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It’s not just a piece of paper
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PRUDENCE, INDEED, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown 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.

Thomas Jefferson

At no time in living memory have those words from the Declaration of Independence been more appropriate.

Indeed, if the great Virginian and his colleagues were alive to see what’s become of their grand gamble — for which thousands fought and died in a brutal, ten-year war — they’d wonder why the designers of America’s current despair were not tarred and feathered long ago. They’d no doubt be amazed at the fact that in their day, a revolution began over far less egregious offenses than those our government subjects us to today.

As you, the American taxpayer, are told you now must pay a trillion dollars to bail out greedy Wall Street bankers — on top of the trillion dollars in debt George W. Bush has already left you, your children, and your grandchildren — you might want to take Jefferson’s words to heart.

As you contemplate the profound injustice in the irresponsible being rewarded for their poor judgment, while you work harder and harder for less and less money and pay higher and higher health premiums for less and less coverage — reflect on what Jefferson wrote.

As you see the dollar drop lower and lower as the price at the pump goes higher and higher, remember Jefferson’s earth-shattering words.

Or, hey, you could just go read them for yourself, in their original state.

This weekend Savannah has a literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view one of the only remaining original copies of our nation’s founding document.

You can see it for free this Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Massie Heritage Center, 207 E. Gordon St. In addition to the immortal document itself, there will be spoken-word performances, refreshments, a reader’s theatre, and voter registration.

(For a great look at local early voting, see Robin Wright Gunn’s column this week).

This remarkable happening is a part of the “Declare Yourself” tour, a voter registration outreach effort founded by legendary TV producer Norman Lear, who purchased this copy, one of only 25 surviving broadsides printed on the night of July 4, 1776, by John Dunlap.

See you there, and remember to bring your torch and pitchfork.

We may as well have fun as our world crumples around us, right? That’s one thing we definitely have going for us in Savannah: fun, and lots of it.

This week we roll our big Fall Arts Preview issue, with a look at the goings-on in visual and performing arts, festivals, and notable concerts. While a few things probably slipped through the cracks, the listings are pretty close to comprehensive. My apologies in advance if we missed something. Just e-mail me and we’ll update our listings.

Note that the Preview is divided by type of art form, i.e., visual arts, dance, festivals, etc. Within their respective genres, the listings are in rough chronological order.

You’ll notice the Jazz Festival isn’t listed in our Fall Arts coverage. That’s for two reasons:

One, because it concludes this weekend; and two, we actually have two fine features on the Festival this week, both written by Music Editor Jim Reed. cs