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Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The latest from Tripoli? From Cairo? Tehran? ... Philadelphia?
When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.
When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.
When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.
When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.
Whence sprung these words? And when, and what did they portend?
Wait, wait — is this one of those Tea Party manifestos or somethin'?
These lines weren't penned in Tripoli or Cairo or Tehran, nor even in Philadelphia. Rather, they're from Washington — more specifically, Washington-on-the-Brazos — and their portent, and place in time, is found in the document's title:
The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the town of Washington on the 2nd day of March 1836.
But doncha know they could still say, in Egypt of Mubarak, or in Tehran of the Mullahs, or in Tripoli of Kadafi, just what these Texians said of the Mexican government in 1836 — that it "hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrannical government."
Shall it be said of the Egyptians and the Libyans and the Iranians that — as the Texians said of the fellow citizens they were leaving behind in Mexico — "We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government."
It remains to be seen — sadly, to some extent, still even in Mexico.
Anyway, apparently someone finally told our esteemed Commander in Chief that in the Marines Hymn, there's already this line about the "shores of Tripoli," which goes back to this whole 1805 thing when Jefferson was President and he established the first Navy SEALS or something. So really, keeping all our carrier groups out of the Mediterranean hasn't really been all low-key and non-hegemonic the way you say you intended, and it hasn't been fooling anybody. It's just been America acting really stupid again, since sending ships to protect American interests in Libya is exactly the kind of thing the C-in-C has been calling on the Navy and Marines to do since decades before they took the wood out of that old ship that they used to make your very old desk, Mr. Obama. And yeah, then there was that more recent dustup involving some F-111s and Mr. Reagan, but that was during Barry O's hazy daze so he'd kind of forgotten them too (even though Kadafi has been using it as his #1 applause line in every rally during the twenty-plus years since the Infidels of that self-same U.S. Navy penetrated the Line of Death in the Gulf of Sidra).
Now you, Mr. Obama, have just given Kadafi's radical Muslim successors the applause line they will use: "Where were America's mighty aircraft carriers when Kadafi was calling in airstrikes on his own people?" Way to vote "present," Barry. I sure wish the Spirit of Independence Days' Past, in the form of Sam Houston, could pay a nighttime visit to Mr. Obama's dreams.
And I'm glad the Texians in 1836 didn't have to rely on support from someone like you in their efforts to break free from a corrupt and counter-constitutional military dictatorship. Happy Texas Independence Day! "[C]onscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations."
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(1) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Mar 2, 2011 7:54:20 PM | Permalink
Dear Mr. Dyer: The tuition bill for The One's education runs on. I'm sorry to say Westbrook Pegler used the term "Old Bubblehead" for Henry Wallace. How many more are going to die, how much more money wasted to satisfy the swollen vanity of the Left?
At first I thought "Texian" was your own eccentricity. Not so. Small wonder you take pride in your state. Keep it up. We will need all of that spirit we can get in the days ahead. Ask Scott Walker. Abroad, ask the Greens in Iran.
(2) Kerry Jones made the following comment | Mar 2, 2011 9:03:55 PM | Permalink
Thanks for this - as a seventh-generation Texian (descended from one of the Old Three Hundred), my wife and I used to take our young eighth-generation Texians to see the original document in Austin regularly, at least in years when we didn't do a second of March pilgrimage to Washington-on-the-Brazos. *That* is how you write a declaration, friends!
I'm currently an expatriate living in the land of the Hoosiers, but hope to get back to Texas as soon as that can be accomplished - I'm really hoping to spend another Texas Independence Day under those pecans and cottonwoods at (the real) Washington soon!
(3) DRJ made the following comment | Mar 9, 2011 1:34:00 PM | Permalink
I feel the spirit and courage of our Texas ancestors, especially on the 175th Texas Independence Day we celebrated last week. I see immigrants come to Texas from the South and the North and, or the most part, assimilating and adopting our Texas values. Growing up, I saw that spirit and values in America, too, but unfortunately I don't see them as much anymore.
Mr. Koster (#1): I'm sure that Wikipedia is wrong in an important particular in the beginning of its entry on Texians, or at least misleading: The term didn't include only "immigrants from the United States and countries other than Mexico who became residents in the Tejas and Coahuila areas of Mexico, much of which later would be called Texas," but also the Spanish-speaking ethnic Hispanics or mixed Indian-and-Hispanics who'd been born there or who had moved there from earlier-colonized parts of Latin America (including but not limited to Mexico).
Many Texians thus had spoken Spanish from birth, and had surnames like "Seguin" and "Badillo" and "Benavides " and "Esparza." Anglos from the U.S. had become neighbors, countrymen, and even family: Jim Bowie's wife, for example, was Maria Ursula de Veramendi, the daughter of his business partner Juan Martin de Veramendi, who was governor of Coahuila y Tejas from 1832 until 1833. Indeed, three of the signers of the Declaration were José Antonio Navarro, José Francisco Ruiz, and Lorenzo de Zavala. We see their influence, their legacy, preserved in Texas place-names and streets. (This website and this one celebrate the participation of such "Tejanos," the subset of Texians who were of Hispanic descent and language, in the Texas Revolution.)
All were, before March 2, 1836, citizens of Mexico; indeed, the flag that flew over the Alamo was the flag of the Republic of Mexico and its constitution from 1824, which guaranteed (among other things) freedom of religion, and which the despot Santa Anna had overthrown (to, among other things, make Catholicism into a mandatory state religion). So Anglos and Hispanics, English-speakers and Spanish-speakers, made Texas free, and then great, together. The assimilation goes both ways, and these and other races have made modern-day Texas a "melting pot" in the very best possible sense.
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