Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 1, 2016

WASHINGTON — Here is the sentence in the Declaration of Independence we always remember: “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.”

And here is the sentence we often forget: “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.”

This, the very last sentence of the document, is what makes the better-remembered sentence possible. One speaks of our rights. The other addresses our obligations. The freedoms we cherish are self-evident but not self-executing. The Founders pledge something “to each other,” the commonly overlooked clause in the Declaration’s final pronouncement.

We find ourselves, 237 years after the Founders declared us a new nation, in a season of discontent, even surliness, about the experiment they launched. We are sharply divided over the very meaning of our founding documents, and we are more likely to invoke the word “we” in the context of “us” versus “them” than in the more capacious sense that includes every single American.

There are no quick fixes to our sense of disconnection, but there may be a way to restore our sense of what we owe each other across the lines of class, race, background — and, yes, politics and ideology.

Last week, the Aspen Institute gathered a politically diverse group of Americans under the banner of the “Franklin Project,” named after Ben, to declare a commitment to offering every American between the ages of 18 and 28 a chance to give a year of service to the country. The opportunities would include service in our armed forces but also time spent in educating our fellow citizens, bringing them health care and preventive services, working with the least advantaged among us, and conserving our environment.

Service would not be compulsory, but it would be an expectation. And it just might become part of who we are.

  • dtgraham

    Happy birthday America. No one ever had a better neighbour, friend, and ally. Here’s wishing you many more.

  • charleo1

    I recall President Obama suggesting a very similar idea in the earliest days of
    his Presidency. The Country deep in recession, he realized the Country’s youth
    would be looking for jobs, and he knew there would not be near enough to go
    around. And, he also knew the needs of the poorest communities would be even
    greater, in such an economy. And, he knew, from his own personal experience,
    the importance of keeping young people busy, engaged, and finding by the work
    of helping others, a sense of their own self worth. See, a Community Organizer
    learns things that are just not available to the son of a Navy Admiral. Or a privileged son, sent to France on a mission by his church. And, not on a mission in Vietnam,
    by his Government. I remember President Obama saying he would like the Congress to approiate the funds, to expand on President Kennedy’s Peace Corp.
    He said, there were thousands of young people, that while they didn’t feel joining
    the military was a good fit for them. They still wanted to contribute their Country. And, he wanted to provide them with that opportunity. I noticed in the article, it
    looks like some Right Wingers have stumbled on the idea after 7, or 8 years of the toughest economy since the Great Depression. That, hey! Who knew there was
    still so much poverty out there? Maybe we could gather some volunteers, and pay
    them a stipend, of course. And, they could do some good things, right in their own
    communities! Which is great. After 6 years of solid obstructionism,and worse,
    out of the Republican Party. There are many that still desperately need the help.
    But, I think it’s only proper to note. This President, Barack Obama. The one they
    claim only leads from behind. Urged this Country as it’s President, to do this more
    than five years ago. And what did they do? Well, we know what they did, nothing.
    That’s standard M.O. But they also accused the President of The United States,
    of wanting to build himself an organization based on the Hitler Youth Corp. That’s
    right! That was what it was all about. He was going to dress them in their little uniforms. indoctrinate them. And turn them into his own private army, of devious little Socialists.
    So, Happy 4th of July.

    • RobertCHastings

      We ALL need reminders of histories lost opportunities, and the reasons they were lost.

      • charleo1

        You bet Robert. Like when Liberals, sat home in 2010.
        And the T baggers invaded the government. And since
        it was a census year, they set themselves up to be able
        to show their middle fingers to the rest of the us, for the
        next 10 years! And they tell us, they’re just getting started.
        Because, there’s probably not a whole lot we can do about
        it. Because, by that time they will have completed the entire
        re-rigging of the voting process. With the help of a Supreme
        Court, that turned out to be not such great fans of democracy
        after all. So all that will remain is to pick our favorite Fox cable
        channel. FNBC, FABC, FCNN, FCBS, FFOX. or FFCC. ( Fox
        friends of Corporate Christians.) And watch the happy news
        anchors, as the corporate fed goons, dismantle the final
        remnants of the once mighty, Middle Class. As Social Security,
        on life support for years, after it’s privatization, by the Prosperity Party. (Formerly the T-Party) And the subsequent bursting of the biggest Wall Street bubble, in the Nation’s history. Dwarfing the housing bubble crisis, in 2008. The P-Party dominated Congress sighting huge deficits, since their landmark tax reform bill, and the printer at the Federal Reserve, catching fire after technicians accidently left it running at full speed over a long weekend.
        Refused to fund the program. And voted it out of existence,
        after 127 years. I know what you’re thinking. You mean to say all that, because a few Liberals sat home on one med-term election?
        To which I say. Do we really want to sit out 2014, and risk it?

        • RobertCHastings

          Damn man, just paint a big old smiley face on your butt! You got it worse than I do, and I thought I had it bad. You paint a picture of doom and gloom I couldn’t even touch, but we both know it will come true if we and all the Democrats we can corral don’t get the job done next year. And the bad thing is that by then all the Republicans who would also be affected like us will realize what they have contributed to, and there will be a spate of suicides, about two years too late

          • TZToronto

            There’s always the hope that the Tea Partiers will decide that the Republican Party is too far left and that they need to start their own party to bring America back to its (very white) roots. Then Democrats all over the country will start winning pluralities that will put Congress back into the hands of people whose main goal is not to destroy the country. . . . Well, I can hope, can’t I?

          • RobertCHastings

            We can also hope that mainstream Republicans will recognize the Tea Party as too far to the right and sever all connections with the Tea Party. However, this would result in the development of a third party, something Boehner and his associates could not tolerate because it would take away their current majority in the House. However, we can still hope.

    • sigrid28

      Urging you and all on this website to see at least the last two segments of “John Adams” on HBO. Eye-opening!

      • charleo1

        Thanks sigrid! Happy 4th!

        • sigrid28

          My favorite sleight of hand in the Declaration of Independence, the substitution of the word “self-evident” for “the truth.” How many time-wasting arguments did that brilliant switch circumvent, and how many did we then inherit. From the very beginning it was apparent that we have to have our disagreements in the correct order: the Civil War and then the Civil Rights Movement, the Voting Rights Act and now its revolution, Roe v, Wade and now its revolution, the Second Amendment and now its revolution: alway turning, not returning.

          • charleo1

            I love the Declaration of Independence. What red blooded
            American doesn’t, right? It is so dear to us, and often so
            relevant to the subject in question. That pundits, and politicians alike, will quote one of it’s many brilliant lines,
            as being in The Constitution itself! Then, sheepishly correct themselves. When, in fact, few had noticed the error. It is a wonderful example of not only speaking truth to power.
            But, eloquently lays out the case as to the reasons we were unilaterally dissolving the, “bands,” of our relationship. And, having previously informed, His Highness, that by the laws
            of nature, and the Almighty’s configuration, of the Universe. This wasn’t His Majesty’s humble servants, asking his permission. No Sir! It was a man to man notification, that we had had it! That we had sent word to him. how his people were running all over us, over here. How they would just barge in people’s homes, get drunk, eat all their food, and sleep in their beds. Throw their children out in the street. Then, if a citizen spoke up about it, they were roughed up,
            or put on a ship, and never heard from again. That we had asked nicely, several times for him to put a stop to it.
            But, got nothing. It went on, of course to mention taxes, of course. And go about our business from now on, as an
            independent collection of united states. And, there it was!
            But, such a wonderful masterpiece in writing! I would have
            loved to have seen the King’s reaction! Of course it was
            a dangerous, and thereby, a very courageous thing to send
            to the most powerful man in the world. The fact that the
            largest, land invasion fleet ever assembled up to that point,
            was already underway, in route to the Colonies, that very
            night, Jefferson penned the Declaration. Leaving no doubt as to the full meaning, of the summation. Pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our honor, to each other. This, I think, is even more heroic, and inspiring today, than it was when those, as yet unheralded, farmers, and tradesmen, put their names on
            it. And by doing so, entrusted their lives to providence, and each other. And began the founding of a Nation!

          • sigrid28

            Second most favorite fact about the Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers: Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4th, the same day, as if it were a sign that, though totally different in temperaments and social status, even bitter enemies at times, they kept their bond and had made even withstood the measure of their time.

          • charleo1

            It is one of those small, yet undeniable occurrences, that
            is hard for agnostics, and other deniers of providence, to
            dismiss out of hand. I was so taken with Jefferson’s talent
            to turn a phrase, I was delighted to find a wealth of his
            letters, both professional, and private available. In them,
            I found a man both brilliant, and human. Profoundly
            saddened by the loss of his wife. Torn between what he
            came to believe his duty to Country, and what he seen,
            as his unavoidable, abandonment of his daughter.
            In one letter, he painfully describes his unsolicited, and
            unrequited, love of this married woman, he just could not
            help himself from falling in love with. Or, the letters he
            exchanged with Washington. Seems both had a fondness
            for well cultured marijuana, they would describe at length,
            the samples they would send each other. Along with the
            state of of affairs in the Country, since their retirement to
            their beloved estates.

          • sigrid28

            So interesting! Thanks.

          • charleo1

            We are, I believe kindred spirits in this! This holiday has been
            hectic. It was my intention to watch the John Adams series
            long before now. And, I thank you again for reminding me.

          • sigrid28

            I don’t think it is running again on HBO–it’s a 4th of July thing. But the DVD is probably available at the public library, along with the biography by David McCullough on which the series is based. You will feel deprived if you miss either.

          • charleo1

            Okay. I have U-Verse. I was thinking it might be on their, on demand feature. But, sometimes you must type in the name
            precisely. So, “John Adams?”

          • sigrid28

            The precise name of the HBO miniseries is “John Adams.” Good luck.

          • charleo1

            Thanks my friend! I appreciate it.

          • latebloomingrandma

            The John Adams series was wonderful.. I have the DVD set. I can’t help but get teary eyed each time when Washington is sworn in. Paul Giamatti was a perfect Adams. There are many memorable scenes, but the essence was that Adams was such a fighter for our country. (One thing ,though—I don’t think the Whitehouse was called such until the Theodore Roosevelt administration. Correct me if I’m wrong)

          • sigrid28

            I’m too happy to find another kindred spirit (another fan) of the series to take time to look up the White House fact you cite. Wasn’t the part of the series covering the state of Washington, D.C., when John and Abigail Adams moved into what was to become the White House amazing? You can read about that, and never understand the astonishment they must have felt as well as you can by “witnessing” it in this series. By contrast, they felt nothing like the irony WE feel at seeing slaves and poor white laborers constructing the future capital of the U.S., or the surprise we are meant to feel when Adams leaves their Washington home at last crammed into a horse-drawn buggy with slaves and other laborers, as if he were just another public servant going home after a long day’s work and not the former president leaving after four years in office. I keep promising myself I’ll read David McCullough’s biography of John Adams–maybe it’s about time!

          • idamag

            The Declaration of Independence is a brilliant document.

  • Catskinner

    Yes, I think McChrystal is right. The country would be better off with this kind of mandatory service and the people who serve would be better for it.

  • TheGorf

    I’ll try to be brief here, knowing that there are many thorns in these issues.

    — Bring back the draft for all 18 yr.olds (both genders): military or public service. No exceptions. Some necessary training if needed. If we put all elected officials on the same pay scale we put our soldiers on, we could pay for it easily. Term limits would be good too. Scarey: fewer than 10 elected officials have sons or daughters in the military!

    — Re citizenship through naturalization: make the literacy requirements MUCH higher than they are now. Too complex for here, but I think an applicant should be made to demonstrate the ability to write a brief paragraph on a topic chosen by the interviewer at random from a very long list of possible contemporary topics. Approval granted by interviewers trained and tested for the job.

    • stcroixcarp

      There should be no favoritism for the rich or politically connected. George W Bush was able to avoid the draft because daddy got him a cushy National Guard assignment, protected from the bloody war in Vietnam when 58,000 middle class and the poor men lost their lives. The Romney boys shouldn’t be able to do Mormon missionary work in France and call it national service. And the list goes on and on…

      • mike

        To All a Happy 4th!!!

        You left off Clinton! David Maraniss Clinton biography, First In His Class, pretty much exposed his avoidance of the draft through using people when needed, resorting to deception and manipulation when necessary.

        • Sand_Cat

          So, let’s hear about your service in the wars your friends started.

          • mike

            I should not have replied today!!!
            Today we celebrate the Birthday of this great country!!!!
            We also must remember all that have given their lives including my son an Army Ranger six tours to Afghanistan and Iraq.
            I regret my post on this day. I have dishonored him.
            God Bless this great Nation.

          • Sand_Cat

            Sorry about your son. Sorry that anyone had to die.

          • mike

            Thanks!!!! He see him everyday in the pool, on the baseball diamond, playing the guitar, writing poetry, teasing his siblings, and just being a wonderful son. He dropped out of school his junior year to become a Ranger and a good one he was.

          • BDC_57

            I see the trolls are back

          • Sand_Cat

            I guess we are

        • charleo1

          Yeah I know. If your Granddad wasn’t a rich Senator, and your
          family had no connections, it was no piece of cake, keeping
          your poor, and Middle Class, butt out of Nam. On the other hand, W. had to go great lengths. First, he made sure he was
          not drunk. A heavy lift in those wild days as a cheer leader at
          Yale. Then, he went boldly into his Father’s study, and said,
          “Daddy, I don’t want to go to Vietnam!”

      • RobertCHastings

        Bush not only avoided the draft, he avoided his last year or so of obligatory service in the Guard. He simply did not show up. Our first AWOL president?

    • RobertCHastings

      I agree with a lot of what you have to say. How about requiring ALL Americans to take a test of their knowledge of hos this country works and how it came about. As the writer indicates, not that many would remember that last sentence of the Declaration. And we all, at one time or another, need to be reminded of what C.J. Dionne says.

    • RobertCHastings

      If you examine the requirements for the test itself, you will find that not that many people you (or I) could pass it. Does that mean we are unfit to be citizens? You know, that’s a very good question.

    • RobertCHastings

      Your proposal for citizenship literacy requirements would make it impossible for most HS grads in this country who are born Americans to retain their citizenship. However, that is not a bad idea. Link citizenship for ALL to their ability to perform such a task as you suggest. Maybe kids would take school a little more seriously.

      • TheGorf

        Robert: I was a natz interviewer for literally thousands of cases. Some of the questions were pretty esoteric: If the President and Vice-President both die, who is left in charge? Some were ridiculously immaterial. How many stars in our current flag? Neither of these have anything to do with the duties of citizenship. However, being literate enough to understand the issues of the day — that is a reasonable and important duty. Here is an actual sample of one candidate’s demonstration of her ability to write: Y cuk god fud. (I cook good food). Under rules then being followed — I retired a long time ago — that was an acceptable answer. (The “gud fud” answer spread like wildfire and came to be descrikptive of all such responses.)

        A citizen need not know about the Speaker of the House being third in line for the presidency, and the number of stars is nice to know — but being truly literate is essential, I think. The gud fud level isn’t even close.

        • RobertCHastings

          Much better than some I dealt with in HS as a teacher in a special school for at risk students. Literacy is part of the picture, but the ability to discern good, sound reasoning is also a big issue. If a citizen cannot discern the difference between a scam and an honest effort to help, then he doesn’t stand much chance of NOT being scammed. My point is, however, why make a test for immigrants applying for citizenship more difficult than a simple Civics test students should be required to pass to graduate HS. We have large numbers of “graduates” who are no more qualified for citizenship than some illiterate immigrants, and many citizens who have absolutely no understanding of how our government works.

  • Lovefacts

    For years, I preached the same refrain about universal service–both genders. It takes this melding of the population to create a cohesive country. Prior to WWI, if a European asked an American where they were from, they answered with their state. After WWI, they said America or the United States.

    Our country is large. It has varied religious beliefs and, of course, political beliefs. One thing that has helped us stay a country with similar cultural views–excluding those that have been politicized like abortion–are the movies and TV, and now social media. But we are still fracturing because of the lack of interaction and knowing people outside our community or comfort area. Public service, be it the military, cleaning inner cities, tutoring/being a teachers assistant, or helping clean and maintain our national parks, would help build a common purpose with the view that we’re all Americans regardless of our religious and political differences.

    • idamag

      Excellent post! May I share it in a newsletter?

      • Lovefacts

        Yes. I’d be honored.

    • sigrid28

      There are two universal service programs now ALWAYS overbooked with applicants: Americorps and a teaching group, I forget the name of. Both get about a thousand applicants for each position. In our small community, only the young need apply, though supposedly age is not limited for these positions. Minorities and those new to the community also need not apply. All of the spots in our town go to the sons and daughters of prominent townspeople who graduate from college but do not get a job or go to graduate school. Nepotism and cronyism destroys any sense of merit in the appointments and also assures more slackers than there would be otherwise. I think E. J. Dionne and his Aspen friends are just a little too patrician to see this through to the kind of universal service that would really energize our society–like a vibrant WPA for the young, such as you propose.

  • Jim Myers

    I cannot imagine why anyone would appose this idea. It just seems like such a no brainer.

    • idamag

      Because there are those who think of the United States as some kind of area that has 50 little countries who resent the federal government.

      • Jim Myers

        Sad, but I think you may be right.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Bingo!

    • TZToronto

      What? Helping people who can’t help themselves? Isn’t that some form of communism–or socialism, at least? Next thing you know, they’ll want everybody to have access to healthcare! . . . That’s why a lot of people would oppose it. They’re wrong, of course, but they’ll still consider it some kind of subversive plot to . . . do something connected to Sharia law or signing up minority voters. We just can’t figure out how their twisted little minds work.

      • Jim Myers

        It amazes me that there are so many so called “Christians” who espouse the exact opposite of the teachings of Christ.

        The “Holier Than Thou” Bible thumpers who do everything to worship the rich and powerful, while scorning those trampled be the rich and powerful.

        • TZToronto

          Perhaps it goes back to the idea that financial success is an indicator of salvation, that those who are financially successful must be destined to be with God in Heaven. Those who are not successful are, obviously, not chosen by God to live him in the next world. Of course, this is nonsense on several levels, but the simple idea that Christ was not above helping the poor, the infirm, and even the dead seems to have escaped so many who claim to follow him. If they were truly “born again,” they would try to lives their lives as he led his–and to be fair, many do. I knew a devout county prosecutor who treated poor, unfortunate, and misguided malefactors with respect because they are all God’s creatures. Some, however, respect only their “betters.”

          • Jim Myers

            Thanks for the input. You are right on the money. (Pun not intended.)

          • TZToronto

            It’s nice to know that there are some of us who think. You and I are not alone.

          • Jim Myers

            Thanks again.

            Jim

  • tdm3624

    I love this idea and I love how it is starting out non-partisan.

  • Ed

    Wow! E.J. Dionne must be completely out of his liberal, leftist mind to be talking about our Founding Fathers’ wisdom !!

    • idamag

      We can never talk about anything without some jerk resorting to name calling. It is people, like you, who are helping to divide this country to the point where we lose our democracy.

      • Sand_Cat

        Regrettably, it is often necessary to call people what they are, especially when they are immune to all other facts that don’t fit their preconceptions. I’m not defending Ed, about whom I know nothing. I try to call it like it is, and – with the people I answer here – calling them what they are seems to me the only appropriate response.

      • Ed

        idamag: Wow ! You are so smart !! You inadvertently refer to me as “… some jerk resorting to name calling.” LOL, listen to you !! Ha, ha, haa!!
        The people that are “helping to divide this country” are the idiots on the Left, the morons of “Occupy Wall Street” (praised by Obama, mind you), the MINDLESS defenders of “political correctness” (you have to admit that we have lost the capacity and the will to call a spade “a spade”, the Hollywood MORONS, and the “mainsCream” press.
        You, idamag, are in the middle of it all and can not even differentiate if you are coming or going. DUH !!

        • RobertCHastings

          Maybe you should research the Occupy Movement before you criticize them, as Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck have told you to do. They have identified the basic ills confronting this country and have proposed a simple way to fix it. If you are a Republican, in the middle class, you are getting screwed just like the rest of us. Of course, if you were among the top 3%, you wouldn’t be on this site anyway.
          David Graeber has written “The Democracy Project” about the Occupy Movement, with a great bibliography and verifiable sources. Congress is NOT running the country, not even the Republicans, OR the Democrats. Money and the power associated with it is what turns the wheels and what makes the world go ’round.

        • idamag

          I can’t say, wow you are so smart, to you. I am a member of the Occupy Group in my city. We have never camped out as we don’t have to. The city has given us use of one of the parks. Our goal is to keep money from buying our government. We are non-partisan. We support no candidates and raise no money. We are non-violent. We do have rallies and carry signs. One of the signs said, “I can’t afford to buy a politician.” One said to restore the government of the people and by the people to the people. My sign shows an elephant on one side and a donkey on the other side. They are stretching a rope between, each headed in the opposite direction. The middle of the rope loops around Uncle Sam who is crying “help.”

          • Ed

            idamag: If you are a “non-camping-out” member of Occupy Wall Street automatically, my friend, you are:

            1. A useful idiot;
            2. The real jerk, to use the exact same word you previously used to describe me.

          • BDC_57

            well are you

          • Ed

            Well are you WHAT ??!!
            Make some sense !!

          • BDC_57

            then you must be

          • Ed

            BDC: You are right: then you must be …
            Even better: then you most certainly are ….
            Ed

    • Jim Myers

      Is it that hard to give someone a compliment without some sort of ridicule attached to it?

      • Ed

        Jim: Sorry but you are wrong. I never intended to, as you say, “give someone a compliment… “. I just wanted the “ridicule attached to it” part.
        It IS a fact, get used to it my friend, that “E.J. Dionne must be completely out of his liberal, leftist mind to be talking about our Founding Fathers’ wisdom !!”

        You just didn’t or couldn’t stomach the “liberal, leftist mind” part.
        Tsk, tsk, tsk ….

        • Jim Myers

          I, for one, consider it an Honor to be labelled a “Liberal, Leftist.”

          Obviously, you are not a Liberal.

          And, clearly, you are also not a Conservative.

          In fact, I have serious doubts that you are even an American.

          Do you even pledge allegiance to any Nation?

          Or, do you only gain pleasure by agitating people?

          I feel sorry for you. You are a poor, pathetic piece of trash.

          • Ed

            Jim Myers: If you even exist, go and TRY to get a life ….

          • Independent1

            It’s people like you with brains that are small enough to sit on the head of pin that need to go out and get a life. And to preferably go somewhere else and post your nonsense with other people that have similarly miniscule brains.

          • Ed

            Independent1: When I told Jim Myers, another moron almost as big as you, to “get a life”, I did it because he called me “a piece of trash”. That was it.
            Now, because you do not possess the intellectual wherewithal (look it up, Indep !!) to counteract my previous comments to the effect that “E.J. Dionne must be completely out of his liberal, leftist mind to be talking about our Founding Fathers’ wisdom.”, you resort to personal attacks.
            I will not answer your stupid attacks and will limit myself to telling you that, if I have a miniscule brain (which is a possibility, although not a probability-again, look up the difference in concepts), my friend, it takes one to know one … LOL !!!
            Indep, YOU too, go out and get a life.

            Come back if and when you become a match for me, because right now you are not …

          • Sand_Cat

            You’re right. No one here can match you for plain, agressive stupidity and arrogance.

          • Ed

            Sand Cat: You are WRONG (again?!) my friend. ALL OF YOU Libtards on this cesspool of the obtuse Left SURPASS my, as you call it, “plain, aggressive stupidity and arrogance”.
            What NONE of you “political correctness blind slaves” are capable of matching is my willingness to call a spade “a spade”.
            You are pathetic …

          • Jim Myers

            I think I made a mistake. In fact, more than one.

            First, Ed was right about one thing. I usually try to avoid personal attacks, however, he does not. (Consider his comment about E.J. Dionne.)

            Second was to engage Ed in a conversation. That only works with people who are open to alternative ideas. Not those who are ideologically set in their own ways.

            It appears you fell into the same trap.

            When will we ever learn?

            We might as well argue with Rush, Glenn, Ann, and other “Well Balanced” talking heads on Faux News. And leave out the middle men.

          • Independent1

            Jim, you’re right about Rush, Glenn, Ann and other “Well Balanced” talking heads of Faux News – just more examples of right-wing biggots who have brains small enough to fit on the head of a pin. People with absolutely no grasp whatsoever of reality. Reasoning with them is like reasoning with a brick wall.

  • Anonymous

    Except that it was a lie. Who gives a sht what someone pledges to defend a lie?

    • RobertCHastings

      What was a lie? The Revolution? Interesting proposition. Do you think it was like that movie “Capricorn Two” in which the moon walk was portrayed as having been staged? I can’t think of anyone else who could come up with that one – you are indeed exceptional.

      • Anonymous

        Hahahah the declaration of independence was a lie, particularly the language RE: equality discussed in this article.

        Some of you internet people will go out of your way and back to extract some high-handed validation and outlet for your sorry, unfulfilling lives in these comments sections.

        But whatever. Knock yourself out.

        • RobertCHastings

          My goodness, do I sense some serious latent hostility?
          You think we don’t realize that about equality? What have you been reading? Apparently you have read at least SOME of the postings here, but I guess you just skipped over those parts that said anything about equality.
          If your life is so fulfilled, why are you even on this site? The Rightsource must have kicked you off, or one of those other conservative sites.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            If you sit down and really think about it, the “people” never had any real power. Yes, we vote. Big Deal! Most if not all of the people we vote for have been handpicked by the parties long before the majority people who elect them know what they even stand for.

            As far as our freedoms and liberties go, go broke, loose your job, your home and let’s see how long you have your freedoms and your liberties as you enjoy today. You only have freedom and liberty IF you can afford to pay for it. The more money you have, the more freedom and liberty you have.

            Equality is another one of those catchy dog chasing it’s tail sort of things. There are NO guarantees of equality in this country. What group today maybe be equal to another group today can just as easily be unequal in the future by just passing laws for or against them.

            What we think is the United states is an embarrassment. We are less united today than when the first 13 colonies were formed. The ONLY reason this country holds together is because of a strong federal government. Yet, we wouldn’t mind states leaving the Unions if they so desire. I’ve seen this statement here hundreds of times, including my own.

            EVERYTHING we believe in, what we aspire to emulate is manipulated, programmed and we’re fed it on a daily basis, just as surely as you or I go get a cup of coffee with your donuts.

            All the hopes and dreams that the country tries to attain can never be reached, just as if you try to follow a religion to a T.

            It’a all Bullshit.

          • patrick g van meter

            I love it. Can’t argue with anything you said. Absolute bullshit.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Well, it’s all true.

            Our Elections are rigged years before they ever occur. Remember when Ross Perot ran for President? Here was a man with a BRAIN, believe or not.

            He predicted our economic situation as that “sucking sound” from the south. No one believed him and both parties denigrated him as much as possible.

            He was completely right with his predictions. This is only one example of what this country does to people who really care for the people.

            Our country is divided because people in powerful positions use unfounded fears and hatreds to keep us divided. And, the US population is constantly manipulated to believe all these falsies and falls for it every time.

            The Democratic Party is supposed to stand for progressive liberalism as its core belief. The party’s leadership’s got NO backbone! As much as I like Obama, the guy ain’t got no fire in him. He reminds me of Carter to a great extent. A Great Academic mind, but one that won’t stand up and actually fight. When was the last time we seen him get pissed in public? NEVER. He’s definitely NO Truman. He’s too politically correct.

            Where is the Public’s anger at all this crap we’re going through? Where is the Revolutionary Spirit of this country? People that lived 100+ years ago would have NEVER tolerated it. A major company closing down?, there would have been rioting in the streets over it and its former employees wouldn’t be the only people rioting either. When a big company closes down, it don’t only effect its employees but the entire community. Trickle “Down” Economics?, you bet it does.

            Even our Supreme Court has screwed up giving Corporations Human Rights and now basically throwing in the trashcan the power of the voter rights act! It took 300 years to finally show its ugly head as to what this country actually stands for. At least people in powerful positions finally got the balls to admit it. It’s totally disgusting…………..

            I,m not the first to suggest it, but the People should be up in arms over this crap. We need another AMERICAN Revolution to bring back freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We’ve lost the sense of what this country is supposed to stand for. This country was never meant to be manipulated and dominated by conservative ideology as it is today.

          • patrick g van meter

            I agree with everything you say with the exception your thoughts on Obama. He has it in him to fight but he won’t because he is owned. It was obvious when he didn’t work for a single payer with healthcare. Since then there has been numerous other things that he backs down on. Forthcoming will be the keystone pipeline. Mark my words, he will ok it. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.

            As we speak O is returning from Africa at a round trip cost said to be 100 million dollars. Have you noticed most of the people in charge of fixing the economy are the same people that caused it to fail. Many of the people have been around for decades. Both parties just shuffle these clowns around to different positions.

            These people accomplish nothing for the American people because they don’t care about us. That includes the supreme court With 9 judges that have a job for life. That’s the only reason you see citizens united because these black robes are owned also.
            We need a third party. The Dems and the Gop are the same. They both fight to keep a third party out. This may not be the solution but it would be a good start. Maybe a revolution would be the only way to wake people up. I’m not optimistic.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Sure, both parties fight to lock out a third party. That’s why Ross Perot didn’t get anywhere.

            Now, the Tea Party, they’re mostly backed by the Republicans, who have become their Attack Dogs. So, they will exist. I don’t know for how long though.

            Yep, Obama is probably also bought and paid for. Us Liberals elected him to advocate for more freedoms, liberties and protections than he’s willing to fight for. He’d let a lot of us down.

            Everyone thinks he’s not getting things done because of the Republican Party. Well, that is partly true. But, that don’t mean he can’t be more forceful in his speeches and advocate a lot more forceful for what we elected him to do. The man appears to be more academic than politician.

          • RobertCHastings

            I keep harping on the topic of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and I honestly feel they have some workable solutions. Their method of avoiding the messiness of hierarchies is simple, use a basic democracy, in which EVERYONE has input. With proper training, this method seems to work quite well and avoids the pitfalls associated with an identifiable hierarchy when dealing with authorities who oppose your goals. Some communities in New England use this basic democracy even today, in simple town-hall meetings in which everyone can have a say. Democracy CAN be messy, but only for those who refuse to invest in it.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Yes, the Occupy Movement is a good idea. But, its being soo demonized, pretty soon, it may not have any power at all.

            The “Elites” is using the same tactic that was used on us 40 some years ago, the flower child generation, by demonizing, introducing hard drugs or claim it is being used, communist infiltrators or claiming you are.

            And WE WERE a heck of a lot more radically liberalized to boot than your movement is today. We got a few things done. But, we still turned into the same thing our parents were. And, it’s gotten a lot worse over the past 40 years.

            So, even if WE as being radical as we were didn’t get that much done, how do you figure your movement can?

            I hate to say it, but your movement ain’t got a cold shot in hell of doing anything more than talk.

          • RobertCHastings

            Yes, it is being demonized, just like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Does that mean we MUST accept the judgement of those who are condemning them? Are we incapable of coming to our own conclusions and making our own decisions? If we accept what the NRA says about gun control without doing our own research on the issue, then we are little more than sheep. However, if we can through the application of common sense and reason come to different conclusions than those laid out for us, should we not act on our decisions and help to elect those we think will serve our interests, and, through forums like this, make our opinions know and offer reasoned arguments in their support?

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            No one must accept the judgement of the Elites.

            You are trying to reason with people who have no intent of being reasoned with.

            When push comes to shove, talk is dirt cheap.

            The Watts Riots got results. The Stonewall Riots got results. The Democratic Convention Riots got results. Riots is what actually got us out of Nam, not peaceful talk. What took place those years was the demonstration of the American Revolutionary Spirit.

            We need massive demonstrations – just like it was 40 years ago.

            The Hydra of Greek Mythology has come back in the form of Republicans and Teabaggers. And, I can only think of one way of destroying it once and for all.

        • RobertCHastings

          Sounds like some Internet people will go out of their way to tear others down because of their OWN unfulfilled lives.

  • rkief

    Although unwritten and unspoken, there was a corollary “Bill of Responsibility” that our Founding Fathers ( mothers and children ) understood and accepted. Perhaps that thought is embodied in the line, “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

    But do we really? Does each segment of our society – and each individual – do even a little to understand, accept, and cooperate with the other segments toward that common “pursuit of happiness?” Except for our military, are most of today’s Americans committed to this philiosphy? I’m afraid that the answer is, “not if it costs us a buck…. or inconveniences us in any way.”

    • RobertCHastings

      We did at one time as a country. Or we would not have achieved what we have. Much of what Jefferson put into the Declaration was, he thought, inconsequential. However, the social contract he describes with that final sentence was the basis for our independence, because the men who signed it did, indeed, pledge EVERYTHING they had to the cause of Freedom. Without the commitment this statement demands from all of us, this country will fail. And, unlike B of A, we are not too big to fail. The corporations will simply take over the country, like the army in Egypt, and hire some PR firm to write a new Constitution.

      • idamag

        Did you ever read the book, “Fahrenheit 491?”

        • RobertCHastings

          Do you mean “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, so named because it the temp at which paper burns? Yes, I have read it, and your mention raises an interesting point. If I follow you, it is becoming necessary for people to memorize our important historical documents because they will be destroyed. In some ways, they have already been destroyed, so your reference is quite appropriate.

          • idamag

            I did mean Fahrenheit 451. People would do well to see what happens when two multi-national corporations rule the world. When people are convinced that the government is not business friendly they do not realize that a multi-national corporation is not your local tire store. It is not the roofing company nor the plumbing company in your town. It is a voracious monster that is swallowing other businesses and your government.

          • RobertCHastings

            Sorry. It’s been a while since I read it. I just totally missed the multinational connection. Absolutely true.

  • Allan Richardson

    The problem with our divisively manipulated nation is that the wealthy do not depend very much on our common, publicly owned infrastructure (except the highways, mail, airlines and recently, GPS satellites), and can afford private expenditures to insulate them from most of its shortcomings for which they refuse to fund repairs (big cushy cars with expensive shocks to go through potholes (and speed bumps), car floating pontoons in case the bridge collapses — oops, wait a sec), the middle class are indoctrinated to believe they are one with the wealthy (as soon as that next trade goes through, whenever that is), rather than one with ALL Americans, and the poor, though well-meaning and trying to add their voice, are often kept away from the polls and out of political activity by their work schedules and by dirty tactics enacted into law at the bidding of the EVIL portion of the upper class.

    We need a new CCC to provide jobs for able-bodied young workers and repair our crumbling infrastructure (like the bridge I just mentioned), a teaching corps to provide jobs for well-educated but unemployed young people by taking up the slack in our educational system and helping the less educated, guaranteed political ad time through public funding combined with an Amendment to repeal Citizens United and corporate “personhood,” and consistent, non-partisan election and redistricting procedures to stop voter suppression (and what little fraud there may be) and gerrymandering.

    • Independent1

      Not only do the wealthy not have to depend on the many things you listed, they also have the money to get around many of the issues that the Right constantly tries to push down the throats of the less afluent.
      For example, abolishing abortion. If a wealthy woman wants a safe abortion in a state that has abolished it, she simply hops on a plane flight to a country that performs them. And, as the right continues to do everything it can to delay legislation that will promote job growth, there’s nothing to worry about for the wealthy because they have more than enough money to see them through until the economy gains steam again despite the right’s obstructionism.
      If the right succeeds in repealing Obamacare so millions of Americans continue to go wthout insurance, what’s to worry, the wealthy can travel anywhere in the world to get the care they need, and buy the healthcare or insurance then want/need no matter what the cost. And when the average American is struggling to figure out how they’re going to replace the car they depend on to get them to their job (if they have one), that’s certainly not a worry for the already wealthy, in fact, their big concern is; what country outside the U.S. will give them the best deal on that multi-million dollar yacht they’ve been yearning for: just like Steve Jobs who I believe had ordered his grand yacht from Denmark.
      And with the returns on savings being offered by banks in the U.S. having gone to almost zero, putting millions of Americans’ retirements in jeopardy, not to worry, the wealthy have a large selection of offshore investment options which not only give them better returns, but allow them to shield those returns from taxation. What a deal the wealthy have in America today!!!!