Election 2020: A New Declaration of Independence?
Well, today is the day. The day that we find out if the system we have all relied upon for decades can actually stand up to the current times. Will we prevail as a democracy or will we falter and fall to one man’s ego? I guess by tomorrow morning we shall know.
Today, I am going try to keep in mind pure motivation. That I participated in the process to the very best of my ability. I voted my conscience. I voted early and took the steps needed to ensure that my vote counted. I prayed for all those who had to stand in long lines to vote. I prayed the mail in ballots will counted fairly. I voted with a sincere and earnest desire to stop harm and create happiness for ALL members of our society.
Today, I am going to remember that regardless of what happens, there is going to be a large segment of our country that is disappointed, perhaps bitterly. I am going to try to remember that regardless of whether it is me that feels that way or others that I have less in common with that disappointment and heartache are hard for all.
This has been a crazy year but a good one nonetheless. I know I have been lucky and blessed on many fronts. I know that my life is not representative of the hard that so many others have experienced this year. I will allow their voices to speak for the hard, I will speak for the grateful. I will remember that of all the things that could have happened this year, I have been so very lucky and to some degree the current administration has something to do with that...even if I don’t like it or want to admit it.
I pray that there will be a peaceful transfer of power. That we will not go backwards and alter our historic tradition. We fought hard to gain independence, all of us. The country was founded on principles that we have not lived up to...but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to try.
I haven’t read the Declaration of Independence in thirty years and I am not even sure that I have ever read it in its entirety...but I did recently and I was struck at how much our current situation (from my perspective) is relatable to where we were on July 4, 1776. 244 years later, the similarities are kind of shocking.
Of course, not all of what is in that most radical declaration is true today. There are horrible words of oppression and lack of raised consciousness but read the below and see if it doesn’t land squarely in your chest...it did mine. I know it is long and you have lots to do today...we all do. But I request that you set aside the clock and take a moment to see how very far we have come...and how very far we have not.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] 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 [and women], 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. The history of the present King of Great Britain (United States) is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has 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:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. 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 Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Seems like we are kinda there...again. 244 years later...seems like today, for me, is a new Declaration of Independence. One that includes all people, all religions, all races, all sexual orientations, all genders, all national origins. Today, we decide together what happens next. Do we continue down a path or do we alter course?
I am hoping that we as a nation declare a new independence today from fake news, emotional facts and synthetic media. I hope today we pick truth, justice, humanity, empathy and love. I hope that we see that there is a higher purpose to this whole living thing and the way we govern one requires that we govern all.
I believe that no one is free so long as anyone is oppressed. We all must work to eradicate fear, the corrosive fiber that causes us all to behave in ways that injure and sometimes even kill others. I believe we can do better, together.
I am going to watch the results come in tonight and I am going to try to do my best not to cheer for just my side. I am going to really try to feel what all people may be feeling:
I find myself thinking back to 244 years ago when a few stood up for the many. They were not all of like mind. They didn’t all believe in the same God or political party. There were dissenters. There were those that thought we should just assent and move on. There were those that thought to take on the crown of England would be our undoing. But like all good revolutions, the passion for a different kind of life won out in the end, surpassing fear and perhaps even common sense.
I pray that today as we all watch the results come in that we all attempt to find a way to hear each other’s dissent. To create a space where love prevails even in a place occupied by great disagreement. I pray that we keep the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power and that egos are checked and re-checked. I hope we all can find a way to live with hope and fear at the same time.
I will remember that two of my neighbors who I love dearly are on “the other side”. That I want only what is good and best and loving for them. I care less about what they believe, I care more about who they are...and they are wonderful people and neighbors.
Today, I will declare my independence from having to think that I know what is right or good or what “should” happen. I will try to keep in mind that the writer’s of our Nation’s Declaration of Independence did not represent the whole. That they did so without knowledge of the gravity of the bloodshed that would follow, the lives that would be lost. The outcome uncertain and far off. But, just like me, they believed in a higher good and purpose. They believed in what they declared and were willing to perish for it. May I someday be so noble. For today, may I be loving, tolerant and kind...to everyone regardless.