Appreciation through reflection

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By John Riddell

Although originally signed on July 2, 1776, our official date for celebrating our Declaration of Independence is today, July 4th. Unfortunately, for many, this is just a day off from work, a day to relax, maybe eat a couple of hot dogs, watch a few fireworks. There is little reflection on just what this day meant in 1776 and what this means today.
Many of us are somewhat familiar with the Declaration’s often quoted phrase dealing with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unless you have read the Declaration in its entirety, however, you might not be that familiar with some of the other specific grievances, the rationale for the separation from the Crown.
I submit the following quotation from the original Declaration for your consideration: “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. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”  
Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that it is a long list, a specific list and was not a result of some faux crisis of the day. Rather, it refers to a pattern over a number of years of past abuses, a number of years of increasing government intrusion into their private lives and livelihoods.
Please consider for a moment that the signers of the original Declaration were not simply signing a local grievance petition. They were publicly announcing their intent to separate from the jurisdiction and control of the English crown.
From the Crown’s perspective, they were engaging in unmitigated treason. Treason was a capital crime, and all convicted offenders were to be hanged. All the signers were, by definition, offenders.
But, they so sincerely believed in the justice of their cause that they were, in fact, willing to risk their lives and fortunes in its pursuit. Witness one Nathan Hale, hanged on the morning of Sept. 22 and dead at the age of 21. Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death.” was not some clever slogan or a carriage’s equivalent of today’s bumper sticker. It resonated with a tone of commitment and finality.
These folks personified the definition of patriotism. They lived and breathed love of country. While having different opinions as to the best path to achievement, they all shared an appreciation and dedication to democratic institutions and limited government.
Their commitment to the spirit of the Declaration along with the principles defined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were underscored and promoted through an intergenerational commitment to the rule of law.
Contrast this to where we are today. The rule of law is under constant attack as are those individuals who support it. How else can illegal activities continue to be violated (as in illegal immigration) and yet the offenders and their families are positioned as the victims?
Law abiding, taxpaying citizens are the victims of illegal activities! Now many are quick to fault the Trump administration, indeed the country of Trump supporters, as xenophobic racists for their insensitivity to the plight of children caught up in the embarrassing stupidity we call our immigration policy.
Make no mistake about it, the plight of these children is nothing but a convenient political shield for the support and desire of open borders. This globalist position is enhanced by an agenda-driven media that knowingly doctors photos and slants reporting to deny reality by avoiding any cause and effect associated with “illegal.”
Not one child would be subjected to any potential “developmental damage” had their parent or guardian not violated existing American law. Yet their conscious decision to violate the law has served to demonize those executing and enforcing the law while allowing the legislating lawmakers to toss verbal hand grenades with apparent impunity.
And it doesn’t just stop with spineless lawmakers. How can any politician of any party justify not publicly condemning and repudiating the outrageous and disgustingly inflammatory remarks made by one Peter Fonda?
His call for physical attacks against President Trump’s son Barron, suggesting that he should be placed in a cage with pedophiles, should result, in my opinion, in criminal prosecution. His further suggestion that physical harm should be rendered to Secretary Nielsen simply underscores the case that this person and his hatred merits some condition of institutionalization.
He clearly is a public threat at least to these two people. And yet, I have not heard of any Second Amendment opponents calling for an investigation into his possible ownership and confiscation of any personal firearms based on his mental instability.
SONY films, set to release an upcoming film of his, while decrying his remarks, has taken no meaningful steps. I have not heard of any calls for a national boycott of SONY films. Somehow the national media apparently feel that his lame apology is sufficient. I submit to you that it is not.
Yes, certainly July 4th should be a day of celebration. But for many of us deplorables, our celebration of the past accompanies a sadness for our present condition albeit tempered with optimism. Our solace resides in a core belief that President Trump’s actions to Make America Great Again are beginning to rectify the last eight years of Progressive authoritarian tyranny.  

Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small-business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turnarounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring noted business and sports columns, and serving as vice president for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth. E-mail him at jfriddell@msn.com. The former Georgetown resident now splits his time between Tennessee and Colorado.