Risk: Then and Now
According to political factions, the rich in America are evil. They are often called the “1%.” I won’t point out most of them are part of the 1%. I will point out the “founders,” the signers of the Declaration of Independence, were the 1% of their day.
Fifty-six men, who had little to gain and everything to lose, risked their lives so that those living in the colonies could be free to chart their own futures. Among them were successful doctors, lawyers, judges, merchants, land owners, bankers and sheriffs. Their futures were set, but they chose to risk their “lives, fortunes and sacred honors” so that we would be born to freedom, so that our lives and life’s work belonged to us, not England.
The Revolution was begun because those in power chose to bully and ignore those not in power. The Revolution was begun so that WE THE PEOPLE would have the power. What happened?
Have we become comfortable with our servitude? Has public education failed us so miserably that we forget people died so we could decide what we would eat, where we would live, what bag we would use, what straw we would drink from, what we would drive, and what kind of light bulb to use? Have we really gotten that lazy? Are we really incapable of deciding any of those things?
Signing the Declaration was an act of treason, punishable by death. But these “evil” rich men decided risking their lives, their family’s lives, their land and belongings was a price worth paying so they could live free.
At the time of signing, John Hancock already had a bounty on his head. The reason he wrote his name so large was so the Crown would not miss his part in the rebellion. It was the “middle finger salute” of its day. Most of us won’t drive to Annapolis for a day to protect freedom. These evil 1% risked being hung in the public square.
Before any of them signed the Declaration, England had already made them hunted men.
Their homes were plundered, their valuables and livestock destroyed or confiscated. Their families were imprisoned, abused and killed.
Signer John Hart, of New Jersey, never saw his wife and 13 children again after he signed the Declaration of Independence. He was driven from his home, only upon return to find his wife had died and his children gone.
Signer Richard Stockton, a judge from New Jersey, was captured, beaten and starved. He was a broken man both physically and financially. He lived off charity until his death.
There are more, but most of these stories are never told. We hear about the signers who went on to become presidents, senators and governors. With great risk comes great reward. Sometimes with great risk, comes great heartache and death. Each of them knew those risks. Each decided freedom was worth it.
Today, the politically powerful are ginning up envy and jealousy so we will hand them more power. They are telling us we need to sign away our individual sovereignty so “they” can provide for all on an equal footing. That’s the opposite of the American dream.
The point of America isn’t to be dependent on government. Any one of us can become the 1%, if that’s the goal. Most of the people I know want a home to call their own, a family, close friends and enjoyable moments. Most of us aren’t envious of those who have more than we do. We don’t need to sacrifice our lives for freedom; we only need to sacrifice our time. Most of us don’t pit the “haves” against the “have nots” to gain power. Most of us are thankful.
The current battling factions are trying to pit envy and jealousy against freedom and hard work.
Are we still betting on freedom?