Our Declaration of Independence is celebrated and commemorated July 4 each year. How many of us think about, much less read, this document on the Fourth? Is it relevant today?
The preamble states "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 further argues that legitimate governments uphold these rights and those governments not doing so should be replaced with those that do.
The body of the Declaration then lists 27 grievances against King George III and his government. From George Washington's time to the present, segments of society have complained some of these grievances have not been addressed by the extant administration.
It is interesting and informative to consider whether any of these concerns apply to our present government. There are six that moderates and conservatives might arguably apply to our present situation.
The first complaint is that the king had not accepted laws "wholesome and necessary for the public good." There is a present concern that past and present presidents have ignored or willfully misinterpreted laws passed by the legislative branch of government.
This has most notably occurred with our laws on illegal immigrants and border security.
The third complaint against the king was refusal to pass laws for large segments of society unless they relinquish representation in the legislature.
The most egregious current example of this might be the treatment of companies forced to follow arbitrary and capricious rulings after being forced to accept government money.
The 10th grievance was that the king had established a "multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
How many czars do we need? What more can be said about this complaint?
The 13th grievance against the king was that he "combined, with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation."
Is this not the case when we accept the global government initiatives of the United Nations and other global government bodies?
The 17th complaint leveled against the king was the imposition of taxes without the consent of the governed.
Could this be the case when massive bills involving spending billions and trillions of taxpayer dollars are presented to our legislators and votes are demanded of them before they can possibly read the legislation, much less carry on a study of them or have a reasoned debate of their merits. As the Scots say, "Decide in haste and regret at leisure."
The 21st grievance against the king was "for taking away our charters ... and altering, fundamentally, the powers of our governments."
Such might be the case when the government arbitrarily abrogates corporate contracts, sets compensation limits on the officers of companies and dictates the operations of those companies.
Many are concerned that these complaints should be thoroughly studied and discussed by each of us. They are the basis of the TEA parties across our country organized by ordinary citizens disturbed by the direction our government has taken.
The Declaration of Independence ends with the sentence "And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honour."
Is the Declaration of Independence relevant today?
Delbert Marshall, Hays, is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.