Happy Independence Day.
The phrase uttered every summer, over watermelon and fireworks at family gatherings across this great land, has a different ring this year. We are faced with the very same oppressive tyranny our founding fathers shed blood and treasure to escape.
What, in fact, we are celebrating is not just the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness embodied in the Declaration. Equally as important is the form of government that was established and then enshrined in the Constitution adopted in 1787 as the foundation and source of legal authority for the United States. What was provided to us by the Founders is captured by an exchange (perhaps apocryphal) between a bystander and Benjamin Franklin. At the end of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia a woman awaiting some announcement of the results that had been produced asked Franklin: “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy” to which he responded, “a republic, if you can keep it.”
It is important to note that he did not answer “a democracy or a democratic form of government.” The distinction between the two is important and worth considering, particularly this year. In a “democracy,” majority rules with no protections against absolute and unlimited power. It was “tyranny by majority” that the framers feared could run roughshod over the inalienable rights of the individual envisioned in the Declaration. Jefferson, in particular, feared the excesses to which a mere majority could go. He said, “an elective despotism was not the government we fought for.”
Indeed. America, it’s time to bring out the cannons.
Thank you, sir, can I have another?
So Happy 4th to my fellow patriots everywhere. Remember, only 3 months, 28 days until Election Day.
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