Independence From What?
A Fourth of July Essay
Independence Day can only mean one thing: hot dogs, barbeque, and mattress sales. Because if there’s anything our nation was founded upon, it’s the right to get a good night’s sleep for one-year-no-interest financing.
It also means that we are celebrating our independence from tyranny, independence from a government far removed from the people it governs, independence from a ruling class bent on power, completely unresponsive to the people.
But on days like this, in between burgers and corn and sparklers, it doesn’t hurt to look where we came from, and where we are today. And you can’t do that until you read the most eloquent and wonderfully worded middle finger ever put into words. Of course, that’s the Declaration of Independence.
What Jefferson did here was lay out the colonial case in such a way that shows they had no choice but to revolt. He lays out the equivalent of a BuzzFeed listicle of British offenses. Then after saying BEHOLD THE UPCOMING LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS! (and is there a better word here than “usurpations,” which he uses three times in the document?), Jefferson lays it all out there. Here are a few of the offenses:
* He has refused his Assent to Laws. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but the colonists were not going to put up with a leader — or his staff — who unilaterally changes or refuses to follow the laws of the governed.
* He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. Unbelievable now, but once upon a time, the King would abuse his power to take a massive group that wielded great power to “swarm” upon and harass the people which would drain their financial resources, eating their substance. In an interview with King George III, he allegedly told a reporter, “there be Not a Smidgen of Abuse nor Usurpation by my swarms of Officers!”
* For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us. Such a quaint abuse we no longer have around. How did these passive sheep ever put up with such a thing? I mean, come on, it’s such a violation to have the government in your very home, searching your records, watching your every move, reporting things that the people do and say back to the king. And yes, it’s been shown that even Paul Revere’s metadata could’ve revealed his network and activities. We’d be outraged if that ever happened. Good thing the fourth and third amendment puts that behind us.
* He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. This would be maddening, but today, we have a Department of Justice that administers the law fairly and equitably.
All of this, along with that little “taxation without representation” thing, was enough to get people in 1776 fighting mad. Yet, on this Independence Day, with Obamacare and Hobby Lobby now law, many Americans are upset at anything that limits their right to be dependent.
Over two hundred years ago, ungrateful colonists risked their lives and fortune when all they had to do was accept the abuses and usurpations of their ruler.
We’re so much better off today. Later, time to buy a mattress!