Do you Govern or are you Governed?

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Thomas Jefferson, July 4th, 1776.

As a descendant of one involved in that document, I find these words to be a reminder of what not only this country is about, but what humanity should strive for.

“Do you govern or are you governed?” That question is as relevant today as it was 237 years ago. And whether that question is asked in these (somewhat) United States or elsewhere, it remains central to the basic tenants that we all strive for. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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2 Responses to “Do you Govern or are you Governed?”

  1. Dan Riley Says:

    Kent, I’m in the process of finishing up a book on work environment right now and as I do I’m struck once again how incongruous it is that American work life is so undemocratic–in non-union states willfully so. Through the regimentation of our schools and our workplaces, we really train our citizens to be governed rather than govern.

    • rollingwheelie Says:

      As I tell people all the time, we Boomers are the last generation of Americans who will have a “balanced” education. What I mean by that is, if we had to go through all of the tests students do today and do it in the span of 13 years (or even a typical four-year high school), I think a third of us wouldn’t have made it.

      Here in Michigan, where, as you know, we just became a “right-to-work” state, parents I know are at wits’ end trying to a) figure out how to pay for “public” education and b) wondering what kind of future their kids will have in 20 years.

      The days of graduating high school and getting a job at The Big 3 or Michigan Bell are long over. Young adults today are lucky to go to Community College, let alone a four-year University that costs upwards of $150,000.

      We have been governed, by the wrong people, for quite some time. Therein lies the problem. The solution? That is the $64,000 question.

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