Category Archives: Independence Day

United States Is Still Best Laboratory for the Potential of Liberty

M. Zuhdi Jasser president and founder of The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD)and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight for His Faith released the following statement to commemorate the Fourth of July:

“As we come together to celebrate the Fourth of July this week, it is only appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the importance of this day. When those 55 men signed their name on the Declaration of Independence they not only declared their independence from the British crown, but demonstrated for all humanity that our Creator intended us to be free. In so doing they reclaimed faith from the crown and vested it in the hands of the people.

These brave actions culminated in the grand experiment that is America. While there are certainly conflicts that divide us, there is no place where I as an American Muslim can live, practice my faith and pursue happiness that is as free and as just as the United States.

As we celebrate our Independence, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy takes as a solemn duty our call to demonstrate to the youth and in particular the Muslim youth of America the importance of maintaining vigilance over the rights that are ordained from our creator, but guaranteed by our Constitution. Our Muslim Liberty Project aims to teach our children that government based in reason that embraces the right of every individual to accept or reject faith as they see fit is not in conflict with their Islamic faith and in reality provides the safest environment for Muslims to exist.

With the changes in the Middle East and the rise of Islamists to power in the region that duty becomes even more important. The threat posed by the radicalization of our youth in American Muslim communities is as palpable today as it has ever been. As we have seen in Norway in just the past week, Al Qaeda in Yemen is not sitting idly by waiting to find ways to attack us. They are engaged and working every day to get beyond our defenses.

If we inoculate our American Muslim youth against the ideology of Islamism and its inherent pathway towards radicalization, we keep the wolves at bay and leave room for these youth to embrace the values of Americanism that were put into action with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Take time on this holiday to thank the founding fathers for their courage and their conviction. May God Bless the United States of America and may God keep and protect those in the U.S. military that fight to maintain that freedom for us.”

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at

Everyday People and the American Revolution

By John W. Whitehead

We elevate the events of the American Revolution to near-mythical status all too often and forget that the real revolutionaries were people just like you and me. Caught up in the drama of Red Coats marching, muskets exploding and flags waving in the night, we lose sight of the enduring significance of the Revolution and what makes it relevant to our world today. Those revolutionaries, by and large, were neither agitators nor hotheads. They were not looking for trouble or trying to start a fight. Like many today, they were simply trying to make it from one day to another, a task that was increasingly difficult as Britain’s rule became more and more oppressive.

The American Revolution did not so much start with a bang as with a whimper—a literal cry for relief from people groaning under the weight of Britain’s demands. The seeds of discontent had been sown early on. By the time the Stamp Act went into effect on November 1, 1765, the rumbling had become a roar.

The Stamp Act, passed by the British Parliament with no representation from the colonies (thus raising the battle cry of “no taxation without representation”), required that revenue stamps be affixed to all printed materials. It was an onerous tax that affected every colonist who engaged in any type of business. Outraged at the imposition, the colonists responded with a flood of pamphlets, speeches and resolutions. They staged a boycott of British goods and organized public protests, mass meetings, parades, bonfires and other demonstrations.

Mercy Otis Warren was an active propagandist against the British and a prime example of the critical, and often overlooked, role that women played in the Revolution. Historian Nina Baym writes, “With the exception of Abigail Adams, no woman in New England was more embroiled in revolutionary political talk than Mercy Otis Warren.” Warren penned several plays as a form of protest, including The Group in 1775. As Baym writes: “The Group is a brilliant defense of the revolutionary cause, a political play without a patriot in it. In letting the opposition drop their masks of decency, Warren exposes them as creatures of expediency and selfishness, men who are domestic as well as political tyrants.”

Although Parliament repealed the Stamp Tax in 1766, it boldly moved to pass the Townshend Acts a year later. The Townshend Acts addressed several issues. First, any laws passed by the New York legislature were suspended until the colony complied with the Quartering Act, which required that beds and supplies be provided for the king’s soldiers. And duties (or taxes) were imposed on American imports of glass, lead, paint, paper and tea.

Americans responded in outrage through printed materials and boycotts. In Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer, which appeared in newspapers and pamphlets, attorney John Dickinson argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes for revenue. He also cautioned that the cause of liberty be advanced with moderation. But as historians George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi write, “Such conciliatory language led John Adams to dismiss Dickinson as a ‘piddling genius.’” Samuel Adams responded by organizing protests in Boston. And in 1768, Samuel Adams and James Otis circulated a letter throughout the colonies that reiterated their concerns about the illegality of British taxation and asked for support from the other colonists. When an official in London ordered that the letter be withdrawn, they refused. By 1773, Samuel Adams had convinced the Boston town meeting to form a “Committee of Correspondence,” a group of protesting American colonists. The Committee issued a statement of rights and grievances and invited other towns to do the same.

Thereafter, Committees of Correspondence sprang up across Massachusetts. And in 1773, the Virginia Assembly proposed the formation of Committees of Correspondence on an inter-colonial basis. A network of committees spread across the colonies, mobilizing public opinion and preventing colonial resentments from boiling over. As a result, the Committees of Correspondence played a critical role in the unification of the colonies. Author Nat Hentoff writes:

In 1805, Mercy Otis Warren—in her History of the Rise and Progress and Termination of the American Revolutions, emphasized: “Perhaps no single step contributed so much to cement the union of the colonies, and the final acquisition of independence, as the establishment of the Committees of Correspondence . . . that produced unanimity and energy throughout the continent.” These patriots spread the news throughout the colonies about such British subversions of fundamental liberties as the general search warrant that gave British customs officers free reign to invade homes and offices in pursuit of contraband.

We would do well to remember that, in the end, it was the courage and resolve of common, everyday people that carried the day. Courage was a key ingredient in the makeup of the revolutionaries. The following vignette offers a glimpse of one man’s strong stand in the face of the British army.

Two months before the battles of Lexington and Concord, the British sent Colonel Leslie with 240 men to seize arms and ammunition which the rebels had stored in Salem. As the troops approached town, residents halted their progress by lifting the Northfield drawbridge. Several inhabitants climbed onto the raised leaf of the bridge and engaged in a shouting match with Colonel Leslie on the other side. William Gavett, an eyewitness, reported the incident:

In the course of the debate between Colonel Leslie and the inhabitants, the colonel remarked that he was upon the King’s Highway and would not be prevented passing over the bridge.

Old Mr. James Barr, an Englishman and a man of much nerve, then replied to him: “It is not the King’s Highway; it is a road built by the owners of the lots on the other side, and no king, country or town has anything to do with it.”

Colonel Leslie was taken aback, but he pressed the issue; James Barr held firm, knowing he was in the right. In the end, Leslie promised to march only fifty rods “without troubling or disturbing anything” if the residents of Salem would lower the bridge. The bridge came down, Leslie kept his word, and the opening battle of the American Revolution was postponed. Old James Barr had taken on the British empire with a few simple words.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at Information about the Institute is available at

Common Sense Transcends Circumstance

By Cameron Smith

This Fourth of July, as we celebrate our nation’s independence with flags and sparklers, families and friends will gather together, and many will fail to reflect on the importance of this celebration.

When the Revolutionary War began, many of the colonists opposed independence from Great Britain. In a very real sense, the Founding Fathers were considered radicals by their fellow countrymen. Without changing the hearts and minds of the colonists, these revolutionaries risked losing everything and vanishing into the history books largely unnoticed.

During the early part of 1776, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, lit the spark that would ignite the push for independence and ultimately change the colonial culture. Common Sense aggressively challenged the control of the British Government and the merits of the monarchy. Paine’s plain language and direct approach were met with immediate success. About 120,000 copies were sold in the first three months and 500,000 in the first year and Paine donated the royalties to support the Continental Army. Arguably, without Paine’s “treasonous” pamphlet, American independence might well have been delayed or extinguished. John Adams claimed, “[w]ithout the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense’,” the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”

But is Common Sense still a relevant factor in modern American government? At the inception of independence, there was virtually no federal government. Today, with a multitrillion dollar budget, more than 14 trillion dollars in debt, and more than 160,000 thousand pages of federal regulations, the government Americans live under is radically different that that experienced 235 years ago. Fortunately, Paine’s work is more than just a pleasant vestige of America’s historical past.

Common Sense resonated with the everyday man in his language, appealed to his values and gave him the goal of having a voice in his government. As the colonists recognized their increasing interest in independence, the willingness to fight for it grew as well. The colonial elites who sought to negotiate with Britain were quickly outpaced by those quite literally saying “liberty or death.”

Thanks to the electoral structures created by Paine and his peers, Americans need not revolt. But the percentage of Americans who did not even cast their vote in the most publicized Presidential election in recent history is shocking — forty-three percent of the current American population failed to vote in the 2008 presidential election. Moreover, less than 38 percent of the voting age population voted in the 2010 midterm election. Individual liberty and freedom from government without representation seems to be taken increasingly for granted and their erosion has gone progressively unnoticed. Americans witnessing this trend should readily relate to Paine’s calls for meaningful participation in government.

Unfortunately, the freedoms secured in the Revolution are no less fragile today than they were when first achieved. Executive agencies treat the Constitution as an antiquated suggestion while the judicial branch, through a radical reading of the Commerce Clause, is on the precipice of destroying the remaining vestiges of federalism and limited federal power. All this takes place while Congress piles mounds of generational debt upon our nation through a lack of fiscal discipline and political courage. These are not mere concerns of the politically active but viable threats to individual liberty and our founding notions of restrained government.

Common sense transcends circumstance and the passage of time. As our nation again celebrates its birth, Americans must consider their ability to participate in their own governance. These rights were created and protected by the blood of patriots and the sacrifice of their families. While reasonable minds may differ about specific policies, each generation must ask whether the current practices of government comport with their notions of common sense. Where the government fails to meet the expectations of the governed, each citizen owes those who have come before and those who will come after the duty to participate in the American democracy.

In justifying the need for the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson stated that “[w]e cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” Whether that bondage comes in the form of an oppressive government, a legacy of debt or simply through a failure to teach the next generation about the price of liberty, this current generation must not ignore the real threats facing our nation.   (Emphasis by the editor)

Cameron Smith is General Counsel for the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.

Our Nation’s Birthday, Moment to Celebrate Democracy

By Congressman Sherrod Brown

Independence Day is an opportunity to commemorate the founding of our nation, as well as the promise that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights – not privileges.

Every American should have access to the tools needed to build a meaningful life.

Elementary students in Elyria deserve to learn from the latest text books. Grandparents in Grandview should never be forced to choose between buying medicine or a meal. And firefighters in Fairfield have earned the right to fight a fire with reliable, modern protective gear.

In a democracy, national priorities should reflect the needs of all citizens – not just the privileged.

Two hundred and thirty-five years after British subjects declared themselves United States citizens, Americans must continue the journey toward becoming a more perfect Union.

We’ve made tremendous strides in guaranteeing fundamental rights to education, health, and safety. Ohio established free, public education in 1825. Today – with the support of some $400 million in “Race to the Top Funds” – Ohio schools are working to build on proven models of success and to empower students with the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills needed to embark on 21st century careers.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, public health resources in Ohio were consumed by the fight against tuberculosis and the cholera epidemic. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, children can now remain on their parents’ health insurance until they reach 26 years of age. Seniors can receive annual wellness visits that will not only keep them healthier, but will also reduce costs by helping avoid illnesses. And we’re investing in preventive care and reforming our delivery system so that medical practitioners are rewarded for the outcome of their patients, not how many tests are ordered.

Public safety has also improved. In 1853, Cincinnati established the first fully-paid, professional fire department in the United States. It would take another decade for the first self-contained breathing apparatus to be invented. Today, professional firefighters can breathe safely while communicating with one another in a black, smoke-filled building.

Progress in our educational institutions, public health, and safety could not have happened without industrious Americans pushing for improvements. Time is not enough to usher in lasting change. It also takes human effort.

And, it is only with continued advocacy that we will be able to move closer to achieving a more perfect Union.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are easier to secure when everyone who wants to work has a job.

That is why America must reinvest in our most important industries. In Ohio, where agriculture remains our largest sector, we must continue to support small farmers and planters who deserve to carry on their family legacy of providing the food that feeds and fuels America.

Manufacturing is another critical industry for America – and our state. Ohio is home to more than 21,000 manufacturing companies. Three of the top twenty manufacturing cities in the U.S. are located in the Buckeye State. By establishing a National Manufacturing Policy – employed by so many industrialized countries – we can ensure that this vital industry remains strong in the 21st century and continues to lead our economic recovery.

We can ensure that Ohioans are equipped with the skills needed to fill good-paying, high-tech jobs. Legislation – like the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, which I recently introduced ­– can create partnerships among community colleges, labor, workforce boards, and emerging industries to rejuvenate American manufacturing.

Yes, there are challenges to be met. But, as Americans, we also have a wealth of opportunities to do great things.

Since our founding, Ohio has been a state of vanguard achievements. Innovative Ohioans built the first successful airplane, invented the modern traffic signal, completed the first orbit of Earth by an American, and eight Ohioans have led as President of the United States.

Today’s schoolchildren, senior citizens, public servants, and all Americans have a role to play in creating the country our founders envisioned.

With common-sense legislation and concrete leadership, we can continue to honor our founders and achieve an even better future.

Why A Negative View Helps Life, Liberty and Happiness

By Daniel Downs

Some people regard political or social criticism as degradingly negative. They see being against current issues as anti-productive. According to such people, being positive is always the best policy.

Who could argue against being positive, but is just being positive really productive? Not when being positive actually means getting along with uncritical yea-sayers. What is anti-productive is mindlessly

believing what the authorities claim. The view that the professionals know best is positively negative as far as being a member of a free self-governing citizenry. How can people be freely independent while at the same time being mostly dependent on the professionals or corporate and big government institutions? It is not possible.

Put another way, if Americans vote to give government almost all of their rights, they can no longer live the American dream of independence. Consuming, voting, going just about anywhere, and feeling good about life is not the definition of freedom and independence. People can be just as happy living under socialist dictatorships, elite oligarchies, or democracies run by the same as those living under the rule of anarchism or popular federal republics.

The pursuit of happiness requires life and liberty unfettered by structured dependency whether planned by wealthy political bureaucrats, corporate executives, special interest lobbyists and their causes, or greedy speculators. After all, liberty is meaningless if life is solely in the power of the professionals or government bureaucrats. Under a regime of self-government by “We the People” justice and morality regulated for the common good is vital. Without it, a fragmented culture eventually is dominated by “divide and conquer” special interest parties.

Dayton Tea Party Independence Day Weekend Rally

The Dayton Tea Party held their July 3 Rally at Golden Gate Park in Brookville. According to Brookville Police Chief Ed Preston, more than 5,000 were in attendance. This was only one of many Tea Parties held across Ohio and the nation. In Ohio, cities with scheduled Tea Parties included Ashland, Cadiz, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Freemont, Mansfield, Marietta, North Canton, Springfield, and Zanesville. Brendan Steinhauser’s map of known Tea Parties throughout the nation is posted on the Freedom Works blog.

According to the Tea Party Protests blog, there were over 200,000 Tea Party events held nationwide around the tax filing deadline of April 15. Of the 200,000, the national Tax Day Tea Party website reported 800 registered events in 50 states. Americans gathered in protest against government-generated debt that robs them of over one-third of their income through taxes. Astronomical debt by unaccountable federal politicians continues to be a huge issue at the Tea Party.

Brookville mayor David Seagraves gave the opening address. He challenged the Partiers further their involvement not only in the Tea Party movement but also in local, state and national politics. What followed his speech was great music by Dan River’s band, a visit by the comedian President Barak Obama (maybe it was a twin from Kenya?), many more fired up speakers, and some awesome fireworks. Whoever was performing the light show was a real pro.

Rob Yarger, a local business owner, emceed the Dayton Tea Party. Encouraged by Rob Scott, the chief brains behind the organization, Yarger also spoke to the Partiers about the socialization of business, health care, and the growing intrusion of the government in our lives and homes.

Deborah Mulholand, owner of home-based marketing business Angelic Enterprises, rallied the Partiers to support the Fair Tax movement. She said, the national income tax was first proposed by Karl Marx. Contrary to Obama’s international denial, America is a Christian not a socialist nation. While God only asks for 10 percent, government seeks over 60 percent. We pay more than just income tax. We pay tax on just about everything. The federal government is even proposing to tax burping. The Fair Tax would replace all taxation with a 23 percent sales tax. It would reduce the thousands of pages of tax code to 133 pages, and it would eliminate the IRS bureaucracy. All working Americans would receive a 7.5 percent pay raise just by getting rid of the FICA tax, and small businesses would save 15 percent. What better way to end the use of the tax code to reward favorite supporters by federal politicians for their votes.

Pres. Obama’s speech was pretty anti-climactic following Mulholand. Nevertheless, he made some interesting comments. Obama claimed he intends for all Americans to have a job. That is a job working for the government. He also proposed to create a simpler tax code: Tell us what you make and send it in.
I notice something strange about him. His voice was a little muffled, he a plastic or stone faced appearance, and he never quit smiling … I’m sure what his problem was.

Anyway, Arlene Holland was the next speakers. Emcee Yarger introduced her as a Spanish Sarah Palin. I think she is a little more dynamic than Palin. Holland is a legal immigrant from Honduras, where the people said no to communism. Yet, they are still fighting to maintain their constitutional self-governance. She said she could be silent no more about the erosion of our constitutional freedoms and democracy by elites. America belongs to us not to them. They are attempting to rule over our children and run or lives. Their bailouts only reward corrupt government. It is time to stand up and refuse to be silent, she said. Quoting John F. Kennedy’s famous dictum, Holland said, “It’s not what your country can do for you, it is what will do for your country. Now, what will you do?”

I’m sure the next three speakers, all young members of the Ohio legislators, found her fiery speech a hard act to follow. By young, I mean all men in their 30s. The first was Greene County’s own Jarrod Martin. He spoke about the need for a public hearing on the State Sovereignty Resolution, which is being held up by the Speaker of the House. As Mulholan said earlier, out-of-control spending by the federal government, their encroachment on state authority, their intrusion in state affairs, amounts to taxation without representation. According to Martin, the originators of the Constitution did not intend for big government and huge debt to dominate American life and politics. The federal government was given limited, enumerated powers. The ninth and tenth Amendments prove that all others rights and authority belongs to states and the people. That is why Ohio HCR 11 is needed to send a clear message to Congress that enough is enough.

Rep. Martin introduced Rep. Seth Morgan as a leading sponsor of HB210, which proposed to reduce the pay of Ohio politicians. Morgan speech was short and sweet. We have to stop the overburdening and over-reaching spending and power grabbing efforts of both Ohio and Washington D.C. politicians. Just as the signers of the Declaration of Independence knew they were signing their death warrants if the Revolution failed, we must likewise recommit ourselves to give us liberty or give us death cause of liberty and self-governance.

The next new generation of leaders to speak was Rep. Josh Mandel. He graduated from OSU, served in the US Marine Corps, and local government. He overcame entrenched political opposition to lower property taxes. He get property taxes rolled back first by proposing it, then by going house to house to garner support, and then by the overwhelming support of local taxpayers and voters. Just as he accomplished what status quo leaders said was impossible by doing the hard work necessary, we together doing the hard work can achieve the goals represented by the Tea Party. We can protect and restore our liberty.

The last speaker of the night was Greg McAfee, owner of McAfee Heating and Air. As did most of the speakers, he covered most of the current issues of our day including universal health care, foreclosures, global warming, cap-and-trade. One area of government intrusion in the personal lives of homeowners comes into play when homeowners want to sell their house. McAfee said the government is now empowered inspect homes and force owners to replace windows and doors before being permitted to put their home on the market. He also pointed out the free universal health care will not be free. Business owners will be forced to pay for it. In the end, however, consumers will pay for it through inflation.

McAfee concluded by calling for a return to the basics: (1) Returning to values worth passing on our children like honesty. (2) Honoring heroes who exemplify those values. Congress held a moment of silence for the king of pop culture Michael Jackson while also ignoring the passing of war hero Ed McMahan, who spend much of his life serving his country. (3) Restoring self-governance engendered by capitalism, by the practice of our fundamental rights like free speech, and the discipline of hard work. (4) Returning to being a nation of people under God. (After all, God is co-founder of the United States of America.)

During the entire event, the long line leading to the concession stand and to the coffee bar never subsided. Along with food and latté for the stomach, a number of organizations with booths offered something for the political soul like petitions in support of the Ohio Sovereignty Resolutions (HCR-11/SCR-13), petitions of protest against the cap-and-trade bills, books by National Center for Constitutional Studies, Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, and others. Eric W. Deaton had his campaign booth set up. He is planning to replace George Voinovich in the Senate. Our own Campaign for Liberty and John Birch Society organizations were also offering their political soul food. (See the links below for more info about work and ideals.)
National Constitutional Education Society
John Birch Society