In my family for many years we have a group reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth. Our now adult kids enjoy it, as they did when they were children, and so do Mom and Dad. Each year I am struck by a timeless quality of the words.
“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. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Mr. Jefferson was not just writing to the Americans alive in 1776, but to all Americans for all time to come. His words are not meant to be locked away in unread books, or to be venerated as sacred text, but rather to be thought about and debated. We Americans have a wonderful heritage, but it does us no good if we know little about it and give little thought to it. This Independence Day read the Declaration please, even if you have read it many times before, and think about the meaning of the words.