It would be difficult to find many Americans who do not enjoy and celebrate Independence Day, what with fireworks, barbecue, parades and often times a rip-roaring night of general debauchery. It is likely that even though they love the national holiday, many Americans would be hard pressed to comprehend that the “Happy 4TH of July” celebration is really about acknowledging that a group of people under oppression simply declared they were now independent and free of English tyranny. In fact, many people are ignorant about what Thomas Jefferson’s ‘immortal declaration” is, or why it has never fully been realized, and that ignorance is why it is in jeopardy of being abolished as a concept and destroyed as a practical implementation.
It seems that today, as much as anytime in American history, there is one group of Americans that are not only blatantly ignorant of what the Declaration of Independence entails, they reject it out-of-hand. And since the nation’s founding document, the U.S. Constitution, is the realization of everything in Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece, Republicans in particular and conservatives in general not only ignore great portions of the Constitution, they completely reject everything about the document that set the stage for its creation. That being the case, there is really no reason for Republicans, or any of their conservative iterations, to celebrate the Declaration of Independence because they reject it on principle.
Some of the aspects of the Declaration that were crucial to the Founding Fathers were: that all men were equal; there could be no taxation without representation; the nation would not be influenced, governed or controlled by religion; the nation was indivisible and that the people’s will and general welfare was paramount. Those points in the Declaration were carried over to, and informed, the creation of the nation’s founding document at the time and throughout the nation’s history. Sadly, Republicans have extended their rejection of the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution when it suits their machinations toward what they lust for America, a fascist theocracy controlled by the rich, or what the Founders called “tyranny of the monarch.”
Just a few of the ways Republicans express their abhorrence for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is first and foremost their rejection of the “immortal declaration” that “all [men] are created equal.” Despite a 230-plus year crusade to afford all Americans equal and civil rights, Republicans are fighting a fierce battle to deny women, people of color, the poor, non-Christians and LGBT people their equal and civil rights, even though they are guaranteed in the Constitution and several federal and state laws.
Where the Founders went to great lengths to guarantee that “America” would never by dominated and controlled by “the church,” even writing into the First Amendment that there could be no laws imposing religion, Republicans in Congress and state legislatures work tirelessly to impose and enforce religious edicts that have no association whatsoever to “providing for the general welfare of the United States” or its citizens. The Founders, especially Thomas Jefferson, made every attempt to ensure that America was a secular nation, even going so far as to declare, unanimously, that America was in no way created as a Christian nation and make sure any mention of god, bible, Jesus or Christian was omitted from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. In the same manner that Republicans reject the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they whole-heartedly reject the idea that America is not a theocracy and that their job is not enforcing theocratic laws.
One of the principles that drove the American revolution, and motivated Thomas Jefferson to author the “Declaration of Independence,” was that there could not be taxation without representation, a notion that Republicans completely reject. Republicans do claim to hate taxes more than terrorists, but they have only gone to great lengths to abolish taxation for the rich and powerful with special laws that only apply to the rich and powerful. And yet the wealthy enjoy more representation and power in government than the rest of the population that are the least represented and taxed proportionally higher.
As part of their rejection of “representation,” Republicans reject the idea of a “representative democracy” and attempt to eliminate the concept by suppressing, blocking, or restricting every American’s right to vote, unless they vote for Republicans. It has been their policy for generations and over the past 8 years it has increasingly become as important a part of their purpose for serving in government as enriching their wealthy masters.
It would require several thousand words to note every way Republicans reject the Declaration of Independence and all it entails, but what stands out above all others is the Republican adherence to a monarchy the Founding Fathers declared independence from. Republicans may not try to be “king,” but they do attempt to rule as tyrants whether they are in power or not. It doesn’t matter if they are shutting down the government to force their will on the people, or obstructing any and all legislation their moneyed masters detest, or working in concert with foreign nationals to undermine the United States government, they act as if they are assigned by their god to rule.
The Fourth of July, or Independence Day to patriots, is not about parades, fireworks, picnics or waving the American flag: it is about acknowledging that a group of people declared their independence from a tyrannical dictator. Perhaps on this Independence Day some Americans will decide that with an important general election looming, they too will declare their independence from tyrants in the Republican Party that reject equality, reject a secular government, reject representative democracy and reject the U.S. Constitution as ardently as they reject its precursor the Declaration of Independence. It is a safe bet that out of the hundreds-of-millions of Americans who will celebrate “the 4th of July” with fireworks, beer, parades and picnics, probably fewer than one percent have ever heard of the Declaration of Independence and less than a tenth of that one percent have ever read it in its entirety.
One hopes that all Americans have a safe and sane “Independence Day,” and that for personal enrichment in between the beer, parades and fireworks, they might devote less than 3 minutes of the holiday and actually read the “Immortal Declaration” document that 300 million Americans are unknowingly celebrating. Be informed though, that the complaints lodged by Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence were against the tyrant King George III of England, not today’s Republican Party.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.