As tomorrow is 236th anniversary of our separation from the tyranny of King George, I found myself reading the Declaration of Independence for the first time in many years. I am struck by a number of powerful thoughts in this document:
a) When in the course of human of events it becomes necessary… Quite simply, this is a big deal. In fact the change is so significant that the signers felt absolutely compelled to provide a thorough explanation of grievances. No hiding, no subversion. They had the absolute courage to stand up and say “this is wrong and we are going to change it”.
b) 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… Now, here’s our beliefs. These are the things that above all must remain true.
c) 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… And since you have seen fit to disregard and trample upon the most basic rights of humanity, we have no other choice than to force a change. This is not a “wouldn’t it be nice” decision, rather, this is a compelling obligation.
d) And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. We are so firmly committed to this decision that we will stake EVERYTHING to see it through.
The passion, clarity and commitment these men held to our well being is staggering. They had about as much chance of being successful as would Chad, Sierra Leone or Burkina if they launched a war with the United States today. Yet they believed in what they were doing, had a vision for a great country, and they pressed forward despite insurmountable odds.
So, remember these men tomorrow. And the next day, take a mere fraction of their passion into your community and make it a better place. It’s the least we can do to honor the memory of those who gave us so much.