How are you doing on this fine Independence Day?
Here in Texas, the sky is blue, the temperature is rising, barbecue grills are firing up, and belts (if they’re being worn) are preparing to be loosened by a notch or two. Aunt Petunia is preparing heaping spoons full of mayonnaise or mustard to mix into the tater salad. Uncle Earl is debating the finer points of opting for a dry rub or a sauce for those beef ribs he’s about to offer up to the grillin’ Gods. The kids have gone to a local parade, decked out in their requisite reds, whites, and blues.
Around the world, today is the fourth of July. Here in the good ole U.S. of A, it’s Independence Day. No, we aren’t celebrating the release of a stupid movie of the same name which came out in the 90’s. Nor are we celebrating that song by Martina McBride.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we celebrate our Independence. It was on this day 235 years ago that the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Continental Congress. That document was the colonial version of a young country’s proud defiance to the assholes across the pond.
The colonists had been in the new world for years before. You see, the reason they came here was because the powers that be back in England had a practice of inserting themselves into every aspect of the lives of British subjects. Mandates, regulations, and taxation ruled the day.
Seeing a chance to exit stage left to get out from under the British thumb, a small herd of the persecuted subjects packed up their Mayflower moving truck and took off.
Once they got here, they set up shop and proceeded to flourish in as orderly of a manner as possible. Certainly there were challenges along the way, yet they continued to endure.
Time passed on, and by the time the colonists had been here for about 150 years, the environment was ripe to make a break and declare our sovereignty. Naturally, we wrote the aforementioned Declaration of Independence, fought a revolutionary war, and eventually gained our freedom from the British crown.
Once they dispensed with the formalities, our Founding Fathers started taking the steps to define and document what America was all about. Even the colonists back then appreciated more than ribs and tater salad, so it was necessary to make a note or two.
Keep in mind there were no smart phone apps or computer software to help them along the process. Legal Zoom hadn’t been created yet, because it was a slated to be a website on an internet which hadn’t been invented by Al Gore yet.
It subsequently became necessary to write stuff down the old fashion way on paper. This process led to the Constitution, which would be the document which would specifically outline the way things should be run.
Not everyone embraced it whole heartedly at first though. The big concern was that the proposed Constitution didn’t go far enough to limit the powers of government. A collection of limitations was written up which were subsequently added to the Constitution, and ultimately helped it to gain the approval of the states as the end all, be all of what America would be about.
You do know what those limitations are don’t you? They’re now known as the Bill of Rights, which serve as the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They are as follows:
• First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
• Second Amendment –A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
• Third Amendment –No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
• Fourth Amendment –The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
• Fifth Amendment –No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
• Sixth Amendment –In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
• Seventh Amendment –In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
• Eighth Amendment – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
• Ninth Amendment – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
• Tenth Amendment –The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
It should probably go without saying here that our Founding Fathers didn’t have the same convenience of copy and paste from websites like Wikipedia as you and I do today.
Allow me to put what I’ve said so far very simply.
The reason this country was founded was because our forefathers opted out of being subject to an intrusive government which endeavors to regulate as many aspects of our individual lives that it can.
This country has spent it’s life taking the steps to defend the way of life which our forefathers envisioned for us. We have fought a great deal both here at home and abroad to preserve the foundation of our governing document.
Remember that when the onerous details of a government sponsored social engineering effort requires you to prove to the IRS that you’ve purchased a minimal amount of health insurance, even though the Constitution doesn’t allow the government to make such a demand.
When agents of the government lacking probable cause want to use their devices to render nude images of you in airports all over the country, remember if that was really what our forefathers had in mind.
Remember that when agents of the government lacking probable cause aggressively pat you down for refusing a full body scan.
Remember the reasons why the earliest American settlers left England in search for a better way to do things.
Remember the reasons they fought for Independence.
Remember the reasons they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the manner they did.