• August 6, 2020

LANDGRAF: Exercise independence this weekend - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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LANDGRAF: Exercise independence this weekend

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Posted: Sunday, July 5, 2020 2:45 am

This weekend we celebrate our independence. At this time 244 years ago, a group of British colonies banded together to rebel against the Empire of Great Britain, declaring themselves free and independent states.

But not all of the colonies agreed that independence from King George was the best path forward. In fact, five of the British colonies in North America (East Florida, West Florida, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Quebec) did not sign the Declaration of Independence. The thirteen colonies that did sign, however, could hardly agree on anything other than a desire to be free and independent from British rule.

There were deep religious differences from colony to colony, along with economies and governments unique to each one. The colonists themselves were divided over the issue of independence, some wishing to remain loyal to Great Britain.

The Declaration of Independence is a testament to what can be achieved when people come together to put aside their minor differences in a quest for freedom and self-governance. The words penned by Thomas Jefferson nearly 250 years ago do not carry the weight of law, but they are full of power and forever changed the course of human history, sparking revolutions against tyrannical rulers even to this day.

Jefferson turned the entire world order on its head with just a few phrases: “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. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

We continue to strive to live up to these words, which apply to every person. By insisting that governments only have the power given to them by the governed, the Declaration of Independence cleared the way for the establishment of a system of government that could eventually guarantee equality under the law for every man, woman and child. We continue our work to perfect this notion.

As we celebrate our Independence Day, let us reflect on the words that birthed our nation, and be thankful for the men and women who paid the ultimate price to defend it. And after the weekend is over, be sure to exercise your right to vote! Early voting for the July 14 election has already started. To find your voting location, go online and visit: votetexas.gov. (Please note: not all West Texans have elections to vote in for this runoff. It depends on your precinct or county.)

God bless Texas!

Odessa, TX

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