Civics 101: The Basis of Democracy

20 Oct

We all know these words, from the opening of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Let’s be clear about what’s being said in that second sentence. “Governments are instituted among Men” in order to secure the rights enumerated in the first sentence. And those government get “just powers from the consent of the governed.” That is, they get their powers from we the people, on behalf of whom they are to exercise those powers. Ultimately we rule them on the basis of “unalienable Rights” endowed to us by our mutual Creator.

And we all know this picture, Michaelangelo’s well-known painting of God (on the right) creating Adam (on the left)

God&adam

Here’s a detail of the hands:

God_and_Adam-hands

And here’s a detail of the hands from a recent photo I took:

hands

The hand on the left is playing the hand of Adam while the hand on the right is playing the hand of God.

Here’s the whole photo:

IMGP4248

That’s We the People there on the right and our servant, the Mayor, on the left.

Here endeth the lesson.

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