13 petitions

Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Congressman Gary Palmer

The Declaration of Reasoned Respect

Though now holding such little sway in the prevailing culture, there remains the haunting dreams of the people we once were:  "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." Make no mistake, the ideas of the Declaration of Independence changed the world forever... in so many beautiful ways. Moreover, so many have paid the ultimate price to ensure that this bedrock is never forgotten. Therefore, if these founding principles still matter, our nation's schoolchildren must be able to hear, consider, and speak such thoughts without fear or intimidation. After all, there is no need to spend millions of our tax dollars protecting a piece of parchment in our National Archives Museum if we can no longer act upon what is written upon it. Closer to home, imagine your young child being told that she cannot express thoughts about our "Creator" in the classroom. For many of us, this is an easy assignment, as we have vividly experienced such scenarios. If our children can no longer speak of our "Creator," on what basis can their subsequent "Rights" be ensured? Think for a moment, this prevailing reality is irrefutable evidence that the children have already lost many of The Declaration's guarantees: being able to explore the essential essence of "Life," being able to experience energizing "Liberty," and being able to soar in personal "Pursuits." Let us take inventory of the sad, and often tragic, state of affairs in our nation's public schools. (There is a bounty of evidence regarding the manifest failures to create what Thomas Jefferson insisted was our responsibility: the sustained presence of "an enlightened citizenry.") If we are going to "live up to the full meaning of our creed" (particularly in the inner city), our children must obviously know what our creed is! Yes absolutely, we must restore the beacon of truth that has inspired the soul from its very first reading in 1776. Today, our children need to be able to think anew within the paradigm of possibility… to be illumined by the still "self-evident truths" that kindle vision, purpose, and abiding hope. The Declaration of Reasoned Respect: “In order to secure the Blessing of Liberty, we wholeheartedly embrace the Founding Principles enshrined by America’s Founders within The Declaration of Independence. As these principles have brought empowering light to the world since their inception, it is right and proper that we declare our allegiance and reliance upon these same principles. We remember that these are the “self-evident truths” that gave birth to our enduring Constitutional government... deriving its exceptional powers from "we the people," not the edicts of kings and tyrants. Almost a year after enacting his Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his infamous Gettysburg Address wherein he urged all Americans to consider the principles that birthed our nation: "a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Remembering our moral foundations helped end a bloody civil war as well as the scourge of slavery around the world. Roughly 100 years later, Dr. Martin Luther King again illumined America's founding creed... and inspired the masses to live up to its full meaning. Since they were first penned in 1776, countless brave and often nameless souls who have fought, bled and died for these enduring principles. Today, upon this rock of remembrance, we return to the wellspring of Life and Liberty for the sake of our youngest citizens… those in “self-evident” need of our great legacy of moral imagination and its ability to empower the human spirit. From this day forward, we open the doors of Freedom to all our public schools... allowing students to stand upon the shoulders of giants... inspiring them to seize their own greatness. In this pursuit, all teachers engaged in the noble goal of "an enlightened citizenry" may stand firmly upon America's Founding Principles without anxiety or fear. Yes, the First Amendment becomes operational: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And so, all students are free to think and speak without intimidation or coercion: The worldview of our Founders (and most parents) will not be routinely disparaged or deemed somehow out-of-bounds. Teachers simply stay within the parameters of our founding documents. Clearly, no “religion" is “established" by using the nomenclature of our Founders. Today, in all facets of the educational endeavor, "Reasoned Respect" is provided to all citizens. From this day forward, the servants of America’s future are at liberty to employ the language, embody the worldview, and amplify the dreams of America’s Founders. To these heroic ends, inclusive terms such as “Creator,” “Nature's God,” and “Divine Providence,” may be used with the same ease as when speaking of “Mother Nature,” ”Father Time,” and “Darwinian Evolution.” When everyone is free to speak, everyone is free to think. Clearly, when everyone is thinking and expressing their thoughts, everyone has far greater opportunities to actually learn… and to know why they are learning! This is how we become "an enlightened citizenry:" The wonderment, hope and enduring virtue found in the transcendent truths of our great nation will enlighten a new generation. Like our Founders, students have access to our foundations for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. In daily application, there is the opportunity for genuine deliberation, the refinement of one's thinking, and even the possibility of gaining clarity and conviction. Consider, the “inalienable” American standard provides a moral basis for terminology such as “Good” and “Bad” or “Right” and “Wrong.” These core concepts may now be used with the same degree of comfort as the relative terms of “Appropriate” and “Inappropriate” After all, the history of the world and the light of reason verify the “Goodness” and “Rightness” of our founding principles. More directly, parents still desire that their children be “Good” and choose the “Right” path, not merely be deemed “appropriate” by a public official. And so, we now restore real tolerance and inclusion to our public schools, as we embrace both our Founding Principles and all the people they serve. Without regard to corresponding zip codes, we infuse each of our public schools with the instruments for inspiration and empowerment of the total child... heart, mind and soul. On this new day, it is with steadfast optimism and great anticipation that we come together as Americans... to be “One Nation, under God, Indivisible... with Liberty and Justice for all.” With all of our citizens focused upon the ultimate goal of an “enlightened citizenry,” let us create the best schools in the world! May the hopes and promises of "The American Dream,” "The Good Life," and even the “Shining City on a Hill” be reinvigorated within all of us. Today, we hear President Lincoln's closing words echoing, "That we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Today, we seize this gift of great price and the blessed opportunities therein. Today, we reclaim our duties as citizens!" Implementation: How would the greater purposes of The Declaration of Reasoned Respect be put into practice?" There would surely be many subsequent steps, as young citizens explore these formally unknown documents. However, the initial "action point" of the Bill is easily accomplished, as the Bill requires that large copies of the vital portions of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution be permanently exhibited in every public classroom in America. To promote consideration and clarification, the Bill also requires The Declaration of Reasoned Respect to be placed alongside America's founding charters. (The excerpts from our founding documents are attached below.) After all, every participant in our educational system needs to know the founding principles that call us all to this grand endeavor of "an enlightened citizenry" in the first place. All citizens should understand the meaning of the words that gave birth to their country... the only country ever founded upon such moral propositions. Moreover, beyond just knowing more about the documents, there will be many ramifications in understanding what they mean... a cornucopia of good fruits to be born in countless young lives! Upon these still "self-evident truths," we will build the long envisioned shining city on a hill. Today, "we the people," proclaim with strong and clear voice, "Let Freedom Ring!" Essential Text from The Declaration of Independence: "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. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." Essential Text from The Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Jamie Aiken
17 supporters