Can Lessons of the 4th of July Be Applied Today?

As we near our 4th of July celebrations for 2017 I think it’s important to note some similarities of the political atmosphere then and today. The 4th is the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What few realize is that for over a year prior to drafting the document, before a unanimous 2nd Continental Congress voted to sever our ties with Great Britain, we had already been at war with Britian.

Since 1763 the British Parliament had imposed several taxes on the Thirteen Colonies to replenish their coffers after the 7 Years War (1754 to 1763). The War was essentially a World War of the great European Empires that was fought on 5 continents to include North America. Because the British had deployed troops to the Colonies to protect them from the French and the Native population. Parliament only felt it was fair to tax the colonists. However, what few understand is that Parliament wasn’t just taxing the colonists to raise revenues, they forced the colonists to trade only via British interests to include the East India Company owned by the Royal Family and members of Parliament. It wasn’t just taxation without representation in Parliament that the colonists opposed, it was corporate control of their lives. EIC was responsible for colonial restraint of Trade. In fact the Boston Tea Party wasn’t about colonial taxation, it was a revolt against the EIC for the tax break they received from Parliament. The East India Company were like Koch Industries, Wal*Mart, Exxon today; large corporations who received benefits from the government at the cost of ordinary people’s livelihood.

Politically, of the colonists during the time leading up to the Declaration of Independence, a third favored severing our ties with Great Britain (Rebels), another third wanted to maintain the relationship (Loyalists) and the final third didn’t care either way, just wanting to get on with their lives as best they could. Today the divisions are not that dissimilar, a third support the conservative cause, another third support the progressive cause and the final third just want to get on with their lives.

When you read the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence, they lay just about everything on King George the III. However, we must realize that the power and actions against the Colonists actually came from Parliament in the King’s name. It was the conservatives who ran Parliament that enacted the various acts that harmed the colonists. Although King George was aware of what they were doing, he wasn’t involved in the details and many suggest he really didn’t understand them. He was King, but he was more controlled by Parliament than the other way around.

This is very much like the situation today in this country with President Trump and the conservative controlled Congress. Today our Congress is controlled by conservatives, backing the corporate cause over everything else with a deluded figurehead of a President who doesn’t understand what they or he is doing. At the time of our founding, Parliament was controlled by conservatives backing the corporate cause for personal wealth with an arguably deluded figurehead of a Monarch who didn’t understand government or the consequences of his actions or the actions of Parliament.

King George the III gets a lot of the direct blame for the colonial rebellion, but more of the blame belongs to Parliament for their acts in defiance of the people they were supposed to care for. Today, Donald Trump is an easy target for the blame over what is happening with our social safety-net; but the real blame belongs with the conservative controlled Congress doing the bidding of corporate and wealthy interests in much the same way the Parliament did in the 18th Century.

The most memorable and compelling line in the Declaration of Independence is “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.”

It is said that Abraham Lincoln believed and held that our Constitution was clearly derived from this view. The British Parliament did not hold this belief, perhaps neither did King George the III ,but our founders did. It is also noted that twice in Constitution (The Preamble and Article 1) the founders make note of the responsibility of government to “promote the general welfare.”

Preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Article 1, Section 8, 1:

Section 8

“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”

How is the “General Welfare” not the health and well-being of the people this government is supposed to represent and see too? Healthcare is arguably one of the most important component of the “General Welfare” we can point to today. However the conservative led Congress of the United States ignores this much as did the conservative controlled Parliament that we rebelled against; and for which in reality the Declaration of Independence was meant for.

Back in the 18th Century as today in the 21st Century, corporate based conservatism that places profit and wealth above humanity is destined to be rebelled against and defeated. It was bloody in the 18th Century so perhaps we can avoid that by using the means presented us by our followers to address these grievances with our government.

No, I don’t mean the 2nd Amendment which had absolutely nothing to do with holding our government accountable. I’m talking about the ballot box, about getting intelligent, qualified and humane Americans to run for office and bring us back to the type of society our founders envisioned. To marginalize and control the corporate conservative views of the current Republican Party and our very own Mad King Donald.

We must educate ourselves and others, must be insistent and must never sleep on the important job of keeping the “Revolution of 1776” alive today because the demons of those days are threatening us again.

MadKingDonald

 

 

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