Newsletter July 2011 – The Day Independence was Declared

Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas
U.S. Citizenship and the Oath of Allegiance This July 4th
The Bill of Rights, the First 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution
The Faces of US Immigrants: The Founding Fathers
Recipes From The Melting Pot: The Hamburger, An American July 4th Staple

The Day Independence was Declared

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” This is how the Declaration of Independence starts, penned by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776. I have always wondered how many U.S. Citizens ever read this wonderful document that declared our independence from Britain.

Jefferson continues, “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.” In our current political environment, I think that our politicians have forgotten that our Founding Fathers risked death in order to create this union, this United States of America. Some have used the Boston Tea Party of 1773 as a symbolic reason to “take our country back.” This simplified version of what happened in Boston is just a thin veil to hide the prejudices of the Tea Party, a group that wants to deny rights to other groups. This is the same group that is trying and succeeding in eliminating workers’ rights, such as in Wisconsin, a woman’s right of choose, creating anti-immigration legislation, such as in Arizona, and most recently, bringing our frail, economic health on the brink of disaster by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

This is a group that is taking advantage of the fear and anger that exists today within ourselves, as we try to make ends meet, as we try to look for scarce jobs, as we try to comfort our children during difficult times. It is time for the majority to rise up and imprint the words of our Founding Fathers in the minds of our elected officials… “that [we] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And if they do not listen, that use the power of the voting booth to elect someone that does. Register to vote and if you are eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship, then apply and you will probably be eligible to vote by 2012.

At the end of the day, it is all about attitude and commitment, and how we want our children, our neighbors, and society to see us. Abraham Lincoln once said: “We can complain that rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice that thorn bushes have roses.”

We have had so many wonderful women and men that have paved our way to where we are today, let’s continue to build upon the great works of those before us by leaving something better for the next generation.

Happy 235th Birthday, America!

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