Reflecting on the Declaration of Independence
The following exerpt comes from the United States’ Declaration of Independence. As I was reading the document today (yes, I read it once in a while to remind me of what principles this country was founded on) the following passage stood out, especially the bolded lines.
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.
–That to secure these rights, 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 to abolish it, and to institute 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.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, 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 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.
–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government…
What really got to me was the line “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” Think about the type of legislation being considered today by our representatives and senators in Washington D.C. What effect does that legislation have on our government? What precedent does it set for future generations? What about the type of language being used by this administration, what are we being asked to give up in order to fight “terrorism”? What are we giving up for our security? What are we willing to give up for that security? For how long?
“…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”