Dr, Surajit Khanna’s 4th of July Message to America
What is the significance of the Declaration of Independence? I want to provide some background to the national holiday called Independence Day, known simply as “The 4th of July“. I want to do this by discussing three important documents that every child in the country should be familiar with: the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
I would like to take you back to 1620 with the settlers from England, adults and children, who were seeking religious freedom. They arrived to what was to become the United State of America. They decided, on the Mayflower, BEFORE they left the ship, to write a document and form a government. What is extraordinary about this “Mayflower Document” is that was the first time in human recorded history that a group of people formed a government that would be ruled by the people, not by a dictator, or a council or any group. The compact explicitly:
1. Expressed the importance of Self-Government
2. Established the freedom of religion
3. Created the first Judiciary on the continent
4. Established the right to vote
Robert Winthrop said. “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them;…”
The more people that self-govern themselves, the less is the need for Government to force people to obey the established laws. It Eliminates the need for a police state.
This was the framework that greatly influenced the Declaration of Independence. But what did the Declaration establish? By the time we finish elementary school most children can tell you who wrote the Declaration of Independence, but what they don’t know is why it is so significant:
The Declaration told the colonists they were entitled to things and that England did not believe, that everybody was created equal, that they have the right to be happy or that they had the right for religious freedom. We Americans have the right to pursue happiness and to raise our children in peace. This is what made our country so strong.
The Declaration also plays a significant role in our world today. It is because of the words in that document that women are now treated the same as men and that all races are treated equally, by law. That is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for.
Without the words in the Declaration, the civil rights that have been passed might never have come to light. Yes, it took time, but it was the Declaration that spurred Americans to risk their lives and fight for the freedom of the slaves; and to grant women the right to vote. That is why the Declaration of Independence is so significant to everyone. Most children have not heard this part of the second paragraph :
“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; ”
This means that those in government ONLY receive their “just” powers from the people they serve. When the government is ruled by just rulers who were elected by a just people, children then live in a free, peaceful, and powerful nation.
The Declaration of Independence launched this country into the Revolutionary War when over led to the writing of the Constitution. Slavery was deemed to be unjust.
“When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
That is why the Constitution places the burden on the people to elect people who will not oppress them.
Now this country is in the midst of a micro-civil war that I pray does not escalate. Children become afraid when they see the violence in news and many are afraid of the police. We all must acknowledge that Black Lives Matter. That Black Men and Women are Endowed by their creator with the right to Life, Liberty, and the pursue of happiness.” That is what makes America Great.
We also acknowledge, however, that there are inherent prejudices and injustices in today’s system, but does not justify the general unrest and lawlessness we are experiencing. We must rejoice that this country allows us to protest and that protesters are not rounded up like they are in other countries; but we must understand that there are powers at play that want to erase our form of Government and replace it with anarchy, which is the absence of any known Government.
We can learn lessons from what happen in Venezuela, first the torn down statues, then renames streets, instituted “reeducation” in their schools by changing history and providing a false narrative of the past to children, they then restricted certain books and movies and so on. This is the elimination of Free Speech, the very first amendment to the Constitution. We must see there are forces are at work to rewrite history, to restrict free speech, to limit what can be said in Social Media. This is not freedom, this is not independence, this is not free speech.
Read the Declaration of Independence to you children and help them to live the words quoted above, that you have been granted freedom to be independent within this form of government and protest peacefully. This document did not define independence in terms of a person or group of people to re-define what is just or what independence means to them.
We must leave a legacy for the children of today so this powerful and just country will bring up the next proud and just generation.
Thank you and Happy Birthday America!