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  • Writer's pictureRaymond Niblock

Circular Firing Squad. Is this our Last Independence Day?

Updated: Jul 5

I am not celebrating the day, my friends, because I believe the idea of our nation is lost. But, if I were, I would mark today as the namesake of my debut novel, “The Last Independence Day: Secession.” Read the novel so you can see what an unmoored country looks like when given over to right-wing extremism.


A long time ago, our forefathers (and foremothers, for that matter), collectively fought a war at great risk to themselves and their families and friends for the promises of liberty enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. It is true that we wished to free ourselves of the yolk of a tyrannical king. That’s what history teaches us. If, however, we stripped the man of his crown by whom we were so offended that we would levy such blood and treasure to be free of him, what, then, was it that we were doing but trying to free ourselves of a government that was, at that time, bereft of certain principles?


243 years ago, on July 4, 1776, that document we celebrate and use as either a shield or a sword in arguments about politics, enshrined concepts that have different meanings to the 21st century mind than they did to the 18th century thinker. Nevertheless, what are the concepts? There are five of them: Equality and Inalienable Rights, Government by Consent, Right to Alter or Abolish Government, Natural Rights, and the Indictment of Tyranny.


The reason why I am unable to celebrate this day, and what I think is our last Independence Day, is because enough of us have forgotten, never knew, or have rejected the “idea” of America enshrined in that declaration.


Let’s take the concepts one by one.


1. Equality and Inalienable Rights: All individuals are equal with inherent rights like "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," and this can only mean one thing in this day and age: supporting modern civil rights and equality initiatives, and suppressing the urge to undermine, denigrate, or legislate against minorities.


2. Government by Consent: Governments derive power from the people's consent, emphasizing democracy, voter participation, and accountability. This concept depends on people possessing a fundamental grasp of the functions of government with information that is true. Our government, however, appears to be wanting in accountability these days, especially with the most recent SCOTUS decision that undeniably places the office of president above the law. The third stool of our democratic republic, the Supreme Court, also appears to be irreparably harmed and with its recent disregard of precedent and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis, has departed from the mainstream of the American ethos and fostered a tyranny of minority rule. Finally, let us not ignore gerrymandering where one’s vote may not get equal weight by the accident of where one lives.


3. Right to Alter or Abolish Government: Advocates for the people's right to change or overthrow oppressive governments, highlighting the importance of protest and reform. This is one of those concepts that cuts both ways. Sort of like, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”


I wonder why people are so enamored with Orange Man. I keep hearing things like, “he says what he means,” “he call’s ‘em like he sees ‘em,” “he’s a businessman,” or “he’s not a normal politician.” I get it, people like to hear “straight talk,” but even if the straight talk isn’t rooted in fact?


So far, I have not heard many convincing arguments about policy or even political ideas that support Orange Man. What I do hear is a lot of anger, rage, and grievance. I hear people complaining that the “liberals have gone too far,” or that “we are a Christian nation and he will support policies that return us to being one.” I’ve heard he will reduce taxes, but for who?


I’ve heard a lot of what people are against who support Orange Man, but not much of what people are for. I also hear a lot of argument against our incumbent, but the arguments sound more like a child’s rage. Thinks like, “Biden is too old,” yet the proponents of these arguments fail to account for only a three-year age difference between Orange Man and President Biden. I’ve even heard that the Democrats are Nazis. Someone told me “the cost of milk is too high,” or “my gas costs too much,” as if the President of the United States has anything to do with price controls when, I might add, our country produces more oil now, during Biden’s administration, than ever before, especially during Orange Man’s time in office.


I don’t mean to gaslight Orange Man’s supporters, but I have yet to hear any arguments that have merit - they seem emotional. Even so, I can see why that vocal MAGA minority want a change, and by the very concept of our Declaration of Independence, they, I suppose, can pine for it, even fight for it, but it makes me wonder if they would like what they end up with should they succeed? If they want a Christian Nation, as they are want to say, would they be able to agree on the type of Christianity that controls them when it happens? The rabbit hole is a long one to find that answer, and many people would die in the process of finding it.


4. Natural Rights Philosophy: Emphasizes inherent human rights, influencing current human rights and individual freedoms debates. This is not natural law. That is a wholly different thing. Natural rights stem from our “inherent human nature,” which means, to me at least, the fundamental right to be left alone, to be who I am or who I want to be, and that government should step away and allow every individual to flourish in his own way. It also condemns one group lording its values over an other at the backing of law or the business end of a rifle. It is sort of like one being free to practice his religion as long as he doesn’t practice it on someone else at the someone else’s expense and at government sanction.


5. Indictment of Tyranny: Lists grievances against King George III, underscoring the need to address government abuses and uphold accountability.


There were a lot of reasons the original revolutionaries hated the King. Actually, this is a big one and deserves its own blog, but I’ll set it out here and show why we have, as a collective nation, forgotten the reasons why we departed from the Crown and why, today, we are repeating history (since we have sadly forgotten it).


Recall that the American revolutionaries had several grievances against King George III, which were articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Some of the main problems included:


                  1.              Imposing Taxes Without Consent: King George III and the British Parliament imposed taxes on the colonies without their consent, such as the Stamp Act and the Tea Act, which the colonists saw as a violation of their rights.


It goes without saying that taxation without representation is not a new issue, because today, only the voices of the wealthy are heard in the halls of our government as more and more of the public’s money is transferred to billionaires under the auspices of “trickle down” through deficit crippling tax cuts in their favor. Moreover, the spending of our national treasure has spun so far out of control, because of Democrat “tax-and-spend,” or Republican “borrow-and-transfer” concepts. Our government robs the very people it has a social contract with, our retirees, to reduce taxes on those who least need a tax break at the expense of bankrupting a program that is there to secure our elderly.


What happened to our values? It is no wonder people are upset about taxes. Thus, it seems to me that our elected officials could take a page out of history here and remember who they represent. Voters, likewise, must take it upon themselves to get informed about where their money really goes.


                  2.              Dissolving Colonial Legislatures: The King frequently dissolved colonial legislatures that opposed his policies, undermining the colonies’ self-governance and legislative independence.


We have not seen a phenomenon like this occur as of yet, but January 6th is a close example, where a sitting president chose to foment resistance to the legal certification of an election that resulted in an assault on our Capitol. While Orange Man was not dissolving our national representative body, he aimed to render its function moot by the attack, thereby undermining what self-government we have left when it comes to the election of a president.


                  3.              Quartering of Troops: The King required colonists to house British soldiers in their homes, a practice known as quartering, which was deeply resented.


This isn’t a contemporary issue, thankfully, but by extension, we see the effects of a bloated military budget when it comes to the defense industrial complex while we fail to take care of our veterans, thus leaving many on the streets for us to quarter them there.


                  4.              Restricting Trade: The British government imposed restrictions on colonial trade, limiting the colonies’ economic freedom and benefiting British interests at the colonies’ expense.


Orange Man has flat out said he would place a 10% tariff on all imported goods as a way to fund the government. However, the rich won’t pay their share, and the poor among us will pay a disproportionate share because imposing a 10% tariff on all imports is severely regressive.


Here are some arguments against it as a restriction on trade, among other things: 1) higher consumer prices, 2) supply chain disruptions, 3) potential retaliation and trade wars, 4) economic inefficiency, 5) negative impact on jobs, 6) strained diplomatic relations, 7) increased inflation, 8) disproportionate effect on low-income households, 9) reduction in trade volume, and 10) complexity and administrative costs. While intended to protect domestic industries, such tariffs can lead to broader economic and diplomatic challenges.


Have we not learned anything? What happened to the Republican notion of a free market economy? There is nothing “free market” about tariffs, yet Orange Man holds forth with the unwitting rabble behind him.


                  5.              Depriving Trial by Jury: The revolutionaries accused King George III of denying colonists the right to a fair trial by jury in many cases, replacing it with admiralty courts that operated without juries.


These days, the Right appears dissatisfied with our system of civil or criminal justice, and there appears to be a systematic assault on the idea that a person can get a fair trial in this country. The ongoing assault denigrates our system of justice and with that loss of confidence comes an equal amount of grievance at a contrived problem. Again, is history not repeating itself as the Right complains about the justice system when it hurts them or when, in 62 separate court cases, it didn’t agree with their false-narrative that the last presidential election was stolen?


                  6.              Maintaining Standing Armies: The King maintained standing armies in the colonies during peacetime without the consent of the colonial legislatures, which was seen as a threat to liberty.


Another example of forgetting history is Orange Man’s suggestions on deploying active military within the United States, particularly during the George Floyd protests in June 2020, where he considered invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 to address civil unrest. Ironically, he wouldn’t invoke that same act when his MAGA supporters attacked our Capitol on January 6th. He emphasizes "law and order" when it suits him, especially during the controversial Lafayette Square incident, where federal law enforcement cleared protesters for his photo opportunity. Orange Man consistently mentioned using the National Guard and military to manage riots and crime in cities, framing it as a measure to protect citizens and property. These actions drew criticism from civil rights groups and military leaders but were supported by those advocating for strong measures to maintain order.


                  7.              Inciting Hostility: The revolutionaries charged the King with inciting domestic insurrections and encouraging Native American attacks on frontier settlements.


January 6th, 2024. I shall say no more.


                  8.              Obstructing Justice: The King was accused of obstructing the administration of justice by refusing to approve necessary laws and making judges dependent on his will for their tenure and salaries.


Orange Man has succeeded in making the Supreme Court obedient to his will by the appointment of far-right wing ideologues on top of the ones who already occupied the court.


I remember when Orange Man was in his contest against Hillary Clinton, and the colossal Charlie Foxtrot at the Democratic National Convention when the Bernie Bros wept at Hillary’s win and vowed not to support her in the general election. No one does a circular firing squad better than the Democratic Party. No one. So, as the far left voted for people like Jill Stein instead of the nominee, Orange Man gathered the delegates to win the election. And what happened then? He appointed three Supreme Court justices during his administration, enough to irreparably skew the Supreme Court’s ideological balance for at least a generation. He stands to do it again, if he is reelected.


Conclusions


The enduring principles contained in the Declaration of Independence are not so enduring after all. Anyone who reads this would do well, then, to remember that, and remember that elections have consequences. Serious consequences. If you are on the “right” and have made it this far into this blog entry, I say go ahead and fly your flag, but retain a shred of intellectual honesty when you do. Think about the country that you want, and be honest about it.


I am disappointed in a great number of my fellow Americans. Like many others, I am angry, too. I am shocked to learn a what my otherwise well-meaning friends across the aisle think, and that in their private moments, they would have no compunction but to force their idea of religion down my throat, force my neighbor next door to carry a child to term when it would kill her, or dissolve my marriage and make me a second class citizen once again. And that is only the beginning of their contempt.


You see, like the Right, I have my grievances with our government, too, but unlike the Right, I’d like to think my ideas are hitched to principles. But in my most honest moments, what I’d really like is to be left alone to rise and fall on my merit while at the same time, having some respect for my neighbors and our planet.


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8 Comments


janetkk
Jul 04

Fantastic! To vote, or not to vote. Both have long range repercussions...THINK first, then pull the lever. Your (and my) future depends on it.

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Raymond Niblock
Raymond Niblock
Jul 04
Replying to

I'll vote with a vengeance, as if my very life depends on it!

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VT Currell
VT Currell
Jul 04

A thoughtful and disconcerting post. I agree with your thesis and I wonder where we can even go from here and what toll a melee in the US might take on the world.

VTC

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Raymond Niblock
Raymond Niblock
Jul 04
Replying to

I pray every day that things will not have to get worse before they get better, and I truly hope Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

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mksweat
Jul 04

A well thought out dissertation on what this day stands for and how far off track we as a nation have become.

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Raymond Niblock
Raymond Niblock
Jul 04
Replying to

Thank you for your feedback. I hope we, as a nation and as a people, will find our way back from the abyss.

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mcouture220
Jul 04

Well said Ray. My comment is - regardless of your political party, be thoughful of what you are voting for.

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Raymond Niblock
Raymond Niblock
Jul 04
Replying to

Yes. Politics is one thing. Principle, around which politics are sorted, is an entirely different matter. Principles should guide us in how we sort out our political differences, at least in an ideal world! It’s nice to hear from you, and I hope all is well.

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