Celebrate Our Independence and Demand the Consent of the Governed

Posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013 in Other by Patricia Seybold

On July 4th, U.S. citizens celebrate “Independence Day.” This is the pseudo-anniversary of the issuance of the American Declaration of Independence. (There’s much debate about when it was actually signed.)

The Continental Congress felt that the Declaration of Independence was necessary to explain why the Resolution of Independence from Great Britain was passed on July 2, 1776 by 12 of the original 13 colonies (New York abstained).

The most famous lines in the Declaration of Independence still reverberate:

“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, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

My favorite phrase—and the one that resonates the most with me today is “the Consent of the Governed”—that’s what Edward Snowden was on about when he blew the whistle on the NSA.

He has given up his life in order to warn us that our unalienable rights are being taken away without the “Consent of the Governed.” When did we, the citizens of the United States, agree that our government could monitor every phone call we made and every email we sent?

Here’s your 4th of July gift: Please watch this YouTube video of Glenn Greenwald talking about his meetings with Edward Snowden and the deep impression that Snowden’s commitment and passion has made. (I recommend that you start 10 minutes in to avoid all the introductions.)


If you want to see Ed Snowden himself, here’s one of his videos. He talks about the “architecture of oppression.”

Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. You don’t have to do anything wrong, but be called into question, even by a wrong call, and they can go back and review everything that you’ve ever done and every conversation you’ve ever had in your life.”

The greatest fear that I have about the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. People will see all of these disclosures in the media. They’ll see the lengths that the government is going to, to grant themselves powers unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global society. But they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interest.”

On July 4th, think about the risks that the Minutemen and the American revolutionaries took, and the many lives that were ruined and lost in order to “guarantee us” the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Be grateful to Edward Snowden for exposing the massive surveillance state and the oppression that it represents. Think about what you are willing to do to fight for your and your family’s independence. Then tell your Congressmen and Representatives that you want your freedoms back! See this letter for one action that has already been taken by 28 U.S. senators.


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