Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Price of Freedom

This past weekend I was doing a little channel surfing and came across the movie National Treasure. It was towards the beginning--the scene in the ice encrusted ship; the scene where they determine that they need to look at the back of the Declaration of Independence.

I watched it for a while but I had too much to do to sit for a couple of hours. However, I got to thinking about the Declaration of Independence, the men that signed it, and the principles for which they stood and for which it still stands.

There is a line that I think we should review as Americans from time to time. It's the last sentence before the fifty-six men sign their names and make their Declaration against the King of England.

It reads:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

When I read that today, I can't help but wonder if we remain as committed to our country as our forefathers were. Would we pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to preserve our country and our freedoms for future generations?

You don't have to look very far to see that there are many men and women that take up arms and stand ready to defend our nation, our citizens, and our principles by risking their lives in our Armed Forces. And while there may be many that don't necessarily support all of the country's military actions, you'd be hard pressed to find an American that doesn't cherish the freedoms that these men and women stand guard over. For the most part, our soldiers and sailors have the respect of masses and are applauded for their service at every opportunity. My sincere apologies for the few that use their Freedom of Speech to deride our military forces when ever they get the chance.

It's the second thing that really gets me thinking.

"...our Fortunes..."

Today we are a nation that is in great debt.

According to Forbes magazine, there are 403 billionaires, with a collective net worth of $1.3 trillion dollars, living in the United States. (422 according to aneki.com. 66 billionaires living in China...2nd most)

Our 4,715,000 millionaires is nearly 4 times second place Japan's 1,230,000.

We are the nation with highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product). At $14.6 trillion we are nearly twice second place China's $7.8 trillion.

The National Debt clock shows our debt at a staggering $13.45 trillion -- $43,000 per citizen!

When you stop and think of the billions of borrowed dollars that our government has promised in corporate bailouts, it's enough to make you sick. Instead of our citizens pledging our fortunes to secure our country, our country is borrowing fortunes to bailout mismanaged corporations and CEO's are continuing to get wealthy.

In an political climate that is still screaming "tax cuts", one has to wonder what would the men that gave everything have to say about those that have used the system to secure personal wealth but forgotten the country that provided that freedom.

Don't misunderstand me, I don't think that we should penalize those that have made their fortunes in our free enterprise system. But recognizing our need and realizing their ability, I don't think that this is the time for extending tax breaks for the wealthiest. I think that it's time for taxpayers at every income level to recognize that we are burdening future generations with the debt of our irresponsibility. It's time for us to quit figuring out how to pay less in taxes and to start figuring out how we're going to reduce our debt.

If it was your household budget that was in trouble, you would begin by finding where you could reduce spending. As citizens of this country (and voters) we need to begin by getting the irresponsible spenders out of Washington. Fire them! Vote them out. I don't care what party they belong to, if they have spent our money recklessly, get rid of them.

There has been much written about the fates of those that signed the Declaration--some of it true, some not. To get the real story, go here. The reality of the Revolutionary War is that many gave their lives, fortunes and honor to pay for the freedoms that we enjoy today. The Declaration of Independence lists many reasons why the colonists wanted freedom England. Taxation without representation was only one of the many reasons that was listed. That, and all of the many other injustices were corrected when we were able to set up our own government-- the Great American Experiment. The representative form of government has suited us well until it has been hijacked by high paid lobbyists and easily corrupted representatives--both have exchanged honor for money and power.

The time has come for our representatives to set aside party agendas and fix our broken economy. The time has come for each of them (and us) to pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to securing a free country for our kids, grandkids and generations beyond.

Midterm elections are only a few weeks away. I honestly don't know if any of the candidates would meet the Revolutionary requirement of even having honor to pledge to our country. The Congressman that has represented my district for years and is running for the Senate was named in 2005 as one of the most corrupt Congressmen in Washington. How's that for honor?

Along with many other Congressmen and Senators, he pays off contributors with favors of contracts, jobs, appropriations, legislation, etc. This has to stop. Unfortunately it's the people that are corrupted by lobbyists that are tasked to make the laws to police them--the foxes are guarding the hen house! It's time for us to hold them accountable, look at their voting records and hold them accountable--every time, every vote.

I realize that this has been quite a rant--I didn't really plan on that. I guess you could say that my ire is up!

I feel better. Now it's your turn...comments, anyone?



Sicilian said...

John . . . . as I sit in the hotel in NYC business center . . . . have my muffin and tea. . . . I am reflecting on your rant. . . . I visited the Satue of Liberty and Ellis Island. . . . . Give me your poor. . . your huddled masses . . . yearning to breathe free. . . those words rang through my head. . . . . it was sobering for me. . . .to see the pictures. . . . read the stories. . . and re-live my father's experience . . . . I came to realize that we are very blessed. . . . We need to regroup as a nation. . . . . rethink . . . . and remember. . . . we are a great nation because of our forefathers. . . . they were brilliant when they wrote the Decleration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. . . . where would we be without their hard work. Thanks for the wake up call.

Mike said...

I got side tracked. I thought I left a comment. What I wound up doing was sending some links about Blunt to a bunch of people.