Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano was in Brussels in January, 2010, on a week long worldwide trip on security; discussing better ways to investigate and enforce new laws and regulations governing the use of chemicals and everyday solvents in the United States.
Someone should inform Ms. Napolitano, that our country, and its foundations in freedom of thought and liberty, is not a nation that has as its core a set of laws based in fear.
In 1776, our founder fathers had a vision of what America should be, and defined it in a document known as the Declaration of Independence, and then again in 1787 set it down in a set of concrete rules of governance, to define what is was, which came to be known as The Constitution. The documents are unique for a variety of reasons both what is parallel about both documents, and the mindset of the men that wrote them, is that it limited what government can do, or has the right to to do.
One of the most startling phrases for the Declaration is the following:
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.
What is startling about this, is the functional point that ALL men were created equal, and in stating that in a legal document, it became a resounding rebuke to those who believed that monarchical rule was only functional possibility for a form of government. It viewed that no person (men) were superior to another, either by birth, heritage or education or background.
This was further emphasized in the Constitution by spelling out limited and specific guidelines on how a government was run. It based its legal authority not in a divine right of kings, but inherent in every man as being equal.
The authorship of such documents was, of course, revolutionary (pardon the pun) not only from an historical point of view, but also from a philosophical one. Christianity had always had this fundamental value at its roots, but never before had a secular document established it as a form of government. As a result, the men that authored the document, and its signers, were marked for death by the Crown of England as revolutionaries and rebels. Most of the signers of the document came to bad ends as a result.
Of the 56 signers of the document; although 22 were lawyers by trade, 14 were simple farmers who were landowners in the vicinity. Many of the lawyers were disbarred from English courts as a result, and five of the signers were captured by the English and either hung or died in prisons.
Colonel Thomas McKean of Delaware wrote to John Adams that he was:
“hunted like a fox by the enemy – compelled to remove my family five times in a few months, and at last fixed them in a little log house on the banks of the Susquehanna . . . and they were soon obliged to move again on account of the incursions of the Indians.”
Abraham Clark of New Jersey had two of his sons captured by the British during the war. The son of John Witherspoon, a major in the New Jersey Brigade, was killed at the Battle of Germantown. Eleven signers had their homes and property destroyed. Francis Lewis’s New York home was destroyed and his wife was taken prisoner. John Hart’s farm and mills were destroyed when the British invaded New Jersey and he died while fleeing capture. Carter Braxton and Thomas Nelson (both of Virginia) lent large sums of their personal fortunes to support the war effort, but were never repaid.
The reason I go into such detail is that I want to take the time to point out that not one of these men renounced what they had done; all knew the risks of what they did, and despite that knowledge forged ahead with the action. Even faced with the prospect of execution and imprisonment, and their families the same, there is never any evidence that a single signer or author of our founding government ever turned their back on their actions.
They were not afraid, is my central point. They knew that the consequences of freedom (which was often death or worse), far outweighed the spectre of a loss of freedom.
So this week when Janet Napolitano, under orders from the President, pressed forward with the agenda of more oversight, and more ‘protections’ from terrorists at the expense of our freedoms, I cringed a little bit inside. America cannot be run, nor was it founded, upon cowardice in face of protecting our liberty. By using the power of government to deny individual liberty in the face of violence or danger, we are doing exactly the opposite of what our Founding Fathers intended for our country. The risks to the signers were far greater than the risks we face today from a potential terror attack, yet we so willingly sign up to have our bodies searched, our livelihoods impinged by government regulation and oversight, and have the envelope of our legal rights pushed to their limits.
Our government daily looks for ways to bend the law just a little more for our “protection”, while our ancestors looked for ways to expand them.
Americans must stand up and take note of this, and must put a stop to the expansion of government, and the abuse of our rights and freedoms by the Department of Homeland Security. Does this mean, there might be some possible to risk to safety? It’s entirely possible.
But as the framers and signers of founding government leaders were fearless in defense of liberty, so should Americans today should be.
Napolitano: Threat in Everyday Chemicals (foxnews.com) “Homeland Security And TSA: Fear, Paranoia At A Walmart (newsjunkiepost.com) The U.S. Constitution: The Source of ALL Authority (dakotavoice.com) Where do our rights come from? (3quarksdaily.com)