Tuesday, July 04, 2006

35 Words That Can Still Change The World

Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the United States. It was on this day in Philadelphia, two hundred and thirty years ago, that a group of individuals made a bold declaration to the world. They wrote,

"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."

35 words.

It was a radical notion, a notion that required many years of bloody fighting before the words could be transformed from page to action. And even then, there were significant imperfections along the way. Yet here we sit over two centuries later and those 35 words remain among our most cherished values.

If I were to take a straw poll on just about any street in the country, I'm confident that most would agree that these 35 words are in many ways our lasting legacy to humankind. It's a legacy that I am proud to be associated with, if only by luck of birth.

Now pretend for a moment that a place existed where:

- Families were restricted by the State to having just one child.

- The only churches one could attend without fear of imprisonment were those deemed as "patriotic churches."

- Citizens could be detained and imprisoned for up to three years without charge.

- Over 6,000,000 people existed in forced labour prison camps.

- The government owned over $260 billion dollars of the U.S. debt, the largest of any foreign country.

- They enjoyed a $200 trade SURPLUS with the United States.

- Their infrastructure was such that they were quickly challenging the United States as the worlds largest consumer of oil.

Oh, and one more thing. Imagine that this place is also a nuclear power with a very large arsenal.

And now the reality check.

Would you be shocked if I told you that such a place does exist? Or that the United States and most of us, probably including you, are helping to make it happen? I hope that you would be indignant, outraged and proclaim me a liar. Sadly, the last would not be true.

All of these statements apply to the Peoples Republic of China.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, China has an estimated population of
1,313,973,713, which accounts for a little over 20% of all people on the planet earth (6,525,170,264). They hold a significant trade surplus with the United States and in turn own a substantial portion of our debt. Why is this a problem? Well, as the BBC put it, "Should China cut its US dollar holdings, this could drive up long-term yields on US bonds, which could in turn put pressure on interest rates." Translation: massive inflation. Our largest competitor for oil has the ability to significantly impact our economy to the negative. But you want to know something? That's the least of my cares. Because even if they did, we would still live in relative freedom.

You should certainly be aware of the economic threat that China poses, but on this Independence Day, I want you to remember that over 20% of our fellow humans beings, in THIS ONE COUNTRY ALONE, do not share our freedoms.

Search the internet and you will find reports about forced labor prison camps (condemned by Congress in 1997), about female babies being abandoned or allegations of forced abortions because of restrictive state imposed birth control measures. You'll read about torture and executions without fair trial, about the suppression of groups with peaceful religious and philosophical beiefs. Don't believe me? Search the term "Falun Gong."

Will you sit idly by?

I hope not. Here are some things that you can do:

- Stop buying products that are made in China.

- Let retailers know of your intent to do so.

- Petition your Congressional representatives and ask them to tie China's access to
U.S. markets to verifiable human rights improvements.

- Participate in organizations such as Amnesty International, which work to promote human rights.

Today, remember those 35 words:

"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."

On this Independence Day, you have the power to help ensure that they form not only the foundation of human rights in the United States, but that they become the bedrock on which our global society rests.


Blogger AnthonyLemons said...

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4:22 AM  

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