Friday, July 01, 2005

Independence Day in the Town of Hempstead

When in the Course of Human Events . . .

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…”

These are fighting words. These are the words of rebels, of traitors, of those who would overthrow governments. These are the words of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, penned some 229 years ago as a fledgling nation struggled to free itself of oppressive one-party rule.

Nearly 100 years ago – in 1907, to be exact – the Town of Hempstead came under the rule of a single party, and control has not changed hands since. For going on 100 years now (since the days when Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House and the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series), a single party – dedicated solely to self-preservation and devoid of the democratic requisite of checks and balances that are the hallmark of representative government – has ruled the roost.

Not since the year Maytag introduced the first wooden-tub washing machine and the electric vacuum cleaner was invented has any government served at Hempstead Town Hall that wasn’t under the thumb of the Grand Old Party. [Talk about the need to clean house!] One-party rule. The stuff that despotic monarchies are made of. The antithesis of the democracy for which our founding fathers staked their futures.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “a little revolution now and then is a good thing." Certainly, it can be argued that after nearly 100 years of one-party rule in the Town of Hempstead – 100 years of stagnation, patronage and benign neglect - “a little revolution” would be a wonderful thing!

The signers of the Declaration of Independence mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. To restore that cherished democracy to the Town of Hempstead, all we need to pledge is our votes.

Something to think about as we celebrate our nation’s Independence this 4th of July!

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