July 4, 2009 – I’m grateful and challenged to live in the United States.
We are placed where we are today by historical events. I understand that the power of the Declaration of Independence has placed me where I am today in life. The power I feel from the Declaration is not simply inspirational. I feel the power of the Declaration on shaping what I believe most deeply and on what I feel compelled to do.
The Declaration launched our country on an experiment in self governing democracy. It demands of us that we engage actively in the experiment. If enough of our citizens give up on active engagement in the experimentation, I believe our country will die.
It is easy to superficially embrace the truth of our Declaration’s preamble declaring the self evident truth that all men are created equal. But a truth unseen is no longer a truth that is realized, and the truth of the equality of man is constantly threatened to be buried in the oppression of bigotry and poverty. I believe we are all called on to actively and aggressively fight the forces of bigotry and poverty to ensure that the equal nature of all men remains self-evident and alive in our own time.
The power I feel from the Declaration lies in the way it demands that we use the tool of government to realize the truths about the nature, rights, dignity and freedom of mankind.
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.
This is not a declaration that says, “Here is this new democratic system of government so sit back, celebrate and enjoy it.” Instead the Declaration pushes us to take action. To secure our rights we instituted this government and we have to actively alter or even abolish it to effect our safety and happiness. To engage with and struggle to shape our government is our ongoing calling.
I feel the special power of the Declaration of Independence to place me where I am today in my life. I see all around me others who feel and act on that power also. We fight against the oppression of poverty and work to perfect our government to positively effect the safety and happiness of the people. We do these things through the power and the duty we were endowed with by the Declaration of Independence.