Today is July 4th, Independence Day, the day the United States declared its independence from England over 240 years ago. We celebrate it every year with lots of fanfare, but how often do we really think about its meaning?
Independence is defined as, “the state of being free from outside control, not depending on another’s authority.” Synonyms include self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, freedom, and liberty.
It is worth quoting from the Declaration of Independence to remind ourselves what the founders of our country had in mind:
“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. …. whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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.”
I have not been that enthusiastic about Independence Day for a long time; the same goes for Thanksgiving. At the same time North Americans were asserting our independence from a tyrannical government, we were brutally taking away the liberty of the Native people who already occupied this land. The treatment of the original inhabitants of North America was, and continues to be, shameful.
To make matters worse, this country, which claims to be founded on the principle of liberty, is far from that ideal in substantial ways. For example, we do not have freely accessible liberty or autonomy over how we approach our health.
For example, people are regularly sold food that is adulterated with additives, preservatives and GMO (genetically modified organism) technology. The serious health problems that can be caused by this adulteration are kept hidden to protect the financial interests of large multinational corporations.
People are also pressured to accept a series of medical procedures – vaccination – that can have profoundly negative effects, destroying individuals’ health and families’ happiness.
State vaccine laws and government mandates, the first being Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1905, have been part and parcel of the United States for over a century. For years vaccine mandates have been used by medical and governmental authorities to control the population and of course to generate profits.
One recent and very egregious vaccine law is California SB 277, a law that requires all students whose parents wish them to attend public or private school in California to be vaccinated in accordance with the current CDC schedule. This adds up to approximately 70 doses of 16 different vaccines between birth and high school graduation. No religious or philosophical exemptions are allowed. All states except West Virginia, Mississippi… and now California… allow parents to decline vaccines for religious reasons, and 16 states allow philosophical exemptions. Since California is the most populous state in the U.S., this law sets an extremely bad precedent that other states will be trying to copy.
I view SB 277 as a discriminatory, classist law. While some people can afford to home school or move to another state to dodge this requirement, the poor and disenfranchised can’t exercise these options; it’s the children of poor and their families who will suffer most. So much for self-determination if you’re low income.
It is time for Americans to stand up and reclaim one of their most basic freedoms human should possess, the freedom to choose what they put, or don’t put, into their bodies. It is time for the people to control the government, and not allow the government to control them. It is time for the government to promote the welfare of the people, not the welfare of the corporations.
As stated in a quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”
Sovereignty over our own bodies and our medical decision making represents true liberty and is what we should be striving for.