Friday, July 04, 2014

4th of July

As Americans prepare to celebrate the 238th birthday of our country later today by fire roasting large chunks of cattle and poultry and blowing stuff up, we need to reflect on the nature of revolution and our declaration of it. What does it mean, this document written 238 years ago by Jefferson et. al.?

As we look at today´s headlines, we are struck by the amount of unrest in our society, focused mainly today on women & homosexuals. Just as it ocurred in 1776, in 1863, and 1965, today, this disturbance is about is extending the rights formerly limited to aristocrats and royalty to everyone.

We´ve see a lot of whining in the papers & on the internet these days about gay people´s demands.  But because they are human, ...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Women today, by the same principle, are demanding full equality with men, & to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

There are much wider implications than gay rights and female emancipation that are driving the current phase of revolution, however. Today the US government´s power to rule has been usurped by the .01% of citizens rich enough to buy it, in violation of all the principles laid down in the declaration, & 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.

Not all revolutions require war & death, and let's hope this phase of our ongoing experiment in self-government does not cause a lot of blood 2 B spilled. But it's naive to think our oligarchic masters will relinquish their autocracy without resorting 2 violence. Now it's 

true that 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.

So happy fourth, American revolutionaries. A day partly spent in close reading of the declaration causes me to glean from it two main ideas.

1) The revolution is ongoing. It's never over until everyone enjoys absolute equality of opportunity with everyone else, which isn't likely soon, and

2) The revolution is continuous. It broke out again during lincoln's speech at Gettysburg in 1863, and again in Alabama & Mississippi in the early 60's, and today we find it necessary to take up the struggle once more. Lincoln's phase of the revolution required three Constitutional amendments to be instituted; Martin Luther King's required legislative remedies as well. Ours will require at least one amendment, outlawing all private money in elections, and divesting  corporations of their spurious personhood.

Continuous revolution is a fact of life in modern, industrial times. By proposing it in 1776, Jefferson & Tom Paine anticipated Vladimir Ilyich Lenin by over 150 years.

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