When in the life of a democratic nation it becomes clear that the government has parted ways with the governed and evinces no intention to reform, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that the governed, i.e. the People, should declare in terms both broad and narrow the causes that impel them toward a separation of their own.
We the People hold to be self-evident the same truths that were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence of 1776, chief among them an inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and we remind the nation’s leaders that enlightened governments are instituted among humankind to secure these rights. We have grown weary of waiting for that to which we are entitled.
We also remind Washington and the world that governmental powers owe their legitimacy to the consent of the governed, and we reaffirm the original document’s declaration that it is the right and duty of the People to alter or abolish any form of government that becomes destructive of these ends, and to form a new government. The recent history of the present government is one of repeated malfeasance of office and of practices aimed at establishing a plutocracy of the privileged; fostering an economy whose chief industry is arms and armaments; and refusing to cooperate for the common good.
To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:
The Executive branch since World War II has steadily assumed a disproportionate advantage in our system of checks and balances, rendering Congress ineffective in helping to guide the nation in its affairs. Achieved mainly through the President’s role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, this imbalance has resulted in continual military operations abroad that consume a great part of the nation’s wealth at the expense of needs here at home; makes enemies for us around the world; and propels us along the course of Empire instead of world citizen.
The Legislative branch has steadily separated itself from the People by voting itself special privileges that distance it from the needs and desires of the populace it purports to represent; by selling its loyalty to the highest bidders; by refusing utterly to govern for the common good; and by turning a blind eye to the glaring need to reform itself.
The Judicial branch has evolved to a deliberative body reflecting the beliefs and interests of a privileged minority rather than those of a democratic cross-section of the People. Such a narrow range of sensibilities inclines the court toward decisions that favor their own kind and are in fact no more objective than were those of King George in the months leading up to the Revolutionary War. This societal imbalance and bias have tended to undermine the People’s faith in the court’s probity and in its fitness to guide the Ship of State.
Thus we the People call for an immediate return to responsible and responsive government of the kind that is achievable only through solemn and selfless deliberation, in all three branches of the government, by leaders resolved daily to put the People and the welfare of the nation first in every consideration. Thus we urge the following reforms and enjoin the Powers-that-Be to lead, follow, or get out of the way:
Abandon the role of global policeman, disengage the economy from the Military/Industrial Complex, and redirect the expenditures to domestic needs.
Repair the nation’s infrastructure, providing much-needed jobs while making long overdue repairs to roads and bridges, waterways and sanitation systems, power plants and electric grids, airports and harbors, without all of which the nation’s trade and transport would vanish.
Overhaul public education. Appoint a national commission to find out why we have fallen behind other Western nations in educating our children.
Make the minimum wage a living wage aligned with the cost-of living index.
Secure the nation’s borders and enforce the immigration laws. Do it without erecting the American equivalent of the Berlin Wall on any of our borders. Offer America’s executive and financial know-how to help Mexico build an economy strong enough to support its people at home.
Encourage and foster entrepreneurship from all corners of the nation, not just Academia. History has proven that nature distributes intelligence and ingenuity impartially.
Fix the mental-health problem. Alter laws that obstruct mandatory treatment. Stop the use of prisons as dumping grounds for the mentally ill.
Pass legislation defining corporations as business entities, not as people. With the backing of the Supreme Court, the government has endorsed a secret and non-transparent system of campaign finance assuring that the rich can continue to exert a pernicious influence on the Congress, the Office of President, and the Supreme Court.
Recompose the army. The current composition has in effect privatized the military, which encourages armed adventuring, often for illusory and ill-advised reasons, and without the advice and consent of Congress. Today’s army is drawn principally from the poor, who serve as cannon fodder mainly because they are politically impotent. A private army answerable to one person only is, as we saw in Nazi Germany, an invitation to tyranny.
Forbid states to use their law enforcement and corrections systems as sources of revenue. Require that they support these systems with tax money, not the fee system, which mainly targets those least able to afford fees and renders void the Constitutional guarantee of equality under the law.
Decriminalize marijuana and free those in prison for relatively minor offenses. In a civilized society, crime and punishment are not the components of an industry that feeds on human misery.
Expand Medicare into a national health plan. Health care for profit is a social evil.
Extend to 10 years the time during which former members of Congress are forbidden to engage in lobbying.
Abandon the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote to elect a President. The current method has led to a Balkanization of the country and in effect disenfranchised the minority vote in every state.
Reform the laws governing the nation’s banks and other financial markets. Include consumer safeguards against unfair business practices, usurious interest rates, and arbitrary fees.
End the use of secret courts, extralegal proceedings, tortured rationalizations, false alarms about national security, and Heaven only knows what else, to justify the nation’s departure from international law and from its own high ideals of moral conduct.
This list of needed reforms is by no means complete. The governmental ills that bred it have festered for decades, owing to the self-serving of many while the rest of us slept or simply acquiesced. Let us recall the admonition of political philosopher Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Therefore, appealing to the conscience of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, we demand a fair and impartial government of the People, by the People, and for the People, and we enjoin all who hold office, whether high or low, elected or appointed, to treat public office as a public trust, not as a means of self-enrichment, self-aggrandizement, or empowerment beyond the bounds of honorable public service.
We declare here and now that the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, conjoined with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the independent spirit that gave birth to this nation, entitle us to good government, and we want it now. In plain point of fact, it is not possible to pursue happiness, let alone find it, in a crime-ridden, bitterly divided society lacking in national cohesion and purpose. Our states are united in name only and our citizenry not at all, for we have abandoned the melting-pot ideal that made us a great nation and replaced it with a thoughtless allegiance to all that divides us.
With a firm reliance on the protection of Providence, we the undersigned pledge on our sacred honor to unite to restore the America for which our forefathers risked their lives and fortunes. Let us resolve to show that we are their rightful legatees. Selah.
Signers of the Updated Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence, Updated
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