Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

All or Some?

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“The Declaration of Independence…[is the]declaratory charter of our rights, and of therights of man.”

                                         — Thomas Jefferson, 1819

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men 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.

                                                           – Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Let us all remember that every man is equal and that the Declaration of Independence was written with that purpose in mind.  This second paragraph lays charge to us all.

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. 

Most people appeal to the first sentence of that paragraph, committing it to memory. But if all men are “created” equal and endowed with the unenalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then it would do us well to commit the last sentence of that paragraph to memory as well.  Would we rather remain in our suffering than to change the traditions to which we are accustomed? The Declaration says all, not some, of mankind is equal. Lest we’ve forgotten what all means:

Definition of ALL

1.
a : the whole number, quantity, or amount : totality <all that I have> <all of us> <all of the books> b —used in such phrases as for all I know, for all I care, and for all the good it does to indicate a lack of knowledge, interest, or effectiveness
2.
: everybody, everything <gave equal attention to all> <that is all>

all in all

: on the whole : generally <all in all, things might have been worse>
and all

: and everything else especially of a kind suggested by a previous context <cards to fill out with … numbers and all — Sally Quinn>

There are no disclaimers, no exceptions to that basic of human rights.  On this Independence Day remember that regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age or status it is your right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  And it is up to us to change the traditions to which we are accustomed when they fail.

Happy Independence Day!

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5 thoughts on “All or Some?

  1. Happy Independence Day!Applying the values of the European Enlightenment to government was a pretty good idea the Founders had. I think those values are under assault today, and that it is up to us to decide whether we wish to fight to keep them.I like how well written your post is.

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  2. In a time when civil liberties are eroding and certain groups (i.e., LGBTs) do not have full equality in our country, this is a timely message.

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  3. I wish for the freedom of both religious and nonreligious and christian and nonchristian and that vegan and nonvegan and that we will start working together again realizing we are Americans. We are about that right to be free. Now I am not saying we are all correct, but its not governments job to play God anymore than it was the popes or King George's.

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  4. Its not "government help us" . . . its we the people!! Its not my group dominance vs your group dominance . .. its freedom from Tyrany . . period!!

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  5. @Paul Sunstone,Christians would have us believe that their rights are under assault, that this was intended to be a Christian nation, and that we should be making laws that fit Judeo-Christan values. The Founding Fathers had other ideas, though. They sought true freedom and equality.@Ahab,It's sad that the system our Founding Fathers created whereby individual liberties were protected for fear of being overrun by the majority, our country has gone in the direction of majority rules. You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness so long as it fits the majority's idea of what that looks like.@mike,"its not governments job to play God anymore than it was the popes or King George's."I like that! That's exactly what I was getting at.

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