Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "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."
They gave you and me a free and
independent America. The history books never told you a lot of what
in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British. We were
subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Perhaps you can
see why our founding fathers had a hatred for standing armies, and
allowed through the Second Amendment for everyone to be armed.
I, through fate or fortune, have never served my country in the military. The sacrifices of these men, and all those that followed and served in our military services giving their time, heart, soul and lives, weigh heavily upon me and I am personally embarassed that I cannot offer an equivalent sacrifice that was made by our forefathers and our veterans. My vote barely counts, my fortune is insufficient to affect even local policies, and our laws prevent me, justly so, from taking more extreme measures, that is, if I even had the courage. I don't know if our country will ever again see the likes of these Patriots.
Our current crop of politicians are drastically different from the Patriots that formed this country. Today's politicians pass laws that provide themselves incredible personal benefits such as private barbers where $ 2.00 gives them a haircut, shave, manicure and a shoe shine, private parking at airport terminals, private dining rooms ($ 6.00 will buy a before lunch cocktail or 2, shrimp cocktail, caesar salad, soup, lobster thermidor and/or prime rib or pheasant or roast duck, desert and a glass of fine wine or 2 or 3, to wash it all down, free private gymnasiums, free dry cleaning and laundry, free stationary and postage, free telephone, free fact-finding junkets all over the world (no Holiday Inns or public transportation for them) free health care for all family members, the greatest pension plan in the Galaxy and of course, fabulous expense accounts to compliment their generous 6 figure salary.
Three things we will NEVER see our politicians vote for: 1 - Term limitations, 2 - Their entrance into the Social Security system, 3 - Flat Tax.
1 - Term limitations means they would have to give up their generous financial benefits, their perks, their fame and their enormous sense of power. They will never deny themselves such splendor.
2 - The politicians constantly agonize over the eminent failure of the social security system. Over half of the employed people in this country are employed by the government. They do not participate in the SS system they have forced upon us. They have their own government pension plan. It is NOT in danger of bankruptcy. To pay for the Viet Nam war and the failed Great Society the congress and President Johnson raided the SS Trust Fund thereby causing the current SS crisis. Saving the SS system is simple. Move all government employees, including the politicians, out of their government pension plan and into the Social Security system with the rest of us.
3 - The main job of all politicians is to spend money. They go to congress, fight over plum committee assignments then pass spending bills all of which are designed to guarantee themselves re-election. (A minor amount of time is spent upon bills controlling trade, commerce and our personal behavior.) In order to obtain the necessary funds to spend, they must tax. With the power to tax, goes the immense power of WHAT to tax. By having this authority, congress can reward campaign contributors, control personal behavior, investment incentives, subsidize certain industries, punish certain industries, form new industries and eliminate those industries they don't like. A flat tax would be fair to everyone. Congress will never voluntarily give away such power.
It saddens and sickens me to see where our country came from and where we are now. Our current pack of politicians are bloated with greed and self-service. If you think any politician is concerned with your personal well being, then I feel sad for you. He wants your vote and your money.
That's the way I see it.