The Late Great United States

Posted: July 04, 20091:00 am Eastern by Patrice Lewis © 2009

Ah, the glorious Fourth of July. The best possible time for a national day of mourning.

I mean, really … what better day could you choose to lament the loss of what this nation once was? We led the world in nearly everything: independence, liberty, freedom, industry, wealth. We rose beyond the stain of slavery and Jim Crow laws. We embraced all nationalities of legal immigrants with remarkable smoothness and out of many, became one.

But no more.

Now we are fragmenting. We are reversing the motto of our country and out of one, becoming many.

Some feel this persistent destruction of America is intentional. Whether or not you concur, the one thing you must agree is that the Nancy Pelosis and the Harry Reids of our government loath and despise everything Thomas Jefferson and John Adams ever stood for. That's because our Founding Fathers "remov[ed] the shackles from the people and plac[ed] them on the government," to quote Joseph Farah. Government hates that. In the past 70 years or so, it's been dismantling those shackles with increasing speed and placing them back on the citizens.

Award-winning historian Rod Gragg brings to life the drama of 1776 like no other: Get his "Declaration of Independence: A Museum in a Book"

Walter Williams wisely noted, "Why did the founders of our nation give us the Bill of Rights? The answer is easy. They knew Congress could not be trusted with our God-given rights." He points out that specific rights – freedom of speech and press, the right to own firearms, our rights to property, the right to a fair trial – could and would be usurped by a greedy and power-hungry government unless specifically told not to. "The Bill of Rights should serve as a constant reminder of the deep distrust our founders had of government … they rightfully saw government as the enemy of the people. ..." And sure enough, the fears of the Founding Fathers are coming to pass with sickening speed. "Americans have developed a level of naive trust for Congress, the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court that would have astonished the founders, a trust that will lead to our undoing as a great nation."

Part of our collective problem is the two extremes of how people think our country should be run.

On the right extreme are those (like me) who think our Founding Fathers were pretty smart guys, and we should keep our government within the constraints they so brilliantly laid out.

On the left extreme are those who think the Founding Fathers were a quaint bunch of pansies in funny wigs whose writing no longer applies to us, and that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are "living documents" that should be modified whenever they wish.

And never the twain shall meet.

It's becoming illegal to do the things that once brought this country to greatness. Industry is handicapped by extraordinarily detailed regulations and, soon, cap-and-trade. Big businesses are now "too big to fail" and thus must be taken over by the government with the laughable idea that it can do a better job running them. Your food, your water, your home, your transportation, your education, your money, your children, your health care, and other private and individual concerns are now dictated to a startling degree by the government. Our economy is being ruled, taxed, policied, czared and regulated to death … much of it without input from the citizens.

The government seeks to destroy freedom of speech by the "Fairness" Doctrine. It seeks to keeps its citizens horribly ignorant through public education. It seeks to destroy the Second Amendment by regulating the types of guns you can buy and increasing taxes on ammunition. It seeks to limit our abilities to gather peacefully in tea parties. Those who question the government are belittled, ridiculed, probed, audited and sometimes jailed.

Is this what Jefferson and Adams predicted? You betcha. That's why they wrote those pesky restrictions into those annoying documents. Darn those men. If only our modern-day government could deny those historical papers ever existed.

Few are willing to see the eerie parallels between King George III and our current federal government because no one reads the Declaration of Independence anymore. There was a time when every schoolchild had that document memorized (remember your Laura Ingalls Wilder books?). Because the citizens knew their non-revisionist history – and knew it well – they could avoid repeating it. Now our government-run schools keep kids steeped in ignorance, preferring to focus on gay rights and imaginary environmental catastrophes to distract us from the government's goal of utter takeover. And hey, presto, it's working. We're becoming the land of the shackled and the home of the oppressed.

When the government – not just the present administration, but most past administrations as well – willfully ignore and happily trod upon the restrictions placed on them by the founding documents, I can only conclude it's purposeful. It's about power and riches, not freedom and liberty.

And that's why I think the Fourth of July is the best time for a Day of Mourning.

What will happen in the end? Will we split into two (or more) countries? Will we become the Progressive States of America and the Traditional States of America? I don't know. Someone far greater than I once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." It seems the division among us is deeper and wider than any time since prior to the Civil War.

So on this glorious Fourth, I will attend a tea party, I will join my neighbors for a barbecue, I will watch some fireworks … and I will wonder what the future will bring.

It's no longer Independence Day. It's Dependence Day.

And I don't like it.