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The Declaration of Independence

Published:

This document could be considered the cornerstone of democracy.

Please read the statement carefully.  The writers spent much time making sure each word and phrase would be interpreted literally and as it was intended.

From the Declaration of Independence, "...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 [i.e., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it..."

Notice this statement refers to governments (plural) instituted by men (the plural of all people).  It refers to the people being governed in their own country having the right to alter or abolish their own government and not to people or governments of other countries having the right to alter or abolish their government.  The intent of this statement was to prevent imposing one government's will and form of government upon another country.  It is up to the governed in each country to decide its own government, no one else. 

We had a revolution in this country over this issue 212 years ago.  The United States was born because we believed in this statement.


The words are very clear and simple and it is democracy at its finest as it was intended to be.  Any variation from this is a variation from democracy.

"Spreading democracy" was NOT what our founding fathers had in mind.  Any rational being with a rudimentary understanding of the English language could discern that from this Declaration. 

We were forced to memorize this Declaration as schoolchildren because of its importance.  Let's not trample on those basic beliefs that created this great country.

 

Entry #62

Comments

1.
justxploringComment by justxploring - September 27, 2006, 6:55 pm
Rick, right now I'm not in a political mood, so forgive me while I take this down to another level if you don't mind. Have you ever tried to change an alcoholic or a smoker? It just won't do any good until he understands that his lifestyle is unhealthful and has a burning desire to change. The people in his life must also accept this change or he will need to move on. In your heart you know your way is much better, so you finally plan an intervention. Then his life falls apart again. So you place him in a 28 day program where he has daily therapy. 2 weeks later he drives his car into a tree.
2.
ToddComment by Todd - September 27, 2006, 6:58 pm
The founding document of this country is the Constitution, not the Declaration. The Declaration of Independence was a formal statement declaring our independence from Britain, and explains why we did it.

In their infinite wisdom, the founding fathers created a Constitution that was designed to be changed over time as our country grew and prospered. It is difficult to change, but there have been 17 ammendments since the original 10 (the Bill of Rights) were ratified in 1791. The last ammendment was ratified in 1992.

Now, you are correct that "spreading freedom around the world" is not in our Constitution (or Declaration).

Other things not in our Constitution (or Declaration) include:

- Curing diseases, like HIV and cancer
- Stopping drug usage
- Housing the United Nations on US soil
- Feeding the hungry in Ethiopia
- Helping hurricane victims
- Saving the environment

I think you get the point. The list could get quite large, as MOST things are not explicitly covered by our Constitution (or Declaration).

I think our founding fathers would be very impressed by the fact that we are protecting our own society by helping others to become democratic. After all, it is a proven fact that countries that become democracies do not attack their neighbors.
3.
Rick GComment by Rick G - September 27, 2006, 8:35 pm
Todd,

I know what the founding documents of this country are, no need to patronize me. I took the same classes and the same tests as you. The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the constitution) was my original thrust but I changed it when I had comments to make about the Declaration of Independence as it was related to our our invasion and occupation of a sovereign country and instilling our will and governmental ideas on that country and intent on continuing to do so in other sovereign nations. The Bill of Rights blogs are forthcoming, so stay tuned.

In my blog there was no mention of environment, housing, diseases, hurricanes, drugs, hunger, Republicans, Democrats, Bill Clinton, global warming,etc. It was a simple definition of democracy and governments vis-a-vis one country to another as proposed by our Declaration of Independence. If you want to dispute that statement feel free to do so. But let's stay on topic.
4.
Rick GComment by Rick G - September 27, 2006, 9:04 pm
PS, Todd...Democratic countries DO attack their neighbors. The United States did it to Iraq. Are you defining a neighbor in the sense of touching borders or in the sense of a global community of neighbors?

I am neighbors with the person right next door to me but I'm also neighbors with the people that live a block away. Where is the "neighbor line" drawn in the international scenario?
5.
justxploringComment by justxploring - September 28, 2006, 3:38 am
BTW, I actually was trying to relate what I wrote to forcing Democracy and our way of government on other countries. Was in my analogy mood. (yes, I know what the first 4 letters are)   But this guy says it better:

"We would be guilty of great error in our conduct toward other nations if we endeavored to force liberty on our neighbors in our own form." --Thomas Jefferson

6.
truecriticComment by truecritic - September 28, 2006, 6:31 am
Rick

Yes, that is how I read it also. A Country is Sovereign and just because we don't like how they run it, does not mean we start wars, even if some friendly allies join in.

If we are attacked or are bound by treaties and allies are attacked, that is different. Osama is different and should be tracked down wherever he is.
7.
Comment by Rip Snorter - September 28, 2006, 8:55 am
RickG:
I'd opine that the Declaration was a good choice to make your point. It hasn't had 200 years of lawyers nibbling away at it, hasn't had any power mongers, war mongers, religious fanatics, money mongers motivated to rot it away at the core, as they've done with the Constitution.

As Todd's pointed out, the poor old Constitution was designed to be changed with changing times. There's a formal process for doing it, as he also pointed out.

What he neglected to mention is that a series of US presidents have chosen to ignore the document, do what they wished without going through the process of amendment, a series of Supreme Courts have chosen to ignore the words and wish anything into it that suits them, until the US Constitution has no meaning.

The Constitution is full of prohibitions, specific and clear. Some of what Todd listed as 'not explicitly allowed' by the Constitution is probably indirectly forbidden, one way or the other. But half of the rhetoric being spouted by the demigogues and much of what this president has done and will do while in office is explicitly forbidden by the Constitution.

Much of it wouldn't even have been dared by a president 30, 40 years ago. The US Congress still existed then, and less than half the population didn't want a king to worship. Many worshipped the US Constitution, always have, nobody wanted a damned king, though they'd begun to have them.

The Declaration of Independence is one of the documents the political and religious fanatics still call their own because it doesn't bind them to anything. They know they've lost any kinship to the US Constitution because the only time they mention it involves what the opposition's doing to bust it.

Just lip service to it, the king and his court of jesters.

J

8.
TheGameGrlComment by TheGameGrl - September 28, 2006, 7:17 pm
Rick G--- I commend your commentary and think it was written with knowledge and forethought.
Most may have an opinion yet you wrote in a way that gives the average reader time to re-access our current government from a military stance. My father who rarely spoke against this nation and fought
overseas once said, "I have compassion for any person who doesnt allow a stranger into his house and tell him how to cook his meals and feed his family" Yet we as americans seem to think we must enforce our ways. Our way isnt the only way nor is it the right way, it simply is what works for our economy and for our legislative,/judicial body. Thank you for reminding folks that we still have some growing up to do as a nation.
9.
Rick GComment by Rick G - September 28, 2006, 7:30 pm
Thanks to everyone for the comments.

I especially liked justxploring's Thomas Jefferson quote and TheGameGirl's quote from her Dad. It took me paragraphs to say what each of you did in one sentence.

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