The Declaration of Independence became the basis of the US Constitution, and enshrined the radical notions of equality, liberty, self-government, individual rights, and lawful power. Government itself is based on the concept of a social contract, which protects people from theft, murder, and other ill acts. Unfortunately today, the government has amassed the power to become that which it is meant to protect against.
In the time before our country’s founding, a group of people who opposed the new idea of a federation argued that its power would be too strong, and would threaten the self-governance of states and the liberty of the people. A leader of the Anti-Federalists, Patrick Henry, was most famous for yelling “Give me liberty or give me death,” during the 2nd Virginia Convention. He believed that the seat of the President would one day transform into the seat of a Monarchy. The Bill of Rights was offered as appeasement for people like Henry to accept a Federalism.
In response to the worries of many, Federalists like Hamilton and Madison argued in favor of the federation. They promised that the government would be the greatest guarantor of civil rights, and would protect all American life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Madison specifically argued that the power of the federal government could never eclipse that of the combined number of armed citizens and states, but today that is no longer the reality. The federal government has decided to pay states that implement its policies and withhold pay to all who oppose their dictates, which is in effect a sanctions and divestment campaign against liberty itself.
We live in a realm of uncertainty. Strong claims to the contrary require strong evidence. It is natural to be afraid, but do not be ruled by fear or use it as justification for doing unwarranted harm to others. We all value life, liberty, and justice for everyone, when we aren’t forced to act in desperation. When the government becomes a tool of oppression, rather than a vehicle for protection of life and liberty, it becomes the responsibility of all to protect themselves and each other, and to resist tyranny in all of its forms. Totalitarianism in any shape or size is not American, and has no place in America. So remember that this July 4th, and boldly live your life, because nobody can live it for you.