Posted: January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized
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This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, LA the week of 1/2/2017

On August 2nd of this year, 241 years ago, fifty-six men sat down and signed the Declaration of Independence. While we celebrate July 4th as the signing of the document, it was adopted on that date.  The actual signing took place a month later.  The question that really needs to be asked is why did these men even sign the document.

All were well placed in society. They weren’t inclined to roam the back streets, drinking and brawling.  The life provided to them was comfortable and it was under British rule that they enjoyed this relaxed lifestyle.  These men that carved out one of the greatest documents in the history of the world were well educated.  President of the conference, John Hancock was a very wealthy businessman while Ben Franklin was not only a famous inventor but a writer and an influential foreign diplomat. In all, twenty-four were lawyers, eleven were merchants and nine were farmers; men with plantations.  They all were all well placed and there was no question in anyone’s mind that they were committing treason when they signed the Declaration of Independence. In essence, they had signed their own death warrants and what happened to these brave brothers of freedom; the sons of anarchy that were the first American patriots that forged the direction for our country.

The British captured five of the founding fathers and tortured them before they died. Two had sons killed and two sons were captured.  Nine of the signers gave the ultimate sacrifice and died of either wounds in battle or hardship.  Carter Braxton of Virginia had his ships sieved. He had to sell his plantation to pay his debt and died broke.  Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton had their homes vandalized and ransacked. Francis Lewis had his property destroyed and his wife was thrown in jail where she died a few months later.  John Hart fled from his dying wife’s bedside.  He lived in the forest and in caves for a year. Upon his return he discovered his wife had died and his thirteen children had disappeared.  He died two weeks later.

So why had these men done this incredible act for our fledgling nation. They had all taken a pledge that they lived by.  “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”  In actuality they were men of honor and they stood by what they had vowed.

Today, we have a new leadership in Washington. The cabinet has a different look than cabinets in the past.  Many of the members that are now just being nominated are successful businessmen who have acquired vast amounts of wealth and have known great power.  Many have never been politicians and many have a different skill set than those of previous cabinet members. Some are wealthy, so wealthy that they can live a life of luxury in their later years that few could only dream of.  Most have talents that would allow them jobs throughout the world that could provide some sort of a self-required power injection.  But for some reason the men and women nominated for the Trump cabinet are in it for another reason.

General John Kelly is a forty-five year combat Marine. He was head of Southern Command, the same command that General Norman Schwarzkopf headed when he lead the coalition forces during Desert Storm.  In addition to his leadership abilities he has a personal tragedy that emphasizes his  commitment to public service.  He recently stated about his son, “He had decided somewhere between the day he was born and 07:19, 9 November 2010, that it was worth it to him to risk everything — even his life — in the service of his country.”  General Kelly’s son was killed in Afghanistan yet with a comfortable life ahead and the loss of a son behind him he has accepted to be the head of Homeland Security.

This is only one of a large number of citizens that have taken the call for public service. The CEO of Chevron is among these; the leader of one of the largest companies in the world. Men and women taking cuts in pay and even more pressure than they have ever experienced are saying yes to serving our country and yet many Americans are asking why are these people doing this; why do we want all these self-made rich people deciding what is best for our country.  Ask the founding fathers, they can explain what patriotism is all about.


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