Once, there was a rebellion against arrogance

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ever wonder how the Declaration of Independence might read if it were written by a Mississippian in 2009 as opposed to the vernacular of colonists in 1776?

Here’s an attempt:

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Every once in a while, you’ve gotta step back and decide what’s what. And if people are getting a bad deal from their government, they’ve got to do whatever it takes to start over. It helps to make a list of reasons.

First, though, let’s start with the fact that nobody’s better than anybody else. We’re all born in different situations, but God made us all the same in terms of the ability to make up our own minds about things.

Fact is, the main reason to have any government at all is to protect our born-in desire to run our own lives.

Remember, a government is not a natural thing. It’s a people-made thing and the only reason to have government or to let government exist is to protect people’s born-in rights.

Now if the time comes when a government is not assuring that people can make their own way without needless interference or— worse — is the source of the interference, well that’s got to stop.

This isn’t light stuff. Got to think about it long and hard.

On the one hand, folks can put up with a lot without doing anything drastic about it. Nobody has it easy. There are always problems. That’s the way it is, and it might even be a good thing. But when push comes to shove, people have to decide what’s more important — themselves or their government. It’s all about balance. Will we serve a government or will a government serve us?

If making a list is smart, here’s the situation.

• When lower levels of government make laws and do things that make sense, the highest level puts a stop to it.

• The highest level of government continually refuses to recognize large groups of people unless the groups recognize the government’s authority as the only authority.

• We are getting worn out with paperwork and getting the runaround about everything we need from the government only because the government hopes we’ll give up and stop asking for what we’re due.

• If a lower level of government disagrees with the highest level and says so, the highest level just ignores or abolishes the lower level. Then, no new people are chosen for the jobs unless they kow-tow 100 percent to the highest level.

• Judges? Either we don’t have them or they’re powerless or they, too, have to kow-tow to what the government wants.

• And not just judges, but there are too many government agents who regulate anything and everything. Not only that, we have to pay and feed them to interfere with us.

• Way too much emphasis is placed on police and the military, and they answer to the government, not the people.

• There’s no end to the number of taxes we pay, some we know about, some we don’t and it’s like we have no say at all.

• There’s lots of other stuff, but government is also constantly stirring the pot to divide us into groups and encouraging us to turn on each other instead of looking at the real source of a problem and come up with a straightforward solution.

Add it all up and we’ve just had enough.

We declare ourselves shed of it.

And we mean it.

In 1776, colonists used words such as “unwarrantable” and “consanguinity” while declaring freedom from the King of England, their sovereign.

Every Fourth of July since, we’ve celebrated them reaching the point of saying “enough is enough.”

But their language is not the only thing that has become more and more unfamiliar through the decades. So has their reasoning.

It was, simply, that they had no choice.

It becomes “necessary,” the declaration says, “to dissolve the political bonds” at certain times. And, based on the founders’ understanding about what people are supposed to do with their lives and the examples they gave of King George being an obstacle, it was their duty, they said, to start over without him. Their government was both arrogant and wholly out of touch. It was self-serving, not people-serving.

Around Independence Day there’s always a lot of rhetoric about the proper role of government.

That we continue to think about that is, perhaps, the greatest legacy of the founders.

What they established, simply said, is that the natural order is for the people to be in charge and anything else is intolerable.