Hot dogs and the Declaration of Independence

·2 min read

Hot dogs, high gas prices, and a call to remembrance. Such is American life this July 2022. The grilling out is by choice, the high gas prices are unnecessarily imposed.

As we celebrate the Spirit of ‘76, it’s good to breathe deep the vital breath of freedom before the atmosphere of liberty becomes too constricted.

Our founders were not afraid of the people, they were afraid of the tyranny of government. That was the predicate for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed. In the leisure of our Independence Day holiday, we may forget our treasured Declaration was a radical document. Consider this passage from Jefferson’s pen: “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (the security and protection of our God-given rights) it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” No wonder Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address mentions government only once and people thrice.

A callous disregard for the invasion unfolding on our southern border, stoking an inflationary economy, upending our stature as a net energy exporter, and giving a blind eye to unlawful election practices places our government on thin ice by any standard of our Founders. Add to this the recent red flag laws that are themselves a red flag and this public policy drift becomes a recipe for America’s undoing.

Where are the prophets of old when we need them most? They certainly spoke truth to power in their day. One such oracle was the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. His words have relevance today: “they have treated the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace.”

When national leaders ignore the plight of the people, exposing their willful intent to force working men and women to choose between high gas prices that overburden family budgets and systemically imperil our nation’s economy, or purchase a $56,000 electric-powered vehicle, they dress the peoples’ wound lightly and fail the civics test instructive of our founding documents.

When this happens and the people lose faith, we must remember the safeguard of our liberty—the ballot box. This is the vehicle the Founders put in place to “alter or abolish” governments that are obstructive of protecting the peoples’ rights. And that ballot box must be airtight—secure and free, as free and fair as the air we breathe.

Cameron S. Brown is president of the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute and a former Michigan State Senator. Follow him at

Cameron Brown
Cameron Brown

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Opinion