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Our Opinion: What would our forefathers think of us now?

Sunday marks 234 years since a group of men opposed to the tyranny of a foreign government risked the charge of treason and signed the Declaration of Independence.

Much has changed since that day in Philadelphia when the Continental Congress approved the final wording of a document that set 13 American colonies free from the mother country. From the Declaration of Independence came the framework for the U.S. Constitution, passed 21 years later, that provided for the organization of the United States government.

The country has encountered many changes since 1776.

While many citizens will use the long Fourth of July weekend to relax and get away, they also should remember the sacrifices our country has undergone since the Revolutionary War.

We also wonder how our forefathers from the 1700s would view this nation and its government today. Would they be surprised with the immense size of government and how billions and billions of dollars are spent? Would they be angry at the way their document has been twisted to fit the ideology of one group over another? Would they be in shock how the Constitution comes under constant attack and how laws are not followed for political reasons such as securing our borders? Would they be amused with Congress and how long it takes to pass legislation?

Furthermore, wouldn’t it be interesting if time travel could take people like Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries from the late 1700s and transport them to 2010 to discuss their intent with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – especially the Bill of Rights – and to clear up the misconceptions that have developed since that time?

We also wonder what our forefathers would have thought about the amendments to the Constitution. Would they have been pleased with their passage or disappointed?

What would they think?

These rhetorical questions, no doubt, will continue to create debate for many future generations as they have done for those before us.

Sometime during this weekend, however, we should reflect on this country’s past and present and continually challenge those who hold public office, wondering if they are leading us down the path our forefathers had envisioned.

• This editorial also appeared in the Wednesday Lahontan Valley News.