Get out your chisel, folks, we’ve got some changes to make.

June 4, 2008

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

So begins our Declaration of Independence. For those of you who do not know, I have a huge, awe-filled, love for the Declaration of our American Independence. Every time I read those simple, well-chosen words, the strength and emotion behind them set me shivering. Thomas Jefferson, the author of such a masterpiece, is a man whose writings I look up to, and aspire to, (and drool over, but I won’t get started.) I have written multiple essays, and a research paper on the specific topic, ‘Thomas Jefferson: Author of the Declaration of Independence.’ By no means am I a expert, but the more I research this topic, the more I am interested.

I am taking English 101 at our local community college over the summer. This class consists of four guys and seven girls, with a widely varying range of age, interest, and views. During class this evening we were discussing the topic of our first essay, The Declaration of Independence, through a series of questions asked by the class. Right off the bat, the first question, asked by Classmate John was this showstopper, “Why should the Declaration be re-written?”


I’ve been prepared to be offended in college; I’ve been prepared to defend my faith, and my life style, but the Declaration of Independence? I thought we were all in agreement on this point. The question made me want to shout, “Is nothing sacred?!” …but then again, I don’t know if I want to hear their answers to that question. Anyway, as my mind began to settle down after the initial shock it suffered, I began to listen to all the grievances my classmates so easily poured out against the Declaration.

The Declaration is just too hard to read and comphrehend. Classmate Jane said, “I have so much going on I have no time to think.” …and so, no time to read the Declaration. Would this be easier?

“We say these right things are obvious, that all people are the same, that they all have rights that can’t be taken away, some of which are, to live, to do whatever we want, and to let loose.”

My classmates argued that they don’t have the time to decipher what is being said (gosh, TJ, u should’ve planned 4 the futr. *RME.*) Hey, I know what they mean (unfortunately.) In our world of fast food, ‘the Easy Life’ which you coincidentally find on ‘Easy Street’, running parallel to that road paved with good intentions, and ‘the bigger the better’ mentality, there isn’t time for any old fashioned mumbo-jumbo. Yeah…well, too bad! There is a reason we’re still reading, or attempting to read, this document! Not only did Jefferson work excruciatingly hard on the declaration, but it has impacted our world and continues to be of inspiration and influence. Also, newsflash: things are not supposed to be easy every moment of every day. In fact, I seem to find (curse my Irish luck) that when something is easy, it is often wrong!

“The Declaration should be re-written because it is out dated and doesn’t apply to today…and should be edited, maybe have the God part taken out.” This was another complaint. I see the Declaration as a measuring rod from 1776. When I read it, I try to measure how close we are, as a country, to the standard our Founding Fathers set for their new country. (Oh, by the way, did you know that the term ‘Founding Fathers’ is Politically Incorrect? Yeah, another tidbit I learned in class today…the PC term is ‘Founders.’) Do we still believe,

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, 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.”

…or should I say,

“When people are trying to take our rights away, we need to stop it, and make new rules, formed on values, and set them up in a way so that everyone will be happy.”

The Declaration helps us to remember our roots, why we are blessed to have such an abundant and rich life. The Declaration still applies today as we are still Americans. *sigh* Oh, and that bit about the Separation of Church and State? Ay yi yi. How can we, as Americans and humans, honestly still believe that taking God out will solve our problems?

“Amend the Declaration!” My goodness, I laughed a little on the inside when I heard this. The Declaration is not policy. It is not the Constitution. The Declaration simply is what it is: a declaration of American freedom. It is because of the amazing way in which Jefferson conveyed this simple truth that the Declaration became so big in the eyes of America. There is absolutely no point in amending the Declaration, or writing a ‘Part Two.’ As my mother said, the proof is available for all to see, the Declaration of Independence did what it set out to do and did it to a level of excellence that is rarely seen.

As I was listening to this list of complaints being rationally explained by my classmates, I kept coming back to, “Edit something that Thomas Jefferson wrote?”


Are you nuts?! Thomas Jefferson is arguably one of the brightest minds in the history of the United States (personally, I would say ‘in the history of the whole world,’ *big sweeping arm motions* but I’m a little biased towards my guy.) The proposition of editing the Declaration sounds so arrogant, so immature…so now. It would be like me, on a whim, taking a chisel to Michelangelo’s Pieta. Not a pretty thing, I assure you.

Now that I am reflecting on the events of the evening, I am proud of how I acted in class. (Actually I’m proud of how I am posting here in such a calm and restrained manner as well.) Indeed, I argued that, in fact, the Declaration of Independence does not need to be re-written. I was the, uh, only one who argued for this side, although I have a very strong suspicion that the Professor shares my view. More importantly, I did not go for the kill. Partly because that wouldn’t be the Christian thing to do, and partly because this is only the third class and I want to get an A in English 101. Even as the swirling haze of indignation started to fill my brain, I doubted that saying my classmates were acting thoughtlessly and pompously would secure my A.

Oh, another question asked in class was, “Why does history repeat itself?” We’re human beings born with original sin in dire need of a savior! …but I’m not going to go there.


5 Responses to “Get out your chisel, folks, we’ve got some changes to make.”

  1. Skootle Says:

    Wow, good for you Dev. I don’t think that I would be able to think as clearly, (or post as calmly) as you are able to after that. Good for you for defending your point of view, and being able to deal with the college kids who think they are so very very worldly.

  2. Splendor Says:

    Hey Sarah, thanks for commenting. 🙂 Lol…you should have seen me last night right after class…not so much that I was mad MAD, but it just struck me as so utterly ridiculous. Heheh. (Aiden told me you called, I’m planning on calling you soon!)

  3. Mary Says:

    hey dev, great work! keep it up! your next article should be “Homeschooled Sophomore vs. College Kids!”

  4. Angie Mc Says:

    I’m proud of you, dear. Keep up the good work!


  5. Splendor Says:

    *aww* Thank you, Mom.

    And thank you, too, Mary. Lol, I don’t think I have enough patience for THAT article! 😛

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