Two hundred and thirty eight years ago, on July 2, John Adams led the Continental Congress to declare the independence of 13 American states. Two days later, representatives of the 13 colonies ratified the text of the Declaration of Independence, written by a committee headed by the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson.
What followed was revolutionary.
A revolution is a point in time where there is a fundamental shift in thinking. In science, revolutionary discoveries have produced the profound revelations that led us from a simplistic earth-centric view of the universe to one of wondrous scale and complexity.
On Independence Day, it was the realization that in a free society, all citizens ought to be treated as equals. As a consequence, no minority should have greater influence over others and there should be no system of taxation without meaningful representation.
Our forefathers not only had the vision for a country, though; they also foresaw the ways in which the republic — which would be formed 14 years later under our Constitution — might one day fall back into the hands of a few.
“Sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.” – George Washington, 1796 Farewell Address
That day has arrived. We have lost our republic. Yet, we can also take it right back using the very same tools given to us by the Founders.
It is time for a fundamental shift in thinking. Instead of a politics of resignation and acceptance, we must awaken that will of rejection. We must find the strength to say that enough is enough and that now is the moment for taking action.
For if we do not act, the legacy of our time will be that of a society that had everything it took to do what is right, but instead chose to stand idle while our nation was ransacked by the self-serving interests of a small few.
The system is broken, and we are the only ones who can fix it.
It is not just the corrupting dependence between our representatives and the funders of campaigns. It is not just the politicians that have made a career of getting re-elected. It is not just out of control partisanship.
Instead, it is all of these things and more which has produced a system of failure that if unchecked will push our country to the brink of collapse.
We must act to support leaders that are independent of the current broken system and who understand how to use our Constitution to reclaim our republic.
We must act to fund our own campaigns so that these independents will not become dependent on the influence of a small minority. We must also act to restart productive dialogue, to lend a hand where needed, and to ultimately once again participate in a system of representative democracy.
So on this July 4, I propose that we re-declare our independence from the modern day duopoly of partisan politics and wealthy insiders.
There are many ways that we can begin. We can walk in support of comprehensive campaign finance reform. We can help kickstart a fund for candidates committed to this cause. We can also pledge to support independent candidates who promise to represent everyone equally regardless of their political affiliation.
It is actions like these that will mark the beginning of a rebellion against the status quo. It will take many more, but inaction should no longer be an option. After all, as Jefferson notes, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”
Bruce Skarin is the Massachusetts independent candidate for U.S. Senate. To Learn more about his campaign visit www.bruce2014.org.