The Plank

What's Your Favorite Grievance?

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It's always worth taking time on the Fourth of July to read through the Declaration of Independence, a document that never ceases to amaze. In particular, it's fun to go over the list of grievances against King George III, to remind oneself what the whole fuss was about. My favorite is this:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

As much as anything, the Declaration is an impassioned argument in favor of legislative power--a reminder that in a republic, the true seat of authority is not a court or the residence of the executive. It is the chamber wherein the duly elected representatives of the people meet to write laws. (There's a reason the legislative power comes before executive power in the Constitution!) In recent years it's been mostly conservatives that have violated this time-honored principle, but there will surely come another time in the future when a Democrat occupies the White House and the Republicans hold sway on Capitol Hill, and our commitment to the legislative supremacy of Congress must never waver. It will always have its flaws, it will always be messy and frustrating, and it will never be well regarded by the public, but it's the institution that differentiates our republican system of government from an elected dictatorship.

Anyway, happy Fourth of July! Commenters, feel free to let us know what your favorite grievance from the Declaration is.

--Josh Patashnik

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