On this July 4th, there will be no shortage of references to freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. . Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The founders called these truths self-evident, but are they really?
The definition of self-evident is that which requires no proof or explanation. At Freedom Fests across America, speakers will speak on the meaning of these truths and how it has been trampled upon by recent decisions of the Supreme Court and current proposals before Congress.
You need not think for yourself. Speakers will tell you what the founders meant. Red warning flags should immediately unfurl in its full glory when confronted by those who presume to have more answers than questions and preach their convictions with fire and brimstone.
On this Independence Day, many will recite these self-evident truths and probably subscribe to the perversion of its meaning without once thinking for themselves what the founders meant and what it means in context of today versus the economic, social and justice issues of the 18th century.
In researching that question, I came across a fabulous document entitled "Dialogues in Democracy: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the 21st Century."It is a short, seven-page document. This and the "By the People" project video pbs.org/newshour/btp/projects/did.html) afford you the ability to make your own decisions.
After all, one person's freedom can be another's oppression. One person's liberty can be another's captivity, one person's life can be another's death and one person's happiness can be another's misery.
Last week the Supreme Court decided on three important issues: DOMA (Defense of Marriage), Prop 8 (California same-sex right to marriage) and the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
DOMA was introduced by Republicans in 1996, allowing states to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.
This allowed DOMA states to deny any benefits to spouses of same-sex marriages allowed by federal law. For instance, same-sex partners cannot inherit the property of their partners tax-free like mixed-sex marriages.
Other rights denied relate to federal benefits like Social Security, housing, food stamps, health care, pensions, education loans, and much more.
In the military, same-sex spouses are denied access to military bases, health benefits, legal counsel and housing allowances. It's funny. They are allowed to sacrifice their lives, but their spouses are not allowed to enjoy the benefits associated with their sacrifice. The word defense in DOMA intimates marriage is under attack. How? They are concerned that it harms children and will lead to divorces.
In a perverse way, they feel this affects their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. To protect themselves from this unproven and intangible outcome, they want to tangibly, as listed above, deny life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to others.
The "no-standing" ruling by the Supreme Court on Prop 8 effectively legalized gay marriage in California. Opponents of the ruling vow to continue the fight the same way they have attempted to roll back Obamacare for the 37th time. Where is the Declaration of Independence that says you have to deny the inalienable rights of others to preserve those rights for yourself? The most egregious violation of section 2 of the Declaration of Independence is when the Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This is the formula by which states must abide to change their voter eligibs.
The 1964 VRA came about as a result of voter eligibility rules states have arbitrarily set to disqualify mostly black and minority voters. By invalidating section 4 formulas of VRA, and requiring that Congress design a new formula, the Supreme Court engaged in judicial activism, making it legal to suppress the votes of minorities and young Americans. Now red states can re-engage in the 2011 voter suppression tactics which were denied them by the courts then.
Some examples are limiting voting hours, reducing the number of voting machines in districts predominantly democratic, eliminating weekend voting, reduce early voting periods, and imposing ID laws where college IDs are not valid, but expired gun license IDs are. You ask why college IDs? That's because most college-educated vote Democratic. If you can't win the game, take the opponents out of the game.
The politics of exclusion, division, hate, intolerance, bigotry, mob rule and perversion of the Constitution and states' rights is not the path to the founders' vision of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for 'all.'