This weekend, millions of Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July.
The big question, however, is what percentage of these millions will be giving the proper degree of attention and thought to what the Fourth actually celebrates — the unanimous approval by members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, to adopt the Declaration of Independence — and what this has meant to this country and its citizens.
This action eventually triggered a call for a new form of government with those invited to participate in a convention for the “sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” The convention opened on May 14, 1787. Delegates voted to discard the articles and draw up a new constitution that went into effect on March 4, 1789.
The preamble of the U.S. Constitution states:
“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Noble thoughts followed by seven articles outlining the new democratic government. Ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, were adopted in 1791. Seventeen additional amendments were adopted between 1795 and the most recent amendment ratified in 1992.
All of these documents, from the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Constitution and the subsequent amendments, combine to authorize more freedoms and more rights for U.S. citizens than those living in any other country enjoy.
This is what the Fourth of July means to the United States and its more than 300 million citizens.
Chances are, those who labored to draft the Declaration of Independence, as well as the U.S. Constitution, would be shocked to see the degree of encroachment our government has made into the “rules,” freedoms and limits imposed on or granted to citizens and the government.
First, there are those who don’t think they have to follow the wording of the Constitution. They say the Constitution is an old, nice-sounding document but it is out of date and irrelevant to today’s society. This has been a central matter of debate on the nomination and approval of individuals to serve as justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, this country has far too many judges who think their role is to interpret the Constitution or make the law rather than follow the law.
This runs counter to what those who drafted the Constitution had in mind, but growing numbers in our society, as well as too many judges, want to create their own rules.
Just as those involved in putting the Constitution together would be shocked by the manner in which the document has been watered down or interpreted, they also would be shocked by the manner in which current President Obama has taken it upon himself to try to take control of this country.
He has exercised executive powers, paid no attention to the wishes of the majority of Americans, created various “czars,” taken control of major industries, financial institutions, health care and education and placed this country and its citizens in the highest debt in the nation’s history. And he isn’t done yet.
The calls for massive legislation outlined in thousands of pages of legal mumbo-jumbo that our lawmakers approved even though they acknowledge they have not read what the laws call for. One current Democratic leader acknowledged “we” really won’t know what a new law calls for, or the consequences of the new law, until it is enacted and we have to live with it.
And she got by with this explanation. The current administration thinks it can do or try to do whatever it wishes — whatever the eventual consequences. It appears all they care about is getting re-elected and they are using government payouts to try to win votes and popularity.
Little attention is given to the damages and sure-to-come personal sacrifices imposed by the national debt. That is for someone else to solve, not the current officeholders who sought election for the purpose of “fundamentally” changing this country.
This is not what those who put together the Constitution and those who approved the document had in mind.
It is frightening to consider how many original “freedoms” have been weakened or changed and how many limitations imposed on actions of the government have been ignored or abandoned.
On this Fourth of July weekend, Americans might spend at least a minute or two and wonder about the future and what freedoms their children and grandchildren may have 25 or 50 years from now, the power of future presidents, the ability of Supreme Court justices and other judges to make law rather than obey and follow the U.S. Constitution, and what position in the world of nations the United States may occupy.
Just because this nation has enjoyed a proud and distinguished record over the past 234 years is no guarantee it will continue for the next “X” number of years.
The celebration of the Fourth of July is more than just having a hot dog, fireworks, parades and family reunions. There’s a lot riding on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution even though many in today’s society consider these documents out of date and not applicable in today’s world.