small minority faction of elite Caucasian Protestant men, most of them wealthy and in positions of power, declared that the inhabitants of this continent had the right and ought to be free and independent from their sovereign. This elite minority faction effectively declared war on the most expansive, well armed and powerful empire on earth. They did this in the name of, and on behalf of all the people; all the natives, the indentured, the enslaved, the poor, the farmers, craftsmen, laborers, seamen, traders and women. They did it knowing full well that it would be them, the common people, that would have to do the actual fighting and dying. In fact if the American Revolution had depended upon the wealthy and powerful it never would have happened.

Yet, in spite of its truthful expression of human rights and rhetorical beauty; regardless of its rightful claims, its artful and well-founded argument, the Declaration of Independence is a useless and empty document. And even though it is truly inspirational, a logical and high-minded statement of human hopes, desires and ideals the Declaration of Independence is, quite frankly, a political tool employed by a wealthy and powerful minority faction to manipulate the common people; it is the nation's first use of the chimera known today as "National Security."

The first thing one must always remember and keep in mind when reading the Declaration of Independence-and I believe without any doubt that every citizen of the United States should read it at least once a year-it has no authority or power. The Declaration of Independence is just that-a declaration, a statement of grievances. It is not a legal document or binding agreement; nor is it an enforceable contract. The United States Declaration of Independence is simply a well-written rhetorically inspirational statement, an argumentative and idealistic essay.

After returning from an early morning bicycle ride and listening to "Morning Edition" on National Public Radio (N.P.R.) I was surprised to hear the N.P.R. on-air staff read the full text of the Declaration of Independence during one of the segments of the show. It is a rare occurrence to hear it spoken aloud in its entirety. Most Americans have never even read the whole thing from beginning to end. As I listened I experienced, with a notable increase in emotional intensity, all the feelings that I usually have whenever I read through it. The pride and righteousness of cause; the thrill and excitement of standing up for what is right, good, and common to all people, the invincibility of youth, and the satisfaction of telling truth to power. Then there is the inevitable feeling of sadness. The disappointment of deceit and empty unfulfilled promises as reality returns.

Our Declaration of Independence was, and still is, touted as one of the greatest political documents ever recorded. Consider the following excerpts which are some of my favorites.

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,... requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation...--that all men are created equal,...with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...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 abolish it, and to institute a 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. ... all experience hath shown, 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 the same Object reduces 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. ... Such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

These claims are followed by a brilliantly constructed list of injuries and actions committed by the King of England and Parliament. Towards the end, in the final statement and actual declaration of their separation from Great Britain we find the following logical conclusion to the Colonists argument and reasoning.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people...We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.--...In the Name, and by Authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Abolished from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

Please take fifteen or twenty minutes sometime soon to read the Declaration of Independence from beginning to end. Read it to your family. Compare what the Colonists were going through with what we, in 2008, are being subjected to by our current Federal Government. In two hundred thirty-two years the United States Federal Government has become the same Despot, the same Tyrant, the same inflicter of injury and usurper of rights as the King and Parliament we threw off in 1776.

What I find to be so sad, so disappointing, so truly heartbreaking, is that the ideals, hopes, desires, and dreams evoked by this great piece of political posturing were abandoned almost immediately upon the cessation of hostilities. Not one of the ideals or principles outlined in our Declaration of Independence were enacted into law or incorporated in the legal framework of our original United States Constitution. And all those that have been added as Amendments have either been distorted and perverted by the Supreme Court, or ignored by those in power.

The Declaration of Independence is a Humanistic writing that recognizes the Human Condition and extols Equality. Our Constitution, on the other hand, is a legal, binding and enforceable Social Contract designed to protect property, profit, power, and position. The Declaration of Independence is about Human progress and happiness; whereas the Constitution is about power, authority and force; it establishes the foundation of the Status Quo to be controlled and manipulated by the ruling class elite minority faction in lieu of protecting and improving the lives of American citizens.

I submit that in 2008, as Citizens of the United States, we have the same right, the same obligation as our forebears to declare the despotism, the tyranny and the failure of our Federal Government as unacceptable. It is without doubt our responsibility to undertake to overthrow the current power structure and replace our Bad Government with one that is better and more effective for ALL Citizens. I believe with my entire being that we, the people, the governed, from which our government derives all its just powers must institute the philosophy and process of Humanistic Equalism: Philosophy for Ethical Government of Common Sense, by Common People, for Common Good.

How will Humanistic Equalism change America? How will it effect the purpose and function of our government? In my next posting I will begin to address these questions. If you have a comment please make it, use the link below to email this to a friend or an enemy, add "Shift of Power" to your "favorites" or "Bookmarks" and if you have a moment rate this blog using the button located at the bottom of the right panel. Give peace a chance.
James B. Tinsley, B.A.

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