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COME SEE OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE THIS FOURTH OF JULY!
WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING THIS MONTH?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Over 200 years have passed since our country’s official extrication from Great Britain following the end of the Revolutionary War. People often forget that the Fourth of July marks an extremely important historical event: our nation’s independence from an oppressive government. With all the parades, fireworks shows, and other inviting festivities going on in downtown Marietta over the holiday weekend, I understand why people might overlook the historical elements at play. To shed some light on the true meaning behind our fantastic annual celebrations, in the past I’ve chosen to lead a reading of sections of the Declaration of Independence with judges and fellow defense attorneys outside the courthouse on Independence Day. “Ideologically and pragmatically speaking, the best part of residing in the U.S. is the freedom we experience, but it seems to me that many of the freedoms we enjoy are slowing being chipped away, especially when it comes to matters related to security and privacy.” I have participated in these readings before and noticed is how fascinating the actual words written in the Declaration of Independence become when you consider them against our contemporary societal security efforts. Ideologically and pragmatically speaking, the best part of residing in the US is the freedom we experience, but it seems to me that many of the freedoms we enjoy are slowing being chipped away, especially when it comes to matters related to security and privacy. In decades past, we enjoyed more freedom simply because our nation started under the thumbnail of an oppressive government. But ever since that fateful day on September 11, we, as a country, have been more willing to give up our freedom for the allusion of security without additional security. Many argue that post 9/11 efforts must have worked since we haven’t had an international terrorist attack on our soil since then. But while our eyes are turned outward,
we fail to recognize that by enabling the militarization of our country, we’ve splintered our nation and bred dissent and danger. The government is now driving wedges between factions of the country and fueling constant hatred, all for the allusion of security. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the government shifted their perspective to include the violent and often deadly attacks (such as school shootings) on our own soil as acts of terrorism. If they looked at these grave attacks as seriously as they did shoe inspections, I like to believe that we would see more actual security and increased safety for the kids in our schools. Those of us in the legal system who opt to read the Declaration of Independence each year want our listeners to understand why it’s necessary for people like us to keep the government in check and celebrate the true meaning behind this important document: Upholding the inalienable rights of all people and protecting those rights from government infringement. So as you make your Fourth of July plans to grill up some delicious brats, light off some epic fireworks, and soak up some Marietta sunshine, I encourage you to block off some time to read the Declaration.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
–Kim Keheley Frye
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