A New Declaration of Independence-Bill Winter, CO-06
by BGW1964, Sun May 28, 2006 at 02:34:12 PM EDT
My name is Bill Winter and I'm running for Congress against Tom Tancredo in Colorado's Congressional District Six. You can find out more about me at our website at http://winterforcongress.com/
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, a day which is set apart to pay appropriate honor to those who have died to defend America, I think it is equally appropriate to reflect on what America is supposed to be and what it has actually become. In the course of that reflection it occurs to me that perhaps it is time for a new Declaration of Independence for America.
As we all no doubt learned--I hope--in high school, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following:
"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, 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." (all punctuation and capitalization are President Jefferson's, not mine)
Abraham Lincoln stated something very similar some 80 years later when he wrote:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
It is difficult, and perhaps arrogant, to try to improve on the words of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. But as I reflect on five years of absolute power in the hands of people like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, Tom Tancredo and the rest of their band of Beltway Bandits, I can not help but wonder if we have not lost our way, and if we have not somehow lost sight of what they intended and what they hoped for.
It is in that light that I wonder if it isn't time for a new Declaration of Independence--a Declaration of Independence from hate and fear and hopelessness and inequality. A Declaration of Independence for ALL AMERICANS, and not just for men of power and wealth. I propose that we stand up for a new Declaration of Independence that recognizes women, that recognizes people of color, that recognizes those who have no wealth and no power, and that recognizes people of all sexual orientations!
I wonder how we came to be a Nation, where in 2006, women are still second class citizens, still don't earn the same pay for a day's work that a man does, and still don't occupy the seats of power that men do. And I wonder why, in 2006, we are still talking about who should control a woman's body, when the answer is perfectly clear that every woman should have the absolute right to make her own choices about her own body!
I wonder how we came to be a Nation, where in 2006, an African-American child, or a Hispanic child, or a poor child still doesn't have access to the American Dream! And I wonder why, in 2006, we are having a national argument over the proposition, put forward by the likes of my opponent, that Hispanic people are somehow a grave danger to America, and that people with brown skin are "invading" and threatening the very fabric of America, when every Hispanic person that I know is good and decent and hard working and respectful and even reverent.
And I wonder how we came to be a Nation, where in 2006, it's okay to openly discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans, good people who work hard and pay their taxes and only want the same freedoms the rest of us take for granted!
I guess I'm just not very smart because I don't get it. I want someone to explain this to me. I want to know what qualities necessary to being a parent do they think gay and lesbian Americans lack? What qualities necessary to having a loving, committed relationship do they think gay and lesbian Americans lack? What qualities necessary to being a soldier do they think gay and lesbian Americans lack?
I was an orphan. I wasn't adopted until I was five years old. I was also a Marine, and I served in the Navy. Two years ago I donated a kidney to my sister in law. As an orphan I just wanted parents who would love and care for me, and sexual orientation and even race were irrelevant. As a Sailor and a Marine I wanted colleagues I could count on to do their jobs and to be there when I needed them. And though I have not asked her, I suspect that all my sister in law wanted was a kidney that worked and would give her back her life, and that whether it came from me, or from a person of color, or from a gay or lesbian person really didn't matter very much!
I believe that gay and lesbian Americans can be every bit as loving and caring as parents as straight people can. I believe that gay and lesbian Americans offer no threat to the institution of marriage. I believe that gay and lesbian Americans can be every bit as good a soldier as a straight person can. And at the end of the day, it really comes down to this: Do we really believe in the Constitution? Do we really believe in the Declaration of Independence?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal..." Do we really believe that as a Nation, or do we not? Does the Constitution really apply to ALL Americans, or will we carve out certain kinds of Americans and say "No, you don't count and it's okay to openly discriminate against you!"
I know one thing with absolute certainty. I know I didn't give ten years of my life to serving America in the Marine Corps and the Navy only to stand by and do nothing as hate and discrimination are written into the law! I'm going to stand and fight--fight for equality, fight for what is right, fight for freedom and equality for ALL Americans, fight by any means necessary. I'm going to defend the Constitution, and America, against the likes of Tom Tancredo.
And I'm going to defend the American flag as well. Those red stripes on OUR flag represent the blood of patriots, shed to defend America. And let me tell you something, a lot of that blood was shed by gay and lesbian Americans, and by people of color, and by poor people, and even by people who weren't citizens--people who had to hide who they were, or who were not given equal rights under the law, even as they died for our Country! That's wrong and it has to stop!
I believe we need a new kind of Democrat, one who doesn't just pander to the unrepresented every two years to get their support for re-election. There will be no "drive by" constituencies for me. I will stand up and fight for absolute equality for ALL Americans of all kinds in all circumstances no matter what. I will fight for a new Declaration of Independence, one that covers ALL people equally. That is what it means to me to be a Progressive! I hope you will join me!
Bill G. Winter
Cross posted at http://www.dailykos.com/