Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

July 4th--our national holiday marking the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We all should take some time and read that document and our constitution.

Realizing as we read both our founders were trying to implement this new idea of a modern liberal democratic state where citizens were free and had rights. Citizens were "rational" male, property owners, over the age of majority--slaves were counted as 4/5th a person and white women were counted as full persons for representation purposes only.

We have expanded the enfranchisement of citizenship--all the rights and responsibilities afforded to citizens --3 times over the course of our history--to include black men, women and to give 18-21 year olds the right to vote.

But that does not mean that everyone is equal, or even treated as equal--we have public policies that impinge and entrench people in a second-class citizenship because they do not hit all the markers of our hegemonic norm; white, male, property-owning, Christian, heterosexual.

Plus, we have traded much of our constitution away for so-called "national security" --The U.S. Patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act . . .

Today, we need to reflect on all of this and what this liberal democratic republic means--not just for ourselves but for the entire nation.

In my humble opinion if we want a productive citizenry we need to be educating them to be critical thinkers able to problem solve; we need a healthy citizenry able to go to work to be productive; we need to respect the rights and needs of citizens over the rights and needs of corporations; we all need to earn living wages so we can live and save to achieve the American Dream . . . Unfortunately, we have been living with an administration--all 3 federal branches-- regime that has implemented the Leave No Child Behind Act, that could hardly increase the minimum wage, yet pays themselves handsomely (though not as handsomely as corporate CEOs); and one that rewards corporations and punishes individuals.

We, the citizens, need to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable and responsible. We need to take back the spirit of our founding documents and act on them. We need to be true patriots and reclaim our country!

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