Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Tomorrow is Independence Day. I hope we can come together and celebrate as one nation, as Americans, but I fear there are too many forces working to undermine that concept. We have a former president still claiming that the election results were not legitimate, disrupting the peaceful transition of presidents on which America was built. Unfortunately, about a third of our fellow Americans still believe him, despite a complete lack of evidence, and worse, proof that it is nothing, but a lie designed to shatter this nation. Republicans who have at least seen through his lies are still aligning themselves with a party that, although it is beginning to fracture under the strain, has still aligned itself with this toxic wanna-be dictator.
America was, indeed, built on the concept of peaceful transition of power that follows the will of the people. The Constitution is literally written to allow for peaceful revolution and overthrow of unpopular leaders. Europeans fled to escape religious persecution, laying the foundations of the country. In a time when kings and queens were strongly aligned with churches, it was not uncommon to arrest or murder anybody who doesn’t follow the official religion of the realm. This might have been slightly less than all-out theocracies, but it wasn’t far from it either. This history led our founding fathers to fight for a nation that was separate from any specific religion, including Christianity. After years of living under an oppressive British dictator, who collected taxes but failed to allow appropriate representation of those from the colonies in the governance of the kingdom, they finally lashed out, writing in the Declaration of Independence, “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.” It does NOT say by Christ, or the Catholic Church; it simply refers to a non-denominational Creator. Neither does it say Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for some, for the wealthy or even for the white Christians.
This nation was built on the strength of diversity. I support the Black Lives Matter movement because I know that, as Americans, if the rights of one of us is abused, then the rights of all of us are abused. I support the LGBTQ+ movement because I believe that all of us deserve to pursue happiness as our Founding Fathers meant. I support people of all faiths, including the right to have no faith at all, because I know that our nation was developed by those pioneers seeking to get out from under religious persecution, and, no, that was not oppression of Christians, but oppression of the Quakers and similar faiths.
Of course, the Declaration of Independence is not the document on which our government is founded. That, of course, would be the US Constitution which opens with, “WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, 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.” This does not say to promote the aristocracy, but to promote the “general Welfare.” Although it is not a socialistic constitution (in the communist definition), it does very clearly state the importance of promoting the general Welfare of the people. Yes, sometimes that means social programs such as roads, hospitals, and fire departments (yes, these are all social programs). This opening statement calls for “domestic tranquility”, which is antithetical to storming the Capitol and calling for the murder of the elected representatives. Anybody who participated in, cheered for, and refused to denounce the actions of these insurrectionists are, in my mind, not truly Americans.
The Confederacy failed. It’s time to let the Civil War be in our history. It’s time to let the lies of a stolen election go. It’s time to stop allowing Russia and other nations influence our elections, and to stand up as a nation against such interference whether it be from other nations or internal insurrectionists.
No doubt there will be those who read this and will be upset with me. That’s fine, I’m upset as well (which I’m sure you have figured out). Tomorrow is our Independence Day, and I’m tired of the assault on my Constitution, on the Democracy of my Nation, on my Flag. You cannot claim to be pro-Police and murder them in our Capitol. You cannot claim to be pro-Democracy and try to overthrow legally elected officials. You cannot claim to be American and call for Her overthrow.