Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It is our right; it is our duty

This morning, as on every July 4, I raised the American flag outside my front door. It's a beautiful piece of material, representing a country whose people I admire, a nation that rests on many principles I hold dear. I cherish the First Amendment, habeus corpus, our protections from unreasonable search and seizure; I love that we are a nation structured so that people of varied faiths and ethnicities live together in a relative peace. I'm grateful and aware that I was born into a country blessed with economic prosperity. But I raise the flag today with a heart full of anger and fury with the administration that currently governs the United States. This government spends billions of dollars on private contractors in Iraq, but fails to spend enough so that the poorest Americans have proper housing. This government takes unprecedented measures to keep secret its work on behalf of the people, thereby holding in contempt the very population that elected it. This government tortures people without any determination whether its victims have committed a crime, holds others in prison without trial, but commutes the sentence of its friend and ally found guilty through proper trial because "he has suffered enough."

The people of this country -- in New Orleans, in Hartford, in Lodge Grass, in Baghdad -- have all suffered enough.

Would that I could commute this administration's time in office.

This morning, with friends, I will read aloud the Declaration of Independence as I have every July 4 since 1991. It is a solemn reading of a remarkable document, and, as every year, I will be moved. But I will also be reminded that the government of the United States is our government, and that when a government's "long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce (a people) 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."

It is our right; it is our duty.

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