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Liberty requires the people to make changes to protect it E-mail
Opinion
Tuesday, 08 August 2017 09:17

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L&T Publisher Earl Watt



When America declared independence from the British Empire, the colonists may have felt like they should have acted sooner.

According to the Declaration, they probably did wait too long. 

The opening salvo states that “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

In other words, we would rather suffer through a bad situation because we believe we can survive rather than rid ourselves of the trouble.

It is not unlike those who are in an abusive relationship that stay together because they fear what may happen if they leave.

Will they find someone worse? Will they find someone better?

The fear of the unknown traps people into making decisions that support the status quo rather than risk taking a step into a new future.

At some point, however, history has shown that once America removed the shackles of bad government, the new nation thrived and prospered.

Change can be scary and difficult.

This has been used by many to maintain the current status rather than explore a new tomorrow.

In “Common Sense,” Thomas Paine wrote, “We have it in our power to start the world over again.” At the time, he had no idea just how prophetic that statement would be.

How could fledgling colonies ever dare to believe they could govern themselves? Why did they think they could create something better than being subjects to the British crown?

For one, they believed the people should have the right to choose their own leaders, to have a hand in determining the rules they would follow, and that no one man should be deciding the future for everyone else.

I bet that the loyalists who benefitted from the British system, those that were paid by the ruling regime or who served on it, called the patriots “negative,” or accused them of “holding us all back.”

But to create self-government would require input from the masses, not just the ruling class that benefitted from government, and elected leaders, not appointed or hired ones, should be responsible to the people for the decisions made on their behalf.

The Declaration even provided a responsibility to the people on what is expected when government does not listen to the people and fails to secure liberty. 

According to the Declaration, “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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.”

Notice it says “any form” of government. This means from the nation’s capital to city hall, all forms of government must be carrying out the will of the people and protecting our God-given rights as well as representing the view of the people.

Too many times we see those elected becoming an inner circle that only seeks its own counsel, ignoring the will of the people rather than representing it.

In some cases, there have been those who work contrary to the people and believe it is their role to represent the government itself or those within it.

The only recourse held by the people is to alter or abolish such forms of government and to institute those which “seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Even today, we have to consider what is the right path forward for our nation, our state and our city, but we can never forget the responsibility placed on the people if they want to have a voice in determining their own future.

If we are not satisfied, we cannot worry about what may happen next if we are not willing to change or abolish the forms of government that are not seeking to represent the people now.

Whether it is city hall or the White House, government is not designed to be a bureaucratic oligarchy. A title or job does not give anyone dominion over the masses.

We, the people, are challenged to govern ourselves, not to be ruled. We institute government to secure our rights and to protect us.

We don’t create government to rule us. We don’t create government to enforce the rules on some while not following the rules themselves. We don’t create government to arbitrarily spend tax dollars without first being directed by the people on how the money should be spent. Doing so is akin to taxation without representation. 

Bureaucracy can become just as bad as a dictator if not checked.

Right now, we have it in our power to start our own little world over again, but only if we have the courage to govern ourselves and not subject ourselves to suffering because we fear change.

The colonists believed that the only way to a better tomorrow was by making a change in what they had today.

That same hope for the future should be driving our every decision, not fear of the unknown.

Instead of thinking about what would happen if we change, we should be asking, “What are the consequences if we don’t?”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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