point of view
July 3, 1991
OUR REVOLUTION IS STILL GOING ON
Overton Love Turner
"Government would not be necessary if all men were angels."
This Thursday, July 4, we Americans once again celebrate our Declaration
of Independence from Great Britain. A majority of us, I suspect, will
consider this a celebration of no great contemporary consequence, and
will rejoice in the notion that the Revolution is over and we won. The
truth is, the American Revolution is still being fought by many aware
and alert Americans. It is by no means over.
We miss the fact because we are thinking in terms of "The War of
the Revolution." That war was only a short operation, a military
action to drive the British army from American territory. The real world
of the revolution began with the truths enunciated In the Declaration
The two Ideals that the architects of the revolution attempted to work
out, were: (1) a system of government that would make it impossible for
a tyrant or dictator ever to gain control over the people and (2) an ethos
where each individual could determine his own goal and happiness. This
was a revolutionary ideal, a complex ideal, and one that has not yet been
realized. We still have work to do.
Even though the Constitution granted men the ideal of human freedom, it
was not practiced. The Indian and Negro were left out. This was a case
of not making effective the ideal that all men were to have freedom and
The Civil War resulted from this failure to respect the meaning of our
Revolution. It almost proved to be the weakness that destroyed us. Failure
to understand the American Revolution is still our greatest weakness.
The enemies of democracy are not just tyrants, but even such a seemingly
innocent thing as technology. Our technology could reduce us to a "beehive."
Bad economic policy could result in an American oligarchy. The population
explosion could strain democratic process beyond endurance.
And these are only a few examples of dangers to be watched. But the greatest
danger of all is the failure of the American public to understand the
principles of the Declaration of Independence—to appreciate, love,
and practice them.
The best way to celebrate Independence Day is to get out your copy of
the Declaration, read it again and meditate upon its wisdom, and make
it a family affair. It is that important to your own good.
As long as one person on the earth is in political chains, we have the
American Revolution to fight. For freedom, the world is still a very dangerous
place. So keep your mind alert and your powder dry although I doubt If
the powder will do much good. Small ants are of little use against a modern
Ate. It is no longer 1776.
Our only hope is education (as Jefferson knew), the perfecting of the
rational mind and the enhancement of morality and good will. And, of course,
a thought-out use of the ballot box.
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