This Thursday marks the 243rd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. One of the key phrases in it is “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. While most Americans are able to quote this line with confidence, very few actually understand what it means. Thomas Jefferson knee the importance of the words he was writing and chose them very carefully. He writes that “all men” have these characteristics. Today, the phrase has somehow started to mean all Americans. However, this is not what he is saying. All men, no matter where they are born or what country they pledge allegiance to, have the natural rights to life, liberty, and property among many others. The Creator gave these rights to mankind, and we have no authority to deny anyone of them. We claim to want liberty for all, yet we don’t let them choose how they receive it. We claim to respect the life of others, yet we take it away without question or trial. We claim to want the best for every citizen of every country, yet we march in and take over without pause. Why do we not respect all men?
You can not force men to be free. When independence was declared, the convention did not require everyone to sign the document. States joined the union voluntarily. The Bills of Rights was written to ensure that the government didn’t over step their boundaries like the monarchy that proceeded them. Every step of the way, America upheld the natural rights of man. So why does it stop at our borders?
While we celebrate our nation’s independence and the liberty that severance allowed the founders to act upon, keep in mind the principles that lead our founding fathers to that point. We were created to be free, as all men were. Our rights do not come from the government and do not stop at our citizenship. We are independent. Let’s start recognizing what that truly means.