Are those who sing our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” and those who enjoy the huge fireworks displayed over our entire nation every July 4 really aware of the significance of this historic holiday?
Some years ago in Madison, Wis., a Capitol Times reporter took a petition door to door asking people to sign it. The petition, he said, would be sent to the president and Congress to make it into law. The petition read:
“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 to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or 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.”
Not one person would sign this petition. Some said the reporter had such nerve asking people to sign a “Communist petition.” Others threatened to call the police if he continued to ask others to sign it.
Today, most Americans have no idea that the Declaration of Independence was the beacon of light that kindled the flame of the French Revolution and was also the basis for the constitution of Vietnam after the Vietnamese people defeated the American military aggression.
Our government today has violated every iota of freedom and justice that was laid down in the Declaration of Independence. The Bush administration’s actions rival the persecution that King George perpetrated against the American colonists. The British government attacked all who opposed its domination. King George III murdered over 1,200 colonists by locking them up in quarters without food, water or proper air.
The Bush administration and other American administrations have likewise been guilty of invading many countries, pillaging their lands and murdering their people. Those who control the means of production, the press and the laws in our country have violated the Declaration of Independence and the entire promise of the American Revolution.
Our government has spent billions of our tax money slaughtering thousands of Iraqis and violating the rights of countries who wish to be sovereign. The United States has military bases in over 250 countries. The U.S. has blockaded Cuba for almost 50 years, spending millions of dollars trying to create havoc among the Cuban people. Our country has framed five Cubans who were fighting terrorism, and jailed them with outrageous sentences. Our government has released a terrorist who bombed a Cuban plane, killing all 73 of its occupants.
From the beginning, the U.S. government was guilty of perpetrating slavery of African Americans, wiping out Native Americans tribes and stealing their lands. Some people call the Civil War the Second American Revolution, since it abolished slavery on U.S. soil.
The U.S. government has been hypocritical in ignoring our country’s Declaration of Independence and its principles of peace and justice.
Bush’s “democracy” is the antithesis of free thought, justice and security.
We, the people, must take back America, elect honest and forthright legislators and clean the slate of the misdeeds carried out by our government in violation of the essence of the Declaration of Independence. It is time now for our halls of education, at an early grade, to begin teaching what the July 4 holiday really means. Once the American people learn what the American Revolution stands for, they can fight for its implementation.
John Gilman, World War II veteran and peace and justice activist, livies in Milwaukee, Wis.