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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We Hold These Truths ...........

Today is the 4th of July, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation as documented by the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The genius of our Founders has allowed the United States of America to provide more freedom, liberty and wealth to more people than by any other government in history.  When we hold to the principles outlined in the Declaration America is at its best.  We we lose focus on those ideals our country and its citizens are diminished.

"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,……"

The latest Real Clear Politics average poll results show that less than 18% of the population approve of Congress performance. That would not meet anyone's definition of "consent of the governed".  I believe that at least part of that disapproval is a result of the loss of focus on the Founders instructions.  Personal freedom, and that includes the responsibility for our choices, is the essence of American exceptionalism.

Although not as well known and quoted as the Declaration of Independence, one of the fathers of aviation, Wilbur Wright, had some things to say about the fundamentals of operating his new machine.

“What is chiefly needed is skill rather than machinery.”- Wilbur Wright
“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.”- Wilbur Wright
“Do not let yourself be forced into doing anything before you are ready.”- Wilbur Wright
The inventors of the airplane understood from the beginning that the machine was an extension of the human. The pilot and his choices were responsible for the outcome of the flight.  The Wright Brothers had just invented a tool that would change the world like no other since the wheel, yet Wilbur knew that the human was the master of the tool and not the reverse.  
When humans, whether in the role of pilot or citizen, abdicates their responsibility of control, the outcome diminishes.  In either role we need to be knowledgeable, informed, and engaged.  If we aren't careful, we could end up in San Francisco instead of Philadelphia.
Just as the words of our Founders are true today, so are the words of Wilbur Wright.  
Happy 4th of July.

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