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Freedom - are we asleep at the wheel?

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It was an honor to participate in the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Grimes County courthouse steps July 1. I appreciate Brent Cahill, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and Elections Administrator Lucy Ybarra for making it happen.

Thinking back to pre-9/11 days but after the controversy of Vietnam had faded from the national consciousness, I think the significance of Independence Day was taken for granted. It was another opportunity for beer, barbecue and a mattress sale. We hadn’t had a war on our soil in 136 years and the average John and Susie Q. Citizen weren’t attuned to the incremental and subtle societal changes taking place. Not only that, they lacked understanding of the degree of patience of the enemies of freedom and liberty who are in it for the long game.

I think the events of the last couple of years have caused many to take notice of Benjamin Franklin’s prophetic response when asked if we have a republic or a monarchy. The elder statesman replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Franklin’s prophecy didn’t end there. He also said, “The first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterward. The executive will be always increasing here, as elsewhere, till it ends in a monarchy.” It’s my opinion we’ve come full circle from 1776.

I’m a card-carrying Daughter of the American Revolution through the bloodline of a soldier in Washington’s Continental Army. There are many Sons and Daughters out there who don’t realize their connection to our founding until middle-age when they desire to learn more about their ancestors through genealogical research. I found three additional patriots and no indication that anyone in my family supported the Crown. Why they didn’t is documented in a book in the archives at Duke University.

In his book, “A Historical Sketch of New Hope Church,” my sixth-great uncle Reverend David Irvin Craig wrote the following about the period circa 1703.

“But at this very time and long before, Scotland was the scene of endless commotions, oppressions, tyranny and bloodshed, arising from continued attempts to suppress conscientious convictions of truth and liberty, and many of the Scotch, who were almost exclusively Presbyterians, first fled to Holland and thence to Ireland, where they remained a number of years, when, by fresh oppressions they were driven to seek religious liberty in another clime; and, coming directly from Ireland to this country, they were called ‘Scotch-Irish.’”

Hearing the injustices of 1776 read aloud on the courthouse steps, my thoughts shifted to current enemies, foreign and particularly those domestic. There were glaring moments of déjà vu such as the overriding of Governors’ laws exposing the colonies to invasion, taxation without representation, obstructing the administration of justice, ignoring the will of the colonies, not holding Crown troops accountable for crimes against the colonies, depriving citizens of jury trials, inciting domestic insurrection, and subjecting the colonies to foreign jurisdictions “unacknowledged by our laws.”

At least four of my ancestors were willing to risk “their lives, their fortunes and sacred honor” to secure the right to be free and independent states. Yes, 246 years have passed since they laid it all on the line and I am personally determined not to surrender the principles bequeathed to me, most importantly that “we the people” through the States created the federal government, not the other way around.

Knowledge IS power and one person, one vote DOES matter. It behooves us as a free people to heed the words of Thomas Jefferson who wrote, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.