Independence

While our history of 1776 should be celebrated and remembered, we should also remember the entirety of our history. The severe discrimination that many people have suffered at the hands of ignorance is just as important to our history as the meetings of the Continental Congress that shaped the ideas of the Declaration of Independence.

It is a day of celebration across the United States. Our entire country is thinking about the great things that occurred about 234 years ago and how the actions of those men shaped our country today. While there are many things within our country that we should cherish, appreciate, and celebrate,the founding fathers did not leave us with a perfect system or society. They left us with a framework and an ideal and we had to figure the rest out.

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.

This is a beautiful sentiment and one that I imagine few people do not believe in. However, it is flawed. The men that are mentioned are white and own land. Women aren’t mentioned, and while this can be written off as a flaw of the english language, I think it is still telling.

Our republic was constructed to insulate the government from the unwashed, uneducated masses through elected representation and a electoral college rather than a direct popular election. The founding fathers wanted their freedom, but they wanted to maintain their status. As many of them were farmers, with slaves, preventing rights for the slaves extended their prosperity on the backs of an enslaved people.

There is no doubt that the founding fathers did great things. But, our system is not perfect and we should recognizethat. Slavery still existed until the 1860s. After that a system of discrimination was put into place to prevent all of the rights that were due to African Americans. It wasn’t until almost 100 years later in the civil rights movement that real progress was made past the post-slavery institutionalized discrimination.

Women could not vote until 1919 when the 19th amendment to the Constitution was passed. Even still, women were not welcome in the workplace and now there are still inequities in women’s pay.

While our history of 1776 should be celebrated and remembered, we should also remember the entirety of our history. The severe discrimination that many people have suffered at the hands of ignorance is just as important to our history as the meetings of the Continental Congress that shaped the ideas of the Declaration of Independence.

1 thought on “Independence”

  1. fyi

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. The National Popular Vote bill does not try to abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President (for example, ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote) have come about without federal constitutional amendments, by state legislative action.

    On June 14, 2010, after a detailed study of the issue in 2009 involving over 6,500 League members from over 200 local Leagues, the League of Women Voters endorsed the National Popular Vote bill at their annual convention in Atlanta.. “We support the use of the National Popular Vote Compact as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished”

    The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Maine — 77%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74% , Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota — 75%, New York — 79%, Washington — 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 30 state legislative chambers, in 20 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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