Opinion: Independence and liberty for all Americans


Published: 07-06-2023 7:00 AM

Milli Knudsen lives in Henniker.

I am not an originalist. When the founding fathers set down their carefully crafted words, “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,” they were not actually speaking of the rights of all people.

Women, newly-arrived immigrants, and certainly not slaves were not endowed with the unalienable rights. But few citizens of 1776 questioned the wording. It was enough to be declaring ourselves free of the tyranny of the King of England, a country where many of those founding fathers could trace their heritage.

Today, the tyranny, if you want to call it that, is within this country. It is in a Congress packed with millionaires because to run a political campaign for national office, one must have financial backing on a major scale in order to pay for TV ads, travel to 50 states, staffing for those countless offices where the volunteers dutifully send mailings, make endless calls and field questions about their candidate.

The amount one is paid once in office hardly supports the constant campaigning it takes to remain in office. No ordinary citizen with listening skills and the ability to express ideas clearly stands a chance to get elected. The average voter has to watch the lack of discourse as legislators solve, or in most cases fail to solve, the issues which plague us all.

Even our state legislators, who are mighty in numbers but pitifully paid, spend entirely too much time figuring out how to undo the efforts of those who are trying to effect the change necessary to carry us into the next century. If you want to see real compromise or hear a discussion in a forum that directly affects the outcome, you must attend your annual town meeting. There is the democracy the founding fathers envisioned.

The system of checks and balances put in place by those who formulated this complex government of ours was supposed to give more or less equal power to three segments of government: the president and cabinet members, the lawmakers, and those who ruled on the constitutionality of the laws. The federal judiciary is not supposed to take part in the political directing of society.

As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court is to be independent, impartial, and the upholder of balance during times of social strife. “Righting a wrong of the past” is not the place of a committee of nine seated in Washington, D.C. when it blatantly shows partiality. One is not found to be independent if one is accepting favors and gifts from businesses that come before the Court.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Concord police planning to clear homeless encampment from homeowner’s backyard
‘A giant in life’: With passing of Joe Kasper, a voice of Concord goes quiet
Citing crime, Steeplegate redeveloper seeks green light for demolition
Steeplegate Mall owners gets OK to start partial demolition
Person exposed to measles visited several restaurants, including one in Concord
New Hampshire expects next year's food waste ban to increase diversion to facility market

Balance is needed more than ever when Congress cannot weigh emotion against the need to represent all the citizens of this country. We all rise or no one rises. In order for Americans to pursue happiness and quality of life, which these days includes women, recently-arrived immigrants, the descendants of slaves, and people with a greater variety of life experiences than our founding fathers could have imagined, we need to push forward toward an America which offers independence and liberty for all.

All, meaning all Americans.