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Friday,July 6, 2007

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

July 4th - how about
a little revolution?

I love July 4th.

I love it for the document it celebrates.

I also love it because it brings out the hypocrite in so many people, and I love jabbing hypocrites with sharp verbal sticks, although using a real stick could be fun too.

But what about July 4th could cause someone to act in a hypocritical way?

Glad you asked.

First, lets define hypocrite: Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to have beliefs, virtues and feelings that one does not truly possess.Now, how many people do you know who have actually read the Declaration?

Take a poll. I bet you find that most have not and many of those that have, have not done so in a coon’s age.

How in the world do you celebrate the contents of a document when you have never read the document or cannot remember what it says? It would be interesting to do a head count at the average Fourth of July picnic to see how many hotdog eaters never bothered reading the reason for the season.

For me, however, this is not the really fun part. Amusing, but not really fun.

The fun part is asking people what, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” really is about.

Let’s start with the title.

That lowercase “u” starting “united” is not a typo. That is how Thomas Jefferson wrote it.

Ever wonder why? You capitalize formal names, do you not?

The answer is simple - “united” was not part of the name of the group signing off on the Declaration.

They were united in their cause, but the States were declaring themselves separate, sovereign nations - separate from King George’s empire and separate from each other.

We forget that.

Or we fail to teach it in what passes for American History.

That 13 independent nations banded together to expel their British overlord and later banded together under the Constitution is an important point that seems to be glossed over on a regular basis, especially when we start talking about the so-called Civil War and the southern nations’ secession.

How do you celebrate July 4th and curse the evil South for acting on the same idea? But, even that is not my favorite part to tickle people with.

My favorite part is the first paragraph. Somehow, that first paragraph seems to really bother a lot of folks eating hotdogs and waving flags.

Here it is: 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.

Simply, but not nearly so eloquently stated - sometimes men and women have to declare their independence from their current government and form a new one that better suits them.

Now, here is a fun Fourth of July party trick: Walk up to a group of hotdog eating flag-wavers and say, “I think the united States federal government has overstepped its constitutionally granted powers, and it is time to declare our independence and form a new system of government. What do you boys think?”

Hotdog chewing will stop mid-chew.

Those words are the equivalent of venting your stomach troubles in church.

Somehow, it has become bad style to talk about revolting against your government in a country that has a whole day set aside to revere a document that simply states “people have a right to revolt against their government and start a new government that suits their needs more better.”

This is where the hypocrisy starts getting deep - because Mr. Jefferson’s words are a lot like being pregnant. You either is, or you ain’t.

Either you really do revere the ideas he wrote down, or you do not.

If you do, then canning the whole federal government and starting something else, federal or not, is not a very startling thought. It is something that free men and women can do and have a right to do.

A God-given Right, according to the Declaration.

Or, the thought of trashing our current form of government brings adjectives to mind like “treason and rebel,” and you do not smile when you think the words.

If that is the case, you probably need to find something to do on the Fourth of July other than celebrate - because the document being celebrated did not found a nation - it stated a God-given right to tell your government to take a hike.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise. He can be emailed at:

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