Independence Day #236 = 1776 - 2012!
Independence Day #236 = 1776 - 2012!
Today is truly a very significant date in our US History! Time to re-read and think about our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and to consider the invitation by Howard Schultz, Starbucks' CEO to a NATIONAL CONVERSATION in response to his assertion that AMERICA = WE THE PEOPLE of the USA need to WIN the election of November 2012. What do YOU think?
I am grateful to the Janesville Gazette for again publishing the full text of our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE as its editorial yesterday. Remember: No Gazette issue today on this holiday. IF you want to read the FULL TEXT, use this link, "Declaration of Independence" online at the US Archives in Washington, DC. That's where you can see one of the ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS!
I note that many of my students confuse the quotes from our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (1776) and our US CONSTITUION (signed 1787, ratified 1789).
Quite often, they assert that the ideals of the Declaration are stated in our US Constitution, “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 to abolish it, and to institute 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
This is the articulation of the revolutionary ideology which supported the Declaration of Independence of the colonies from Great Britain in 1776. We know that Thomas Jefferson was the key author with valuable involvement of the other members of the “Committee of Five” consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman.
If you want to review the details of the history, drafting, debate and adoption complemented by an in-depth analysis of the text of our Declaration of Independence, I suggest you read Wikipedia’s feature article, “United States Declaration of Independence.”
Have you reviewed the very significant commitment made by the signers of our Declaration Independence, “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”? Re-read that commitment! Am I willing to make that pledge of support? Are YOU?
I urge you to read the Washington Post’s Editorial published yesterday, “The Declaration of Independence’s still stirring words,” as you re-read and reflect on the meaning of our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE today. What is YOUR comment?
This morning I was alerted by an e-mail from Starbucks to the campaign designed to involve WE THE PEOPLE of the US in a NATIONAL CONVERSATION to communicate our commitment to the American dream.
Perhaps Howard Schultz, Starbucks’s CEO would agree that WE THE PEOPLE of the USA in 2012 need to make the same level of commitment to our Declaration of Independence and nation as did the signers of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 – “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.” What is OUR commitment in 2012?
I read Schultz's Open Letter, “How Can America Win This Election?” with appreciation for his campaign to enkindle a NATIONAL CONVERSATION. I signed up! Will YOU?
Let me alert you now that you could swing over TODAY – 4th of July 2012 - to your local STARBUCKS (Janesville area – there are 2: Target Store, 2017 Humes Road and 2980 Deerfield Drive) to start the NATIONAL CONVERATION over a FREE tall hot brewed coffee.
I agree with Howard Schultz’s assertions as to WHY we need this NATIONAL CONVEDRSATION. He cites his own background, “I am a product of that American Dream. As a kid who grew up in public housing, went on to get an education at a state university and build a business, I am grateful for what this country has made possible for me. In turn, at Starbucks, we have always tried our best to honor our responsibility to the communities we serve.
“And on this Fourth of July, our communities need all of us.”
He outlines concerns which need to be of concern to ALL OF US – WE THE PEOPLE of the US, “Across the country, millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this. America’s history has showed that we have accomplished extraordinary things when we act collectively, with courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit—especially during trying times.
“As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.
"Let’s tell our government leaders to put partisanship aside and to speak truthfully about the challenges we face. Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy. And as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems. We can’t wait for Washington.
“At Starbucks, we are trying to live up to our responsibility by increasing our local community service and helping to finance small-business job creation with Create Jobs for USA. Our company is far from perfect, and we know we can do more for America. But we need your help. We need your voice.
“Join the national conversation with #INDIVISIBLE. Starting today, I invite you to share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship. On Instagram, post a photo of the America we all need to see. On Twitter, provide a link to an innovative idea. Blog about who’s making a difference in your community; or on YouTube, share how you made your American Dream come true. No matter where you post, if you use the tag #indivisible, Starbucks will do its part to collect and amplify your voices.”
I AGREE! I SIGNED UP! What about YOU?
I agree with Schultz’s claim, “Together, we can set a new tone in America. We hope you agree that doing so is a powerful way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.”
And I am convinced of the desperate need he articulates as he concludes his OPEN LETTER, “In 2012, America needs to win the election more than either party does. It is time now to join together as Americans. It is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation – indivisible.” Do YOU agree?
IF you want to sign up NOW, you can scroll to the bottom of Schultz’s OPEN LETTER using this link, “An Open Letter: How Can America Win This Election?”
Happy 236th Birthday, United States of America!
Here we go…
John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.