The Land That I Love
Thomas Jefferson said "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." I will remain silent no longer.
This is America, a country- no, my country, our country- one that was built by the hard work and dedication of generations of men and women who all wanted the same thing, their freedom. Our Founding Fathers knew that American citizens would need protection from the governments that would form as our country grew, and in order to protect us, several documents were drafted and adopted as the basis of our government.
These documents served to limit the government, not the people, a fact that sadly, we as a nation seem to no longer understand.
We, as members of mankind, have certain unalienable rights. The Declaration of Independence states that in order “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” That’s us, the ‘governed.’ The people.
We have not been paying attention. We have allowed our government to overstep their bounds, infringing upon our rights. It is time to stand up. It is time to question authority, something we should never stop doing, not even for a second. From where does our government derive their outrageous amount of power? From me. From you. They derive their power from each one of us that is guilty of the terrible crimes of ignorance and apathy.
I will borrow a line from a great American hero, my hero, and a late friend of mine, Karl Hess. “The only- repeat, only- function of law or government is to provide the sort of self-defense against violence that an individual, if he were powerful enough, would provide for himself.”
Our government has ceased to perform this, their only function, and has graduated to a much more powerful and overbearing presence, a presence with a legal monopoly on force, a presence that is nearly everywhere, all of the time. We now have a government that controls what we eat, smoke, and drink; what we see on television and the internet; what we do with our bodies; what goods we are able to purchase; to what degree we are able to arm and defend our own homes and families; and what we engage in as consenting adults in our own bedrooms.
The Declaration provides us with an answer. “… 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.”
“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.”
We the people have been abused. Our individual rights and civil liberties have been stolen from us under the guise of ‘National Security’ by legislation such as the PATRIOT Act. Our government can now conduct searches of our individual persons and property without a warrant, something explicitly prohibited by another important document, the Constitution. The Supreme Law of the Land.
We have allowed this great document that helped to give birth to our beautiful country go from serving as the blueprint of our nation to instead existing mainly as a tourist attraction, something to look at but not read. Something we know of, but don’t understand.
As citizens of this Republic, it is our duty to make sure that we do know, that we do understand. We should never forget that our elected officials work for us. They should represent our best interests, whatever they may be. Whether you sit on the left side of the aisle or the right side, regardless of your individual political affiliation, it is your responsibility to hold your elected officials accountable for their actions. If they are not able to do these things, then the time has come to throw off the bonds of our established government, and begin the process of instituting a new one, one that is not only likely to effect our Safety and Happiness, but that guarantees it.
I believe we have reached those crossroads, and I will not wait silently for tyranny to gain a foothold. I will fight this tyranny with the most powerful tool I have: my mind. I will educate myself. I will read these documents, I will know my rights as a citizen of this country, and I will exercise them. Every day. I will not allow anyone to take them away. I will read about current events. I will call my elected officials to let them know how I feel about all of these things, and I will show up and vote each and every Election Day. I will take personal responsibility for my own actions, and understand that the future of my beloved United States rests in part upon my shoulders. It rests on our shoulders.
We are responsible. We have the power. We determine our own future, and the future of our great country. We the People.