Pondering the Fourth of July 2014

South San Francisco, CA   July 3, 2014

While many may lament the fact fireworks are not permitted in South City and others are joining neighborhood groups or going out of town for 4th of July, we cannot allow the meaning behind this important date to slip past us without acknowledgement.

America is currently experiencing much division which threatens to splinter our country even more. In 2012 we had 23 of our states petition the White House to ‘peacefully’ secede from the United States of America following the November 2013 election. (Petitions have been filed on behalf of the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.)

Some states, with Texas high on that list, may want to leave the USA. However, so many more people want to gain entrance into our country, in part for the words and meaning of our Declaration of Independence. Immigrants illegally entering through unsecured southern borders have reached unimaginable numbers in the past few months. The majority are migrating from Central America traveling through Mexico and there is concern this mass influx is also carrying terrorists whom the US is fighting in the Middle East. Reports of 57,000 children and 39,000 families with children entering our country illegally since October 2013, has caused another division amongst those here legally.

Everyone may have empathy for the plight of those seeking a better life but the rallying cry demanding immigrants go through the formal process is loud and clear.  “This is an invasion!” yell those protesting the immigrants coming into Murrieta the other day. Eventually the three buses filled with immigrants that came here illegally left the town seeking another sanctuary.

“It is deplorable that people espousing anti-immigrant hate language created unnecessary tension and fear for immigrant mothers and their children,” Pedro Rios, a community representative of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, said in a statement. “Even more concerning is that elected officials in the City of Murrieta instigated this tension. Mothers and their children on these buses have suffered through enough trauma.” CNN reports.

Another one of the issues is the fact our country is made up of immigrants and we all came from somewhere else, if not us, our ancestors. Many give exception to Native Americans as being ‘from this land’ yet new archaeological evidence suggests the original settlers were from Europe after all. And then there is the discussion that it doesn’t matter where a person’s ancestors originated, rather it is about following current laws, as we are meant to be a ‘Nation of Laws’.

Part of the controversy also explores Mexico’s part in all of this; are they exploiting the immigrants as they pass through that country? Should sanctions be put against Mexico pressuring their government to stem the tide before it hits US borders? How would Canada react if America allowed similar passage meant to smuggle immigrants illegally to their country?

The decline of the middle class and the fact the ‘rich class’ is increasing at the same time doesn’t go unnoticed either. Seeing what were once ’middle class’ jobs going overseas leaving minimum services jobs for the masses has not helped. ‘The decline has less to do with the power of the “one percent” per se than with the drying up of opportunity amid what is seen on Wall Street and in the White House as a sustained recovery. Despite President Obama’s rhetorical devotion to reducing inequality, it has widened significantly under his watch. Not only did the income of the middle 60% of households drop between 2010 and 2012 while that of the top 20% rose, the income of the middle 60% declined by a greater percentage than the poorest quintile. The middle 60% of earners’ share of the national pie has fallen from 53% in 1970 to 45% in 2012.’ reports Joel Kotkin in his article for FORBES earlier this year.

 

And that fact brings more concern over immigrants coming (illegally) to America, opportunities are dwindling for all. Bringing it home locally, even with many households working two jobs our schools are still labeled as ‘poverty level’ and ‘non-English’ speaking.  Yet in the Bay Area, with the Tech & Life Science boom, we see home prices and rents continue to be out of range for far too many.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released reports showing optimism; 288,000 jobs were added bringing unemployment figures down to 6.1% and causing the DOW to go over 17,000 for the very first time.  Employment may be up, but most wages outside of minimum, have not increased leaving many to scramble to make ends meet. Food banks tell a very different story than today’s Jobs Report.

More concern centers on the US Military finally exiting from Iraq only to witness ten years of US sacrifice of soldiers and untold sums of tax payer money and resources fall into ISIS hands.  This brings more division as the nation weighs in on what to do; ‘We broke it, we fix it’ or ‘Leave them to fight their civil war’. Add to that the Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and it can seem we are all at wits end.

Now might be the best time for people to actually read this document, the reason we celebrate this 4th of July, this piece of paper that works to bind us together as a nation. This declaration, against tyranny and for freedom, still evokes a strong powerful sentiment.  While there is much to cause division, we still have more in common to unite us all. Perhaps within these words we will recognize what our US founding fathers saw for our future and embrace it together once again.

The Declaration of Independence

 

Action of Second Continental Congress,
July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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 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, 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 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 pre-tended 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 and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy of 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 British 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.

 

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