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Fight continues to protect individual freedoms

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By Mike Harmon

“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.”

– Thomas Jefferson

 

As we prepare for Independence Day, we should stop, pause, and look back to 

the original documents of our history.  For many years we have been taught 

that the Declaration of Independence was drafted because of ‘taxation 

without representation,’ and that was a small part of it.  If we review the 

actual document we find that this issue was only one of twenty-seven 

grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence. Eleven addressed the 

abuse of representative powers; seven the abuse of military powers; four the 

abuse of judicial powers; and two the stirring up of domestic insurrection.  

 

On July 4, 1776, the members of the First Continental Congress set into 

motion the establishment of a free nation, a government for the people, by 

the people.  Since that time we’ve seen our great nation rise as a beacon 

of hope and freedom for those in our own country and around the world.

 

President Abraham Lincoln pushed for passage of the Emancipation 

Proclamation, setting the wheels in motion to grant rights and freedoms to an 

entire race that had been persecuted. It was a fight carried on by people 

like Martin Luther King, Jr., whose push in the South helped the Civil Rights 

Act of 1964 become law.

 

Susan B. Anthony fought for years as an American citizen, and through an 

organization she co-founded, the National Woman Suffrage Association, to 

afford women the same right as men to have their voices heard. Anthony was 

even arrested and tried by the federal government in 1872 because she had 

voted in that year’s election. Her trial and subsequent work eventually led 

to passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.

 

Lincoln, King and Anthony are three examples of how Americans, both well 

known and not so known, have worked and sacrificed to make sure the freedoms 

our forefathers spelled out in the Declaration of Independence remain strong 

and true for everyone.

 

Recently there have headlines spelling out allegations of infringements by 

the federal government by agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and the 

National Security Agency. Like Lincoln and Anthony before us, it is essential 

those in positions of leadership and citizens join together to make sure our 

freedoms are protected from the overreach of those who seek to take them 

away. It is proof positive as we celebrate this Independence Day that the 

fight for our rights and freedoms must go on and we must ever be mindful of 

the concerns of our Founders to preserve this special nation.

 

I welcome your comments and concerns on any issues throughout the year 

impacting our Commonwealth. I can be reached through the toll-free message 

line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or you can contact me via e-mail at 

mike.harmon@lrc.ky.gov . You can keep track of committee meetings and 

potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at 

www.lrc.ky.gov.