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America’s Ability to Overcome Abuse

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The history of America is one of overcoming abuse. Our nation began with a legal document, the Declaration of Independence, listing a “train of abuses,” which violated the colonists’ God-given rights and required them to found a new nation.

Whether it was during the Revolutionary War by defeating the lawless power exercised by the King and Parliament, or the Civil War ultimately correcting the abuse inherent in African American slavery, or the Women’s Suffrage Movement righting the wrong of keeping women as second class citizens, or World War II facing down fascist regimes intent on subjugating the world, America has consistently overcome tyranny and the abuse of power. Once again, there is a need to stand up for liberty and the rule of law.

One of America’s most fundamental beliefs, which Thomas Paine articulates so well in Common Sense (published January 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence) is that we are a government of laws, grounded in God-given rights, and not of men. Paine writes, “But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve as monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.”

The United States followed Paine’s counsel and brought forth a founding charter, the Declaration of Independence, and a day was solemnly set apart for proclaiming it, the Fourth of July. The Declaration identified certain God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and laid out in the plainest of terms the list of abuses by the King and the Parliament. They included in addition to overt violent acts of war, imposing taxes on the colonies without their consent (a violation of one of the most basic tenets of being an English citizen), taking away the protections guaranteed in the colonies founding Charters, and perhaps most incredulous of all “declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.” Clearly the British government had taken upon itself authority it did not have.

The Tea Party rose up in 2009 as a response to government authority run amuck. Americans realized then, as now, their most basic rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness were being jeopardized by the reckless actions of the federal government. When Barack Obama and the Democratic majority set about to “fundamentally transform America,” they did so in one clearly measurable way: tripling the previous record deficit to $1.5 trillion. The National Debt will rise over $6 trillion dollars during Obama’s four years in office. During the entire history of the nation, the accumulated Debt prior his Presidency was only $9.98 trillion. Then came Obamacare with the takeover of one-sixth of the nation’s economy with vast new government agencies and bureaus, and yet another multi-trillion dollar entitlement program, which the United States can in no way afford.

While the above lack common sense (and threaten the economic stability of America), other actions under this Administration have been truly lawless. Some include the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious Mexican drug cartel gun running scheme and cover-up and the President’s refusal to enforce immigration laws, as well as actively preventing Arizona from addressing border security. This meant that citizens’ lives and property are being put at risk for the sake of the President’s political agenda. The Obama administration also completely disregarded the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans by mandating that faith-based institutions provide medical services that end pregnancies. Further, in one of the more brazen violations of the separation of powers established by our Founders, President Obama took it upon himself to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and refused to enforce it.

Abraham Lincoln observed over a century and a half ago, and it could be said in our day as well, “Our republican robe is soiled, and trailed in the dust. Let us repurify it. Let us turn and wash it white, in the spirit, if not the blood, of the Revolution….Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it…let all lovers of liberty everywhere join in the great and good work. If we do this, we shall not only have saved the [country]; but we shall have so saved it, as to make, and to keep it, forever worthy of the saving. We shall have so saved it, that the succeeding millions of free happy people, the world over, shall rise up, and call us blessed, to the latest generations.”

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