"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."So ended The Declaration of Independence, signed by 56 patriots, all willing to die for the cause of freedom. These men were not mere soldiers heading off to battle. They were a cross-section of men that represented the larger population of freedom-loving Americans. They were people willing to put their lives and fortunes on the line for an ideal, with absolutely no guarantee of success.
Our history has celebrated their fortitude in the face of perceived insurmountable odds. They believed that God was on their side and that He would see them through to the end, whatever it may be. More than anything, they exhibited an absolute faith in their convictions, trusting that they would be much better off in death than to live a life of supplication to a distant tyranny.
They remained undeterred by the events of armed conflict and continued to act as if failure was not an option. They toiled mightily to construct a form of government that they all could support. Out of their efforts was born the Constitution of the United States of America. They knew that winning the battle was only one aspect of freedom. They had to be ready to replace the existing form of governance to have any chance of retaining their hard-fought freedom. They began by defining the values under which their form of government would operate:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."Once designed, they augmented their form of government with certain amendments deemedt the Bill of Rights, voted on by their prescribed form of government. It is not by accident that the very first article of this Bill of Rights said the following:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."The Founders went on to specify nine other articles to further limit the scope of the government's powers for fear of what fate might befall their country if they did not so limit it. The cornerstone and insurance that protected everything they designed was the mandate for free and regular elections. To this end, they defined those elections, beginning with Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States of America:
"The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."Our Founders' fears for the fate of the government begins and dies with free elections. On November 2nd, we have the opportunity to put those fears aside and validate the Founders' intent. To that end, I remind you of what our forefathers pledged in their drive for 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."We begin again....