Hello and welcome to the July 2016 issue of Aphelion!
It is a holiday weekend here in the US, July 4th, Independence Day, our national birthday so to speak. Not everyone gets to have the day off, however. Some folks will still be going to work as if it were just another day. Mater of fact, if I were still working swing shift at the factory I would be ending up a week of night shift on the 4th. If my break times were luckily placed, I would be able to go out into the parking lot and see some of the annual fireworks shows taking place miles away from the factory. Now that I am on a Monday through Friday day-time-only schedule, I do have the actual holiday off. But what does this holiday really mean? Picnics and family? Fireworks, and idiots shooting guns into the air heedlessly of where the bullets will fall, while marching bands play the national anthem and John Phillip Sousa music to folks attending the safer option if those two? Watching those movies? It is a bit more complicated than that, actually.
Back in 1776, a lot of the colonists of the UK's North American colonies were pretty fed up with various taxes being levied by the UK government at the time, without allowing the colonies to have any sort of voice in Parliament to represent them. Not everybody, mind you, but enough for folks to start grumbling about unfair practices and for others to try their hand at putting their thoughts on paper about how things might possibly be made a bit more equitable. Those documents, today they'd be considered blog posts really, those essays wound up being printed and sent around. Newspaper articles and printed pamphlets and the like. And eventually some of the essayists and philosophers among this vocal crowd of rabble-rousers decided to hold a convention to debate the best way to deal with the growing dissatisfaction the colonies were feeling against their far-off and largely uncaring government over in the UK. I'm not certain, but I believe the only cosplayers of the day were on a Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket trip, but I am reasonable certain that there were a few Lolitas and several hogsheads of some passible wine vintages involved that history didn't want to record in the public record, if you catch my drift. Might even have been some brandy and homebrew being passed around too. Room Parties may have been invented at this time as well. Seriously, Ben Franklin was involved, so how could there NOT have been room parties? Dude had an eye for the ladies and never got far from a keg of something or other!
So these august personages got together and talked, and argued, and talked some more, and finally some scribe was tasked with putting together the best bits of everyone's witty repartee. And then they appointed a committee to be the official editors of the scribe's notes. What was eventually produced was seditious, treasonous, an incitement to open rebellion against the Crown, and quite likely to lead to every one of them being hunted down and executed if their little social experiment wasn't successful. Some of them had to be afraid of signing their names to this revolutionary document. For revolutionary it most certainly was, the idea that a colony or an alliance of colonies had a right, even a duty, to revolt against an unfair and oppressive parent country and government. Not only the right, but the duty to take up arms against what they had known as their legal government for their entire lives. So they eventually agreed on a final edit, then signed it. Imagine how angry they were. Imagine how scared they must have been. Imagine just how much booze it must have taken to get them to all agree on this, essentially criminal act of open revolt.
The Declaration Of Independence, not a perfect thing by any means. For instance there was no recognition of the rights of slaves or women or the original natives of the continent. In fact, the references to Native Americans are downright insulting. But the language used in the Declaration also directly leads to those rights eventually being recognized, as we did actually do when civilization advanced enough to make those glaring omissions evident enough to us. Should have happened sooner, should have happened faster, should have been there from the start, but it wasn't. Wasn't perfect then, still working on perfecting it, but progress has been made and one day those words will indeed apply to every human being on the planet. We just have to break down those walls, smash them completely, teach our kids that even though the differences of race and gender weren't specifically addressed with the recognition we now know to be necessary, the poetry of the words chosen hinted at such, and should be deemed included as the human species matures. Indeed, if these words do not apply to every human being everywhere for all of time, then they mean less than nothing. These words are an ideal for us as a species to strive to live for, to embrace, to work and fight and strive until they DO apply to everyone, EVERYONE!
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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, –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.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Then follows the signatures. All in all, not a perfect thing, as I said. But it marked the beginning of the United States as an independent country. It also started a war. It is colored by the attitudes of the time and not a little racism and sexism. But it gave us a springboard to correct our mistakes as soon as we matured enough to recognize them and act to change them. Corrections and additions were made with addition of the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights, but that was years later. Think of the United States as a work in progress. We do.
First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us
Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine.
As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very
useful. Given our different
locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss
production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us
using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room
My first collection of Mare Inebrium spaceport bar short stories was
published in February by Dark Oak Press. It is available in both Kindle
an Nook e-book formats, paperback, and hardback. I also that thre
albums of instrumenal music out throgh the Create Space self-publishing
website. If you like, you can click on the photo or the link below to
fin all the info you would need to purchase my book in your preferred
format, or an e-book of Flash of Aphelion, buy a CD of my music, or
listen to tracks off of the albums on my Bandcamp website. Enjoy!
ON THE COVER
Title: Smoke Ring for a Halo
Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA,