Monday, July 3, 2017


The Fourth of July is a celebration of our nationhood, commemorating the passage of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence adopted by the Second Continental Congress announced to the world that the thirteen colonies, already at war for over a year with England, regarded themselves as independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule.  These thirteen colonies formed a new nation—the United States of America.  Thomas Jefferson wrote the original draft of the Declaration, and it is important that we know what the document proclaims.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (all people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  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.—…”

The underlying theme of the document is revolutionary—“all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and thus “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish…”  Later, these ideas would be expressed in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Preeminent among these ideas is the right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction or censorship.  Such restriction includes any attempts by the government or leaders of government to decide, announce, or disparage what is real news and what is fake news.  Both real and fake news are a fundamental right of a free press and a free people.  A free people must be able to think clearly on their own and decide for themselves.  This is fundamental!

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