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.
The text goes on to say that governments are formed to protect these rights and that is absolutely correct. But that can only happen in a culture where people are willing to seize these rights for themselves in the first place.
"Turning points" are a bit of a myth. They only make sense when set into a much larger context. Nothing really changed at that moment. What really happened was that a long-term development came into closer focus. Even at that, you may not feel them as turning points at the moment but only in retelling.You can even retell events that never actually happened and have them become major turning points in your life.
That said, there are two moments I associate with a special clarity about the direction and purpose of my life. The first, often alluded to here in the past, was when I came out of the hot summer heat to watch a matinee showing of Body Heat. The other was when I put a new CD I had purchased for ironic reasons on and was swept away by what I heard.
The moment where everything snapped into focus, when the ironic quotation marks came off my love for this music is when Bobby Hackett's trumpet comes in at 0.51 or so.
What you don't know, couldn't know, is that both those moments accompanied big independence experiences. Moments when I broke away from what others expected me and became myself.