“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.”

These words are from the most important document of American history, our Declaration of Independence, which many have died to defend.

It is sad to think that some who read it only see them as words from a bunch of old dead guys. The comforting thing is there are more people who heed these words and try to live accordingly by taking advantage of what they offer: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness …”

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, many people have traveled great distances, anticipating a enjoyable getaway from the everyday doldrums. They hope to relax and get reacquainted with family and friends.

Beside the usual picnics, parties and fireworks displays, how many people appreciate the meaning of the holiday? How many people will thank the soldiers that defend our inalienable rights? How many take these freedoms for granted, when so many risk their lives to come to this country?

I am often accused of being a Pollyanna, but I’m really just an optimist. I believe rugged individualism can overcome anything. Mom, baseball and apple pie are what we hold near and dear. I grew up in a family with three brothers and a sister. My dad was a truck driver and my mom was home with us until I started high school. They did whatever had to be done to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

At times, my Dad had to work three jobs to make it happen, but never did he ever think of taking a handout. He was brought up to believe that his responsibility was to provide for his family. He rarely had the opportunity to make it to our games or just enjoy a day at the beach.

All through that, we had a summer business in a campground. I started to work at age 9, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner in our general store. I learned that you can be whatever you want if you work hard and play by the rules.

Our legacy as parents is to ensure our kids do better in life than we did. We need to teach our kids respect, personal responsibility and the mindset that you can be anything you want, as long as you work hard to get there. That is the American Dream!

Yes folks, that is what all the Founding Fathers believed: that we all have these same opportunities.

All the talk today of “rights” for people shows we have strayed from the origin of what made this country great. Government has assumed the role as our parents and eroded our inalienable rights by proclaiming that only it can provide the right to everything that affects our daily lives.

The American people are waking up with shows of civil disobedience, with events like the recent tax tea parties. We’re realizing our government is reaching the place England did leading to the American Revolution by over-reaching its authority in every aspect of our lives.

The Founding Fathers also believed if government should return to overbearing, tyrannical means, it is the right and responsibility of the people to restore their right to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness by any means necessary.

It appears our elected officials are not listening to the people and believe they know what is better for us. This is plain arrogance on their part and has awakened the “sleeping giant,” the American spirit.

Just as the rest of the world experienced the American spirit after 9/11, it is my opinion our politicians will be the next should they continue on this destructive path. As was the case with the American Revolution, ordinary people will emerge to perform extraordinary accomplishments.

I will leave you with this Independence Day thought: pay heed to the real heroes that ensure we leave this life better than when we started.

Our parents, brave men and woman of the military and Founding Fathers who had the wisdom and courage to enable us to live in this land with our inalienable rights endowed by our creator.

Scott Lansley is chairman of the Androscoggin County Republican
Committee, a former legislator and current selectman in Sabattus.
E-mail:

[email protected].


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