The opening words to a much larger statement and crucial discussion
I spent the July Fourth weekend doing some binge-watching on the History Channel, watching several series recounting the lives of leaders in the past from George Washington to Ulysses Grant, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and George Patton.
History has always been an interest of mine going a long way back. When I graduated from college I had more hours in history than many education students majoring in social studies and I’ve always been amazed at how many of the things I studied have been repeated as I document the events of the day.
I still find it interesting that people are still demonstrating for the rights they are due and still haven’t received. How the social consciousness of the late 60s (when I started college) is returning. I keep waiting for the slogan, “America: Change it or lose it.”
As I watched the documentaries last Saturday, I became aware of how many of the issues our ancestors struggled for — or against — are still around; how even today people still struggle against prejudice and for basic rights.
I was watching the History Channel’s mini-series on George Washington when I was reminded of some words that should be considered in the context of our present situation; words written in another time and under trying circumstances:
“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the equal and independent station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.
“We hold these truths to be (sacred and undeniable) self-evident, that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become 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.”
These words are the opening words to a much larger statement.
Readers, I would like to hear your thoughts on these words. What you think about them and what you think they mean? If you are so inclined, send me an email. Next week, I’ll go into more detail about what I’ve placed in this space.
John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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