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Why the Declaration of Independence Is So Important to Us Today

By Jim Gillespie | July 3, 2012

With the 4th of July now upon us, if you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence lately, I invite you to do so by clicking here. When you read even just the first two paragraphs of it, up to the point where it begins listing the Founding Fathers’ specific grievances against the King of Great Britain, you might find yourself thinking, "What this document is saying is just as relevant to ourselves as citizens today, as it was back in 1776."

While we live within a great nation, with so many wonderful benefits that we experience here as American citizens, I sometimes wonder what our Founding Fathers would say if they could come back to us today, observe our government, our politicians, and all of the special interest groups influencing our government from behind the scenes. This is one roundtable discussion that I would definitely want to participate in!

In many respects, it seems that the grievances our Founding Fathers had against the King of Great Britain, mirror in many ways what many of us feel towards the powerful people who are really influencing our own government from behind the scenes. As a nation, so many of us believe in the right of the individual to determine their own destiny. But what many of us really don’t care for are the people who don’t have to play by the same rules that we ourselves must play by—people who have positioned themselves so powerfully behind the scenes, that they can do things that many of us would consider to be criminal, or at the very minimum, extremely inappropriate…and constantly get away with it. This in its own way seems to mirror exactly what the King of Great Britain was doing from the Founding Fathers’ perspective, and the Founding Fathers didn’t like it either.

When writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson made it clear that when people feel that their government is treating them unfairly, that the people have the right to change their government, or abolish it in favor of a new government.

During my lifetime, I’ve never experienced such a time when so many people believe that their government isn’t representing them very effectively, and that it’s instead effectively representing the very powerful special interest groups. Our media, in many people’s opinion, is doing a great job of representing these special interest groups, too, in the stories that they decide to report on, the spin that they put on the stories, and the stories that they decide not to report on, too.

But while this may all seem like a relatively new development to many of us, I must offer up the following quote about this from Thomas Jefferson himself:

"Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle."

Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, June 11, 1807

Here’s another quote from Thomas Jefferson that I believe has great relevance to all of us today, as many of us have discovered the great control and influence that our banking and financial institutions have been exerting over all of us:

"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Taylor in 1816

I believe that Thomas Jefferson would be turning over in his grave if he could see how our banking and financial institutions are operating today. There are so many indiscretions that have been committed by these institutions towards us in recent years, not the least of which is the swapping of their own toxic assets as repayment for all of the bailout money they’ve been receiving from us.

If you’ve wondered how these financial institutions have been able to pay back the bailout money they’ve been receiving during these tough economic times, when so many businesses have been struggling to make money and pay off their own debts, in many situations the explanation has been quite simple. These financial institutions have been allowed to exchange their toxic, worthless assets, dollar-for-dollar, to payoff the bailout money that they’ve been receiving from us. So we as the taxpayers have been funding them with their bailout "loans", and then in exchange these institutions been giving us their toxic, worthless assets to payback these loans.

With this in mind, I’ve recently discovered a 27-minute video interview featuring Bill Moyers, Matt Taibbi, and Yves Smith, discussing much about what our financial institutions have been doing…and completely getting away with. If you haven’t kept up with this information, and you’d like to stay informed on it, I recommend that you watch this video, which you can watch by clicking here.

In addition, writer Matt Taibbi has done an incredible job of uncovering some very important stories from within the financial arena. His article, "The Real Housewives of Wall Street", told us how, as part of all of the financial bailouts, two wives of top Wall Street executives were given $220 million in non-recourse loans for their own personal investment purposes. Do you think you could you use an additional $220 million right now in non-recourse money?

Along with this, Matt’s recent article, "The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia", shows how the nation’s biggest banks were taking part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy, costing cities and municipal governments tons of money all across America, until the perpretrators were finally caught on tape. (Click here to read the article.)

As we celebrate the 4th of July here in 2012, the Declaration of Independence is now more relevant within our lifetime than it ever has been. Most everyone who I talk with wants our government to be more responsive to our demands, and they’re getting tired of all of the rhetoric they’ve been hearing from both our politicians, and from our media.

We as American citizens must hold our government and our politicians accountable, and we must fight for the kind of government that our Founding Fathers originally intended for us.

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