Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday Texas!

In honor of our independence 175 years ago, this is our Declaration of Independence, written at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the town of Washington on the 2nd day of March 1836.

When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.

When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.

When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.

In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Beans, bullets, bandages... what else?

Greetings, all! I'm not dead, just playing too much Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma on Facebook as of late, and wishing I could get another Blue Heeler from Texas Cattledog Rescue, tho recent events have had my brain working again. On a online discussion forum, another member posted a link to the science story about the possibility of a solar flare being stronger and more disruptive than Hurricane Katrina, followed by commenting that he should stock on gas for his camp stove and lanterns. My remark was
Beans, bullets, and bandages; what else can you really do? (Sounds kinda like my shopping/packing list for "going Grizzly Adams"!) One of the bloggers I occasionally read opined on this topic herself, about any number of possible scenarios.

Today at work I mentally turned over this list of supplies, making it into a game of what else I thought necessary of emergency preparedness, all based around words starting with the letter "B". Let's start with those three mentioned above, with brief explanations and expanded thoughts on each.

Beans- simple, dried, will keep a long time without refrigeration, tho I prefer mine served up as red beans 'n' rice.

Bullets- another item that will keep a long time without special handling, just keep it cool and dry, very useful with a later item for defense of homestead and procuring fresh meat.

Bandages- this and a fully-stocked first aid kit will help keep one breathing for a long time!

Now to the additional items:

Boomstick!- this would be the item to work with the bullets mentioned above. Either one is rather useless without the other. (As I've commented many times, an empty gun is just an awkward club!) Don't forget some way to keep it clean and in good repair.

Blades- edged tools of various types, from pocketknives, to machetes and cleavers, to axes, to more specialized ones like a spoon-carving knife, maybe even a bayonet to attach to the end of your rifle, if it's a military surplus one. And some way to keep them sharp.

Bedroll and Blankets- gotta have somewhere to rest your weary head! Ain't no good to yourself or others if you're plumb wore out! Probably would include a tent or tarp or tepee to keep the rain and cold wind off ya while sleeping.

Burro or Bicycle- a way to get around, and some of the more economical ways than some folks propose, especially in light of rising gasoline prices. (My "all-terrain" bike has folding baskets on the back for carrying groceries and gear, and I've nicknamed it my "Tin Burro," as a jibe at those who call their motorcycles "Iron Horses.")

Boombox and Bands- some type of radio to keep up with news and weather, in the event of power loss for TV and Internet, and some music to sooth nerves and boost morale during trying times. (I'd recommend a solar/handcrank-powered radio as a backup, for long-term emergencies, like this one with the American Red Cross branding, plus it's got an onboard LED flashlight, always good during an emergency. Just make sure it's not your only one!)

Bible- or whatever your preferred spiritual guidance is, just bring it with you!

This is more a listing of mostly "essentials" for any type of emergency preparedness, not just for hurricanes or solar flares or zombie attacks, and shouldn't be interpreted as all-inclusive or the order as an indicator of importance. It was a mental exercise for me while I was bored at work, simply based around the alliteration of the three basics of the beginning of this list. Your list of supplies should be longer, as would mine, because existing on just the contents of this list would get boring!