And so it was
The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 individuals who were willing to risk everything for the future of what would become the United States of America. Interestingly, it is not hard to find some real horror stories about how treasonous actions led to abuse, but how much is history and how much is folklore? I believe you must be quite naÃØve if you don't understand that it had to be unbelievably painful to be living in that time and hold the vision of a free nation but never really be able to enjoy it. After a great deal of Internet research, I believe www.Snopes.com may have the best explanation as to what really happened to the men who were willing to die to create the new nation.
Take, for example, this letter written by Carter Braxton on April 14, 1776 to Landon Carter:
Independency and total seperation from Great Britain are the interesting Subjects of all ranks of men and often agitate our Body. It is in truth a deluvise Bait which men inconsiderately catch at, without knowing the hook to which it is affixed. It is an Object to be wished for by every American, when it can be obtained with Safety and Honor. That this is not the moment, I will prove by Arguments that to me are decisive, and which exist with certainty.
I read this as one of our founding fathers indicating that, yes, independence would be a great idea but there is a huge price to pay. No doubt there was a huge price to pay and there is absolutely no way for us to have even a 10 percent grasp of what it must have been like. I don't believe anyone could argue that history, on far too many occasions, is viewed through rose-colored glasses. So no matter what level of personal attacks our founding fathers endured, let's agree that it was unlike anything we will ever encounter in our lifetime.
Unless, of course, we get fed up with the position that we have allowed ourselves to be put in currently--kind of like a cow in a catch pen. You know the story. If you want to catch the wild cow, you simply start feeding her and the more she becomes reliant upon you for food, the less attentive she is to the environment she is in. Before long, the gate is shut and you have her. Are we any different?
The Tax Foundation has once again published the Tax Freedom Day information and indicates that the average citizen will pay 28.2 percent of his or her income to the government to cover our tax burden. I might remind you that even in what was considered a high food cost year (2008), only 10 percent of our income was spent on food. Nearly one in three dollars is going to run our government. At what point do we say, "Wait a minute. We have become exactly what our founding fathers freed us from?"
In fact, the Tax Foundation says in 2009, April 13 was considered Tax Freedom Day but that counts every single day of the week. If you count only the 20 workdays each month, Independence Day is actually two-fold. It is the day we celebrate not only our freedom from tyranny and taxation without representation but also that our tax bill is finally paid for the year. Can any of us honestly say that this is what our founding fathers had in mind? I seriously doubt it.
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 abolish it, and to institute a 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.
I stand corrected. Not all of history apparently is viewed through rose-colored glasses, as this paragraph in The Declaration of Independence is pretty forthright and worthy of being read as a reminder of where we have been, where we've come and where we need to head!
Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or e-mail Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.