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Friday, February 14, 2020

Those Who Forget History


In Congress, July 4, 1776…

Whenever I mention certain subjects, people shout at me to read the Constitution.

…The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America…

That’s right. Read the Constitution.

The Constitution of the United States of America.

The Constitution, the foundation of law and government in this country.

…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…

But that’s not what they actually mean.

No, what they actually mean is the Declaration of Independence.

That’s what they want me to read.

…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…

We hold these truths to be self-evident.

Constitution. Declaration. Whatever. It’s all the same thing. Probably.

Most Americans can’t with any reliability recite the first paragraph of the Declaration, or the later paragraphs for that matter, but that part they know by heart. We hold these truths to be self-evident. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.

By the Great White Christian God, that’s America. Life. Liberty. Happiness. That’s right.

And maybe a bit of the next part:

…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Consent of the governed! Consent of the governed! Yes! Yes! That! Consent. That’s what we’re talking about. You gotta have our consent. It says so right there in the Constitution of Independence. Or the Bible. Or something. It’s right there.

Because, otherwise:

…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

There it is. That part. That’s the part we Americans love. Revolution. Bang Bang! We get to shoot something! Hot damn, Revolution!

Whenever I ask which article in the Constitution grants Americans the right to overthrow their government by violence, through force of arms whenever they please, that’s the part Republicans and Democrats alike quote at me. The right of the people to overthrow the government! Revolution. Rebellion. Shoot down the government. Consent of the governed. That’s it, right there. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Second Amendment, whatever, man, the point is Americans have the inalienable right to shoot down the government whenever they want.

That’s every American’s inalienable right.

That’s what all the guns are for. That, right there.

And that’s where Americans’ knowledge of their founding documents usually ends. Right about there. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, shoot down the government, guns, freedom to be a Christian, something something gazpacho and that’s why America is better than everybody else. Can I get an Aaaaaamen!

And really, what more do you need, right?

What more indeed?

But, funny thing, there is more:

…Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed…

Wait, what? Prudence?

Prudence? The quality of being prudent, the exercise of wisdom, caution, judgement, sagacity. Prudence. From Americans? That’s hilarious. And government should not be changed for light and transient causes? What the hell is that? Because that sounds like our ancestors were putting some conditions on our inalienable rights. And what exactly are the founders saying here? That violent overthrow of government is more likely to result in disaster than in a better nation? But, but…

Weird how you never hear those eager for revolution quote that part, isn’t it? Prudence.

…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…

Ah! Good. Good. Throw off the government and we’re back on track. Cool.

…Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world…

Okay, I think that’s pretty much all of it … wait, where’s the John Hancock?


There’s supposed to be a John Hancock.


What’s that you say?

That was only the introduction? A Preamble?

Yeah, that’s right.

You see, the parts most Americans are at least passingly familiar with, life, liberty, etc., that’s just the opening statement.

That’s not even the actual point of the document.

What actually led to America declaring itself independent from England wasn’t all that stuff up above, but rather some very specific grievances with the government of that nation. That’s actually the heart of the Declaration of Independence, those specific grievances.

Quick, how many are there?

How many can you name?

Don’t know? Yeah, that’s the really ironic part.

Because most Americans can’t recite a single one of those grievances.

Maybe some vague handwaving about taxation without representation – a phrase that doesn’t actually appear in the Declaration at all. But beyond that? Nothing. They’d have to go to Google.

But, when you read the whole Declaration of Independence and you look beyond those opening paragraphs and you read that very specific list of grievances, twenty-seven in total, well, then you can see pretty damned quick which part actually mattered to our Founders and which part was just flowery window-dressing.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

That’s the first one.

That’s what started it, the Revolution.

He, King George III, has refused his assent to laws.

What’s that mean? Well, in those days it meant that for legislation to become law, the King had to give his approval. And he often refused, either through pig-headed stubbornness or from neglect of his duty. Even when the legislation was “the most wholesome and necessary for the public good” and was something overwhelmingly desired by the population, the King refused to give assent. When our forefathers were considering bloody violent revolution that might very well end with their own precious selves swinging from a gallows, this was their first complaint.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

When they sent the Declaration to King George III, they wanted him to see this first.

Failure to pass laws necessary for the public good.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

As of January 1st, 2020, there are more than 300 bipartisan bills, legislation most wholesome and necessary for the public good, that have passed the House and are right now gathering dust on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

McConnell openly refuses to bring this legislation to the floor of the Senate.

McConnell, Trump, and their supporters in Congress, not only refuse to give assent to these laws, they won’t even allow the legislation to be debated by Americans’ elected representatives.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

They openly refuse to do their duty.

And they maliciously prevent others from doing theirs.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

And that – that right there – was the first and most important justification our own forefathers used to throw off their government and declare their independence from it.

I read that list, government refusal to make and pass laws for the public good, representatives who refuse to meet with the people, a tyrant who demands obedience and compliance from state and local governments, leaders who hold themselves unaccountable to the people, and I can’t help but think of Donald Trump’s tweet yesterday: “I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment [sic], start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!”

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, our own ancestors were fighting with a mentally ill xenophobic autocrat who wanted to ban immigration and put conditions on who could be an American and the more things change, right?

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

Trump himself said this morning that even though he supposedly never asked the Attorney General to do anything in a criminal case, “This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!”

He doesn’t. He is not a king. He has no more rights than any of us. The power of his office was limited by design, because our ancestors daily lived under a tyrant whose power was without limits of any kind and they detailed in the Declaration of Independence the very abuses which resulted.

I don’t know if our ancestors would be surprised by courts whose verdicts depend on a tweet from the President or just sadly familiar.

The Attorney General himself announced this morning that he would be personally reviewing the case of General Flynn, a Trump crony who literally pleaded guilty not just once, but twice. This on the heels of the resignation of four US Attorneys who quit over interference from the Justice Department in the sentencing of yet another member of Trump’s inner circle. Trump surrounds himself with criminal and louts of all stripes, but it is those who brought them justice that William Barr would prosecute.

Again, with the enthusiastic help of Mitch McConnell, Trump is stacking the courts, appointing judges who are grossly unqualified, openly partisan, and absolutely dependent on himself. 

We will suffer the consequences of this for generations.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

For a political ideology that claims to hate government, who violently opposed government when it was helmed by a black guy, this administration has suddenly developed an abiding love of Executive Orders and compliance with federal authority. From Blue Lives Matter to the Border Patrol to the Transportation Security Administration to School “Resource” Officers, you’d damned well better knuckle under, keep your eyes down, be respectful, show your papers.

Meanwhile, Trump’s proposed budget would slash the very social safety nets nearly every American depends on to survive.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

We long ago gave up the idea of not maintaining a standing military force. The nature of the world made a permanent professional army a requirement of our national security. But, that requirement has grown into an all-consuming monster. We have reached a point where our military doesn’t exist to protect our society, but our society exists to feed it.

I’ve written extensively about America’s increasingly dangerous tendency towards mandatory worship of the military, a trend that has accelerated under Trump and Republicans. We have an entire generation of Americans who have grown to adulthood since 9-11 and in those two decades they have never known a single moment when America was not at war. Three thousand Americans died on 9-11, and for that we have embarked on 20 years of revenge. 20 years. Tens, hundreds, of thousands dead as a result. We are trillions of dollars in debt.

And yet – and yet – the world is no better off and victory is nowhere to be found.

Trump brags about increased military spending, about spending $2 Trillion dollars on new tanks and invisible planes with no missions and warships that will never engage an enemy on the high seas.

Three thousand dead Americans and we’re entering the third decade of war as a result.

We do this, supposedly, so that no more Americans will die from terrorism on American soil.

Meanwhile, in that same time, in the same decades that we have been sending our children to fight and die in a foreign land, something like 600,000 Americans died from gun violence. And we do nothing. We spend not a single penny to prevent such deaths in the future.

Out of 330 million Americans, 537,000, give or take, will die from cancer this year. Some, perhaps many, could be saved. But cancer drugs are expensive. Hideously so. Sometimes upwards of $20,000 per month for specialized treatment. How many of those Americans would $2 trillion save?

How many Americans die from hunger, preventable sickness, homelessness, every year? How many of them would $2 trillion save?

How many abortions would $2 trillion prevent, if those expectant mothers knew they could get support, medical care, financial aid?

Why is it that Trump crows about spending vast sums on the military, but not a single penny on the very people he swore himself to defend?

Why is it that Trump defends those in uniform convicted of terrible crimes and abuse, but dismisses and attacks those who serve with honor and integrity and a sense of duty above self?

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

This week, Republicans led by Trump and McConnell rejected three separate bills designed to secure our democracy against foreign interference.

Trump repeatedly sides with dictators and foreign authoritarians over Americans.

Republican judges, legislators, and the president repeatedly defend vulnerabilities that give foreign actors undue influence over American lives, and repeatedly block any attempt to defend America from this manipulation.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

What would the men who wrote that, who literally went to war and fought a bloody revolution because of that, think of Trump’s trade war?

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

I suspect if our ancestors were writing that line today, it might say something like “For imposing the entire burden of national support on the poor and middle class while the wealthy pay little to nothing, while billionaires pay a lower tax rate than a Walmart greeter, while mega corporations reap billions in yearly profits and not only pay no taxes at all but receive a return from the government. For imposing again upon the poor and the middle class the entire burden of repeatedly bailing out Wall Street when bankers and investment company CEOs who are wealthy beyond imagination yet again destroy the economy without consequence to themselves and again wipe out our savings, investments, retirements, college plans, homes, jobs, healthcare, sustenance, and livelihoods, all the while lecturing us about ‘responsibility.’”

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

We live in a country where people of color are shot down by the government in the street for the crime of being black. Where selling loose cigarettes on the street is punishable by summary execution.

We live in a country where the president uses his office to publicly accuse an athlete of being a criminal, again a black man, for not being respectful enough.

We live in a country where that same president daily suggests his political enemies are traitors, criminals, and unamerican.

We live in a country where a Republican congressman is suing a social media account that pretends to be a cow because he thinks criticizing a congressman should be a crime – well, so long as that congressman is him.

We live in a country where the Senate, whose very job is to act as a check on presidential power, just acquitted the President of abuse of that power without calling a single witness or reviewing a single piece of evidence and where Republican senators openly bragged about receiving donations from the president’s own defense attorneys before their vote.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

Trump certainly didn’t invent Rendition and Detention, but no president has embraced extra-constitutional measures in the name of National Security the way he has. He daily suggests that he has unlimited powers granted by some imaginary article of the Constitution – the very thing the Constitution was literally created to prevent – and Republicans let him get away with it. And now, post-impeachment, he is made bolder in his abuse of power and believes himself without limit. He has publicly sworn revenge on those who accused him and openly suggested that the military criminally prosecute those who testified against him. How long then, before Trump declares these people enemies of the state, terrorists, traitors, and uses such extra-judicial tools against them?

Remember, this is a man who tried to use the power of his office to extort a foreign nation into attacking the family members of his political opponents and who sent his own personal lawyer to oust a US ambassador from her office up to and including conspiring to have her assassinated by a foreign agency.

And who got away with it.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

We’re probably safe, at least at the moment, from Trump dissolving the government of Quebec and installing his own puppet state in its place. But this is where I remind you of his repeated attacks on US states that he doesn’t like, California and New York chief among them, and how he compares such states to those which support him. This is where I also remind you again that Trump is using the power of his office to right now extort New York into dropping its investigation of his taxes and business practices.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For fundamentally altering the forms of our governments.

And Republicans under Trump have most certainly done that. From gerrymandering to blatant voter disenfranchisement – including voter ID requirements that are impossible to comply with, closing of voter registration offices in minority neighborhoods, purging of voter rolls, open intimidation at the polls, refusal to reinstate the voting rights of former felons who have successfully completed their sentence – to utter refusal to secure election systems, to dark money and superPACs, to stacking the courts, to submission to religious fanaticism, to open nepotism, to walled borders, etc., Republicans seem determined to alter our Republic into a form unrecognizable to a free democratic people.

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

And we’re back to a Senate Majority Leader whose desk is buried under a mountain of dead legislation and who has essentially seized absolute power and daily refuses to do his duty despite overwhelming protest from both sides of the aisle. And McConnell holds the Republic by the throat solely at the behest of Donald Trump.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Trump hasn’t sent the army against us, yet, though he has certainly threatened to do so. And you have only to listen to his works, listen to his rallies and speeches, read his daily Twitter feed to see that he absolutely believes we are the enemy. He is not the President of the United States, he is the CEO of TrumpCo and only those who pay fealty to him are granted protection.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

No British warship, no Redcoat, ever posed as great of threat to the American people as the looming disaster of Climate Change. Our seas, our coasts, our towns and cities, our very lives, all stand in danger. This grave threat is more and more apparent, and more imminent, every day. Even Republicans can no longer deny it. And, yet, every day Trump does nothing. Worse than nothing, he denies the threat even exists – not because he doesn’t believe that it’s real, but because it might cut into profits. He refuses to take action in any form. He’ll be dead long before the bill comes due, but our children and the generations who follow will have to deal with the self-serving foolishness of this malicious inaction.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

And again, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Trump might not have started the practice of outsourcing America’s wars to hired killers, but he embraced the concept whole hog and he not only promotes the use of mercenaries and the corporate privatization of war (and thus its profit), he ushers mercenaries right into the White House.

As the men who declared our independence noted, this is the practice of the most barbarous of ages and utterly unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.

We shouldn’t be offering outfits like Blackwater a job, we should outlaw their very existence.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Impressment of US merchant sailors on the high seas probably isn’t something we need worry about at the moment, but it’s damned telling when out of the 27 grievances which led our ancestors into a bloody war for independence, it’s only this one that doesn’t apply today.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

While we likely don’t need fear Trump encouraging Native Americans to slaughter the rest of us – and in fact, Native Americans are a hell of a lot more likely nowadays to rise up in protest against a government intent on driving oil pipelines across their land and fracking their water tables – Trump has most certainly excited domestic insurrections among us. You have only to look to Neo-Nazis marching in the streets of our nation’s capital, you have only to look to Charlottesville, you have only to see the III% Militia recruiting booths at every fair and gathering across our country, you have only to notice the sudden prevalence of Punisher skulls on the backs of pickup trucks flying Confederate flags to see it. You have only to listen to Trump’s own words, watch his rallies, read his Twitter feed, encouraging hate and violence against those he considers not American enough.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Substitute “Republicans” for “British brethren” in that last paragraph.

Compare “We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations […] They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity” to the recent impeachment proceedings in the Senate and tell me honestly that you don’t see the similarities.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Two and half centuries ago, our forefathers sent that Declaration to the King of England and said of themselves in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Today, the very Americans who quote the Preamble of the Declaration as justification for their unwavering support of Donald Trump are utterly and completely ignorant of the rest of that document and the actual reasons our forefathers rose up in rebellion against tyranny.

The Republicans of today fancy themselves patriots and champions of freedom, but they would not be those Minutemen who answered the call of liberty and pledged their sacred honor to each other. No, those who support this government are the same sorry sons of bitches who two centuries ago would have cheerfully knuckled under to a King solely in order to own the liberals.

They tell themselves they would gladly hang, together or separately, but that is a lie.

Instead, they are the ones pulling the rope.

164 comments:

  1. I really did cry at this. I wish this could be published on the front page of every newspaper in our country and in every church bulletin and every newsletter that people receive. Thank you.

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    1. Absolutely. This needs to be publicized again and again. And you should receive the credit you deserve as the author. Please consider submitting this to the NYTimes and the Washington Post.

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    2. my heart just found words.... thank you so much.

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    3. Every July in Philadelphia the Declaration of Independence is read in front of Independence Hall to a crowd. I wonder if that is why here they have maintained to some degree a little of that spirit here with the constant reminder. Even now he is sending his border people to sanctuary cities like ours to take over searches. You are so right about everything here. It makes me weep.

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    4. Excellent piece. This should be required reading of every student. You should run for office.

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    5. As a Canadian, it is very refreshing to read a rock in the riverbed of clarity and sensibility and learnedness in the otherwise torrential stupidity of a failing state's discourse with itself. The general consensus among many outside of America is the nature and speed of its dissolution from internal rot, and whether or not the convulsions of its final days brought on by decades of self-injury can be in any sense managed. Even so, no one of good will wants this to happen, but the days of aspiration and hope seem well past, and perhaps this reckoning of contradictions is inevitable and necessary.

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  2. Your best in awhile Jim. Thank you.

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  3. Oops. Nunes is a Congressman, not a senator.

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    1. I just put that in there to see if you were paying attention.

      :)

      It's fixed. // Jim

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    2. How can get permission to try and get this posted in my local paper?

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    3. Almost... Nunes is an Asshole and a Congressman.

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    4. there are two chambers of Congress; the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Representatives and Senators are technically both "Congressmen".

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  4. We may lose, but by God, we are on the right side of history for trying!

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    1. Facebook warrior'ing does not equate to "trying". Unfortunately, I'm of the belief that most U.S. citizens will read something on FB, write an indignant half-hearted response, pat themselves on the back and consider it a job well done.

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    2. We will not lose! I think sometimes it's easy to despair. I also think that even in my red neighborhood, surely some of my Republican neighbors are horrified enough that they will actually vote blue.

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    3. Hopefully you or some of their red neighbors can convince them to vote against the Trumpster and in Kentucky Mich.

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    4. You're probably right. My husband has NEVER voted for a Democrat, but he will this time. He's not eager to go out and share that info, though.

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  5. Easily one of your best pieces to date. Perhaps a bit erudite for the intended target but good stuff.

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    1. You think? Yes. Just a bit erudite. Very denigrating to
      many Americans. Your superior attitude ruins a very good piece of writing.

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    2. He is superior to the "basket of deplorables " that think they have all the answers.

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    3. "Very denigrating to many Americans. Your superior attitude ruins a very good piece of writing."
      Jim must've hit a nerve …

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    4. Seriously? Have you /seen/ some of the stuff being posted to social media. Too many seem to be the work of third graders. I'm not being superior, it's just that I'm old as dirt and we had many, many classes in civics, social studies, American history, European history, etc.

      We learned how the US government works. Americans of Gen X, Millennials, and especially Gen Z were/are not given a proper education nowadays. They're teaching "touchy feely" sh*t like how to garden on the school roof to kids who live in inner cities. They'd be better able to get out of there if they were taught how our world really works.

      If we want to start a revolution somewhere, there's the place to start. Our educational system needs to be overhauled... oh, but there's Betsy DeVos there to stop us and give education dollars and thus a good education to only rich kids. Poor kids get only propaganda.

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  6. Wonderful essay, minor typo in the paragraph beginning "As of January 1st, 2020", you misspell McConnell, McConnel later in the paragraph.

    This is a minor quibble; the essay is excellent.

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    1. No. Whether Jim updates or not is up to him, but improving an essay by spotting errors, and demonstrating them, is a good thing.

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    2. You must be new here. Jim welcomes corrections to perfect his essays.

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    3. Proofreaders are heroes to writers.🤓

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  7. Thank you for this most excellent piece! I learned something today & am sharing in the hope that others will as well.

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  8. I have a man-crush on your brain cells. You're an inspiration to act and to have hope. Bayard Rustin said, "We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers." You're mine.

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    1. "angelic troublemakers" OMG best thing I have read all day (other than this essay) I am totally stealing that. I want to be one ;p

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  9. This should be required reading for EVERY American citizen with a test to follow.

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    1. The Constitution should be taught every year in school, adjusted for age group. In order to graduate, each student must pass the same naturalization test that naturalized citizen must pass. Even GED students must pass the test or no graduation, no guns, no protections accorded to citizens by the constitution (maybe not so much).

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    2. That is a wonderful idea.

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  10. Thank you, Jim. A good lesson and a great explanation and comparison to current times.

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  11. Must reading. You have hit the nail on the head yet again.

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  12. Wow. This is up there with one of your very best. It does need to be read by anyone who calls themselves a real American. I would say Patriot but that word has been ravaged by Trumps followers.

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    1. Do not let them steal our language, nor let them steal our Nation's flag.

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  13. Excellent piece. Thank you, Jim.

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  14. Well said, well done. Thank you for your writing - such an enlightening comparison between then and now. I truly wish trump followers could understand what you've written, that it would make sense and change minds. I thank you nonetheless.

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  15. Thank you. Well done. Sharing to a few on Twitter.

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  16. You really should submit this to the major news papers.

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  17. Your patience and commitment to integrity are stunning read and remember. Our sound Bite society drags us ever closer to the autocracy we appear to deserve

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  18. Excellent, vital reading. Thank you.

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  19. I don’t recall how I stumbled across your writings on FB but very glad that I did, and have been following quite awhile. It’s been quite the education. Grateful and reassured to know I’m not alone in my opinion of this administration. <~That right there is worth the price of admission. Warm regards from NJ, E

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  20. This is excellent, I will disseminate it as much as possible.

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  21. I have been thinking along paralell lines for a couple of years now, to quote you, Chief -

    "The Republicans of today fancy themselves patriots and champions of freedom..."

    No, they aren't anything of the sort. The don't want a President - they want a King.

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    1. That's because THEY think they'll end up being the lords and counselors.

      But even if they did, a mad king is a lethal thing to be around.

      Delete
  22. Brilliant! And at the same time it hits the mark so hard and true it's freaking scary.

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  23. Too bad those who need it won't read it...and if they do, they'll have to have a dictionary handy. Wonderful piece!

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  24. It is in its entirety one of the best fact based opinion's I have ever read. It is a sad day that it must be said but it needs to be transmitted to those blank eyed monkeys staring at the TMZ to see what the Kardashians are wearing and exchange the bible in their hands for a dictionary. May our citizens see truth and be prepared to hang.

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  25. Well said, sir! Too bad the very ones who could best benefit from this history lesson are least likely to read it or be able to overcome their cognitive dissonance to understand it.

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  26. I want to send this to many people and read it again

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  27. Yeah, I'm sharing your excellent essay on Facebook. But the ones who need to read it the most will ignore it, or read a couple paragraphs and complain angrily that I'm being mean to Trump.

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  28. Putting the fractured pieces back into one frame so we can fix our gaze upon it so we can think carefully. Where we are and what it has to do with this listing ship that WE are responsible to right if only we will.

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  29. I recall when NPR, in a series of tweets, on 4 July 2017, sent out the Declaration of Independence.

    Cadet Bonespurs supporters thought that it was an attack on their dear fuhrer.

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  30. Beautifully written and well documented

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  31. This is the best and most important thing you have written. Thank you for your time and insight that you put into this piece.

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  32. Mitch McConnell has been at this long before Donald Trump came along. He needed a front man. For Mitch, Trump is the perfect patsy because McConnell never had the charisma to win anywhere but in Kentucky. When it all falls down turtle man will walk away clean with full pockets. If it falls down.

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    1. I've had folks from Kentucky say the reason McConnell keeps getting reelected is because those who run against him are even worse than he is. Now THAT'S scary.

      McConnell is hoping that Trump takes the blame with him. He's mistaken on that count.

      Delete
    2. His Democratic opponent this time around is quite formidable and well qualified:
      https://www.newsweek.com/amy-mcgrath-9-million-dollar-war-chest-against-mitch-mcconnell-1481376

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    3. Good worK! Have you thought about submitting it to the New York Times?

      Delete
  33. I've never been able to write so eloquently, but I agree with every word. Shared to Facebook, too.

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    1. Straight from the heart ... and to the point RG.

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  34. Good God man, the fire in this warms me on a cold Canadian winter day in the era of the Danger Yam.

    Can't wait to see the apologists, whatabouters and Yammish fart-catchers skid their panties on this one, 'cause it is that good.

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  35. plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

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  36. Excellent! Sharing in the hope it will reach someone who needs a wake-up call. Bravo! Pam in PA

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  37. A terrific enunciation of exactly how I feel AND I learned some things.

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  38. Good Lord, this is fine writing! Some of your best. I agree with the commentors who said that this should be in a national publication. And I really hope you'll have a collection of your essays published eventually . . . with this piece as one of the main attractions.

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  39. Bravo Zulu. One of your best, and I thank you for it.

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  40. This really is one of your best. Kudos.

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  41. Excellent read. And scary; the parts pertaining to trump. Ive Shared it on my Facebook Timeline, attributed to you, of course. I live in Mitch's state, in the capitol, Frankfort. There are many Dems here. We defeated Gov.Bevin, we'll defeat Mitch. I comment a lot on your Facebook posts. This is my first comment on this site. I would love to have your permission to try and get it posted in my local paper. On FB I have it set-up to see your posts first. Thank you for letting me comment. Matt Marquisee

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  42. Thank you, Jim! If only we could require this in history classes! But we barely teach history anymore, it is very sad.

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  43. "'For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:'"

    While he may not have annexed Quebec or dissolved the government of Belize, Trump's rise to the Presidency, along with Brexit, seems to have encouraged and emboldened fascist movements in Brazil, France, Greece, Germany, Israel, and other places all over the world, as well as here in the US.

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  44. I could only think of one quote from history that could double to describe Stonekettle's latest masterpiece of understanding of the situation a now 244 year old America finds itself.

    From King George reply to John Adams in 1785:

    "...the language you have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I must say that I not only receive with pleasure the assurance of the friendly dispositions of the United States, but that I am very glad that the choice has fallen upon you to be the minister."

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  45. Many thanks, Jim. You'll know, of course, that the Mother Country herself is reeling under similar dangerous attacks just now, so your analysis comes as perfectly expressed moral support.

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  46. That is good stuff, cogent and well-written. Good luck with it all ..

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  47. I’ve yet to read anything of yours that wasn’t spot-on, but this one really blew me away. While I will be sharing everywhere, I know that those who SHOULD read it, won’t. However, I take hope in that those who do will take a minute to really reflect on this as we plunge into the next election.

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  48. More suitable for July 4. But we may not make it that far.

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  49. The declaration was written knowing resolution would only be found in blood. Not a century later the great original sin of the nation, slavery, lead to another, even bloodier, fratricidal end to intractable differences.
    Is that where this one ends? As you point out Jim. It's hardly just Donald John Trump. The Republicans who still refer to themselves as such have shown us they will support a ridiculous, dangerous fool and destroy the republic to retain power. I for one no longer feel we can know where the draw the line.
    And this time there's no ocean. No Mason Dixon line.
    Goddamn I just hope there is no Fort Sumpter.

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  50. I wish this could be edited down so that folks inclined to read it actually would. I'm afraid the length is more than most would commit to finishing. Bravo for the history lesson. I"m sharing as well.

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  51. Wow. Very powerful. Well done. And it makes me immensely sad. I can see our slide into theocratic autocracy and I'm frustrated and scared by our lack of being able to stop it. This needs to be in every paper daily until the election.

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  52. "In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. "

    Just wanted to remind everyone that Republicans across the country are trying to criminalize protests, even peaceful protests, if those protests get in the way of making profits, aka oil pipelines.

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  53. The only bad part of this otherwise sadly perfect essay is that it will never reach those who need it most. Sigh.

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  54. Add to all in this excellent article that a lot of people believe that the Declaration is part of the law of the land. It's not. It has no force of law whatsoever, except to declare our independence (hence the title). Any rights, such as to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, must be guaranteed by the Constitution or other legally enacted laws. The ideals enumerated in the Declaration are powerful and noble (though they excluded large swaths of the population - black people and women) and should be read and understood as such. Anyway, Great Job Jim!

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  55. This was my first time reading what you write.Really enjoyed it,looking forward to more.

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  56. I learn so much that I did not know from your posts! Keep fighting the good fight! We need your input. ❤

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  57. Sharing this with my AP Language students as a model for unpacking a text. They have read your "Critical Path, and they enjoy your style. They have also read the entire D of I but failed to make the current connections you make. Well done, and thank you for your work.

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  58. I'm guessing you'll get a lot of hatemail for this.
    We'd rather it wasn't so.
    However - it's a sound barometer for the worth of your writing - if they know it's on point then they'll hate it.
    Keep going!

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  59. Typo: fracking not fraking. ;) As always, EXCELLENT essay. And I agree with Kosheri, those who really need to read this will not. Sigh.

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  60. Wow. I am blown away. You've laid it right out, clearly. IMO, should be required reading for every single person in this country.

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  61. Americans, in these times of troubles, get ready to start killing one another ...

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  62. Excellent, sir. History does indeed repeat itself.
    Typo: is those those expectant mothers ...

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  63. And these headlines happen every damn day. https://t.co/JeB0BqlRzo

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  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  65. On days when I feel I'm drowning in banality, I run into one of your posts. They are literate, concise and thoughtful and I seriously appreciate that you don't mince words. Please don't stop!

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  66. This is brilliant! Thank you!

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  67. A brilliant piece. I'm going to have my 15 year old son read this. No one points out what is going on in our country right now better than you do.

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  68. You are a treasure, and this is the cream of the crop from you. Thank you. It needs to be published on the front page of every newspaper and read aloud on every TV channel. Problem is, at least 90% of Americans don't have the staying power to read past the first thousand words, or listen for more than three minutes.

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  69. Wonder what your thoughts are on the elite swat-type ICE units being sent to "sanctuary cities" to deal with the "illegal immigrants" that tRump wants to get rid of. My thinking is that ICE is/will become this Admin's SS guard, rather than the US military...

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  70. Bravo, Jim. And I think most of the commenters here are wrong. The people who need to read it most are those of us who are reading it now. Never mind the ignoramuses with flags and stickers on their pick up trucks, the ammosexuals with guns strapped to their backs that they are more likely to kill themselves with. Ignore the Congress critters who sue a fictional cow, the church grannies more concerned with their casserole and the Whiteness of their luncheon. They are beyond our reach, as Jim's hate mail amply demonstrates. They will not read, they will not change. They cling to their power, real or imagined, with the fervor of a fanatic cultist. No. They are not the ones who should read this. WE ARE. The libs, who are being owned, need to stop being owned. We need to quit thinking that being keyboard warriors will be sufficient. We need to be inspired, by the real keyboard warriors, the Jim Wrights of the world, and see this as a call to action. Am I advocating civil war? Not yet. But if Hong Kong, in the face of brutality and possible death, can mobilize millions in the streets to stare down an autocrat, why can we not? Where are we? Why do we point to crowd of hundreds or even thousands as proof of our resistance, when millions are needed? No, fellow readers. I disagree with you. WE are the ones who need to read and act, not those who will not read and do not understand, or who willfully ignore what they do not wish to understand. Jim, I believe, has written to us. The question is, will we respond.

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  71. I bought a pocket sized copy of the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution so I could refresh my knowledge of how we started this government and why. Reading it gives me the confidence to speak to those who follow the current occupant of the White House blindly. They profess respect for these documents without a working understanding of what they say. I doubt I'll be changing a significant number of minds, if any, but if I can help just one, open their mind to the gas lighting occurring daily, I will die a happy woman.
    Thank you Jim. You shine a light into the abyss of ignorance.

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  72. Thank You for This!!
    It is why I've kept up my monthly donations...

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    1. Same here. Essays like this reminds me of why I am one of Jim's paetrons. Best writing on the internet. And Yes Jim, you should submit this to some periodical, The Atlantic, or Salon.

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  73. WOW...Very well done, thank you.The frustration of attempting any discussion with a "supporter" and ending up in different universes despite it all is unnerving. The amount of support that Trump has at this point despite and regardless of anything and everything is incredible. Growing up with the oath and the pledge and the anthem and the history and it all comes apart so incredibly easily.Reading and truly understanding history is so important. The willingness of so many to ignore,interpret, and disregard is sad. We need to return to our country as it was meant to be. Again, thank you, Jim, for an excellent presentation.

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  74. Yes, yes, yes!!! Excellent article!

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  75. We should spread this, support it openly, in every public setting. AND...

    When we promote it, we should use our proper name: The United States of America. Do not let Trump and the Zombie GOP steal our identity and our authority. They are the imposters.

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  76. I've been following you almost two years now. I read and share almost everything you write. This is by far the best. You are a wonderful write Jim. I agree with others, you need to send it to WAPO.

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  77. One of your best.

    "People who say they have guns in their households continue to be more likely than those who do not to say that the government is a threat to their personal rights and freedoms. About six-in-ten (62%) in gun-owning households see the government as a threat, compared with 45% of those without guns; this gap is no larger today than it was three years ago."

    https://www.people-press.org/2013/01/31/majority-says-the-federal-government-threatens-their-personal-rights/

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  78. In my daily interactions with individuals in my community, I run into these two sides. First, those that share in the sickness we feel everyday when we wake up and find out how Trump and the republicans have stripped away another piece of our republic. Second, those that probe to find out if I am "one of them". They start with the benign question or statement like at the checkout, "yah, we gotta give the democrats more money to spend." Then they wait to see if I answer "correctly". Just once I would like to tell them exactly what I think of their question. Just once I would like to have the time to tear them a new a$$hole. But, I refrain and there it is again. My silence is yet another stripping away of another right under our free republic. I have always had campaign signs in my yard. This year I wonder if that is a safe practice.

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  79. Thank you for your clarity and sharing your gift. Brilliantly written and your finest analysis yet. I too would love to see it published nationally. Someone has to be “7 degrees from Kevin Bacon” to get this on to the desk of national editor with guts. I am too chicken to post on my Facebook page because of friends and family who have come out as MAGAs who I never suspected and with whom I wish to keep peace.

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    1. Respectfully, CatMom, if you believe keeping peace with your friends and relatives is more important than speaking up for what you believe to be true and right and timely and informative, aren't you exactly the kind of individual citizen who helps perpetuate the belief held by many MAGA folks who consider silence to be agreement with their uninformed beliefs? It is difficult to share your views in the face of such madness in our public discourse. We all face that challenge. I encourage you to do so.

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  80. Perhaps, this sentence would be better with the first 'to' removed?
    "This week, Republicans led by Trump and McConnell rejected three separate bills to designed to secure our democracy against foreign interference."

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  81. What a stunningly thoughtful & thorough analysis! Like CatMom I wish I could share it publicly but I live in Ridiculously Red rural Texas & I don’t dare risk having a cross burning or a horse shot in my pastures. However, I will share with my more reasonable friends who are open to discussion. I’d sure love to see Texas go blue during the next election!

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  82. Thank you for your essay! I have saved it for judicious use elsewhere when needed if I may?

    We are up for a struggle this year, and for another four if we cannot muster enough rational support to oust this regime. It will be about being focused and steadfast.

    I do not know if you have written on this topic before, but I would relish an opportunity to read your thoughts on the topic. An excellent summary is in the Atlantic article:

    The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

    We will all have to be careful, considering the above essay, to attend to what we read in the coming year to stay informed to serve the goal that needs reaching.

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  83. Thank you again, Jim. As a 70-year-old American (and 24-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force) I wake up daily and wonder if I will see a return to any kind of sanity in my country before I die. It gets harder every day, but I haven't given up hope. Sharing your columns is part of my hopefulness.

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  84. Thank you for this. It's a wonderful articulation of sentiments I've been expressing for a long time now as I try to manage the sometimes-overwhelming cognitive dissonance of living with a President and Senate - and loads of Representatives - whose behavior is a daily repudiation of the values we supposedly hold as a nation. I've shared it on my Facebook page, where I've posted many of my own analyses and critiques of our politics. I wish I could attribute this accurately, but I remember hearing of a person who, upon being asked why he protested when he knew it wouldn't have any effect, replied that he protested not to change his country but so that his country wouldn't change him. This is a great reminder, especially at a time when so many people are perfectly willing to offer alternative facts and selectively parse our history in an effort to defend the indefensible.

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    1. Not only should we protest to ensure we aren't changed by the wrongs around us, we should protest and speak out because they're rights guaranteed to us by the First Amendment and we should use them to make ourselves heard when there are wrongs that need to be stopped/changed. The actual truth, the for-real-and-accurate facts must be heard and declared. The voice of truth must never be silenced, and I will be part of that voice. I know, from studying history, truth-speakers who refuse to shut up can end up in a Bad Way. I accept that risk.

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  85. Oh my actual god, Jim, that was fucking BRILLIANT.

    This should be made into leaflets and airdropped over every red-leaning ZIP code in the nation.

    Of course, the ones who most need to read and absorb it would say "tl;dr",(a phrase which, in my opinion, should disqualify anyone who uses it from ANY participation in the civic life of their nation, state, county, city, town, or commonwealth).

    My point, though: Incredibly well-written. Also tragic and rage-inducing, but that's not YOUR fault. Thank you.

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  86. Can I copy and paste this? This is great.

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  87. Republicans are the new Nazis. Prove me wrong.

    Spot-on essay as always. Welcome to the new Dark Ages, everyone. :(

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  88. I think that Americans won’t understand most of what the declaration says because of the written words used in the 18th century, put everything our founding fathers wrote in the simplest laymen’s terms and maybe those republicans who continue to support tyrants will get the concept of the laws and how our government is supposed to work!!
    Loved your version though!

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  89. You brought tears to my eyes and a cold clamp on my heart. Your dovetailing our current crisis with the Declaration of Independence is excellent and chilling. I'm old as dirt, so I had the benefit of an education that, from grammar school through graduation, included mandatory classes in Civics, Social Studies, American History, World History, Constitutional Law, etc... all of which stressed /our/ responsibility to keep our government a democratic republic.

    I can, to this day, recite the Preamble to the Constitution (although after hearing Schoolhouse Rock over and over while my kids were watching I tend to sing it), as easily as passages from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.

    For kids today who aren't required to take those classes, this should be required reading in English Comprehension. Gen X, Millennials, and especially Gen Z should definitely read this. We are, literally, the last defense for future generations.

    But, aside from all that, I'd love to hear your theories about why the world is quickly becoming Autocratic Regimes. The UK, or I should say England, is like a shadow show of what's going on in the US. How much do you think the US is playing a part in this as well?

    I can't believe I'm only now finding you. I'm off to read your other essays.

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    1. In defense of us Millennials and our posterity, the decision to remove Civics, Social Studies, Home Economics, Shop, and other former staples of Boomer education in order to devote more time to subjects that fit nicely into a standardized testing format was made when the oldest of us were entering high school.

      While I consider myself fortunate as the oldest of three Millennials to have received a more rounded education than my siblings, it still doesn't change the fact that I'm the only one of us who got to take a Home Economics class (which I got nothing out of because no one in school wanted me in their group and the teacher insisted that I work in one), my youngest sibling was never offered a shop class, and I'm the only one who remembers a time before mandatory standardized testing.

      And to think that previous generations call us crazy for believing that we were set up to fail...

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  90. Brava! Brava! Brava! Your analysis nails the current situation dead on, which is depressing and fury-inducing (because of how far things have gone to get to this state). The desire to throw down and rebel against injustices has been brewing within me for a few years now.

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  91. Easily one of th he best pieces of writing I have seen in many, many years. Thank you, sir, for expressing that which I lack the talent to say.

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  92. Permission to reproduce this as a broadside or as a pamphlet and distribute it, sir?

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  93. I am struck by Franklin’s quote at the end. We have long imagined it as a rallying message to those looking to break free from the tyranny of the Crown. Today, I see it as Mitch McConnell's call to rally Republicans. If the united Republican front cracks or weakens, they will crumble and there will be hell to pay.

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  94. Well, after reading this, I’m convinced that US Senator Mike Gravel my have hit on an answer to the problem in his book. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Failure_of_Representative_Government.html?id=3vTHDwAAQBAJ

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  95. Absolutely brilliant writing Jim! Thank you for all you do!

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  96. Spot on essay, Jim, and your best work to date.

    Unfortunately, for 40% of our population it will fall on deaf ears. It's not the lack of civics courses in schools that causes this ignorance, it's the internet and how that segment of the population can craft their own "truths" and develop a fan base by spreading these lies. It's almost like this country has gotten overrun by Limbaugh clones, and it's gut wrenching to say the least.

    A typical conversation I will have with Trumpists/GOP'ers these days kinds of goes like this.


    Me:

    Trumpist: I bet that you thank President Trump when you look at how well your 401k is doing.

    *rolls eyes*

    Know who else has a great economy but also a lousy government (that, also, cannot be trusted)? China. It's almost like 40% of our citizens are absolutely blind to history or about how anything works. Or, more likely they're just nihilists. Donald Trump marginalizes the value and/or importance of practically everything... except money. I can understand the attraction of 40% of folks to Donald Trump in that light.

    Coming back to your essay and my initial remark, none of the history behind the DOI or the Constitution matters to a large % of our population. And the same group of folks shows zero understanding that our entire system -- all of it -- is an honor system at the end of the day. Sure, everything is in writing, but if enough dishonorable people pollute the system then it will fail; the government is not the answer crowd have certainly empowered politicians who prove this point exactly (wherein if you think that government is not the answer, and you elect someone who has no answers, then absolutely nothing in government functions, and this is all by design).

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    1. To be completely pedantic, nihilists aren't inherently destructive, they just don't think that anything matters.

      These people, on the other hand, are actively destroying as much of the world as they can because they're angry and dissatisfied with how their lives have turned out, but they still haven't caught on to the fact that everything they were told that the world would be like was a lie designed to convince them to part with their money.

      Unfortunately, you can't convince a sucker that they're a sucker until it's too late.

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  97. Thanks for the hint that America's problems with gun violence begin with the belief that the Founding Fathers empowered us, individually, to use violence as we see fit to solve our problems.

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  98. Thank you Jim Wright! Very well shared and so true. (I may make another comment as a follow up to this but this one can stand alone if you choose).

    I thank you because you have put clearly into words what really bothers me right now about Trump and what the Republican party is becoming more and more of...blind followers of an ideology I am not sure they could even define in a cohesive way...seems like they are more against even relatively moderate liberals like me (though I really like some of what the more "radical" liberals have to say) than they (the Republicans) are for anything...except maybe money. Maybe they are just in support of money and power through any and all means and those two intoxicants are "drugs" that anyone of any political allegiance could get hooked on and that is true regardless of time and place.

    But right now, it is the Republican party that is really showing some bad colors, that there is something they love and it is not the America that these selections of The Declaration of Independence hint that the founders wanted (basically they wanted the opposite of each of the 27 items they were protesting and rightly so). So Jim Wright you are right to post this posting; it is extremely timely. Susanne

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    1. "Republican Party" is a grotesque misnomer.

      It is the Monarchist Party now.

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  99. I am a person of action but only after I can see clearly the ways in which my actions help in the long run. Of course I do some short term thinking like most do but that is not my modus operandi. What should I do? I want to do something to vote for the world I want to live in, that I want future generations to live in...more than only voting in elections, though that is vital of course. I want to vote with my whole life.

    I buy Fair Trade, local and from family businesses and work hard to reduce household waste in all the ways I can think of and talk to others about things like mesh bags for produce at the grocery. I have uncomfortable political conversations with as much civility as I can muster. My job used to take me internationally and so I struggle to be patient with those who think the the US American way of life is the only path to a good life, let alone those who demonize those they do not fully understand and have made no effort to understand.

    I also plan on volunteering with Habitat For Humanity starting in a couple of months and want to become a foster parent for kids with disabilities since I used to work with kids with Autism but now have lots of time on my hands. I study at least three hours a day and write letters to my senators in Oregon. I try to encourage my neighbors to make better use of the safety net we still have in America. What else can I do? I need to do more. It all just feels like some dental floss (well actually dental floss is useful...just slow and tedious and non glamorous and maybe that is my answer. Maybe I need to plod through in this tedious unglamorous way and encourage others to see that small actions done consistently are valuable.

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  100. I just feel so overwhelmed some days. I used to be able to talk to Republicans and enjoyed their company just fine even if we needed to agree to disagree at times or had the occasional passionate debate with a cool off needed for a while... and now with many of them happy about the outcome of the Senate "trial" of President Trump, I am honestly having a hard time respecting them especially when they do not appreciate how demoralizing that was for me personally and many of my friends. I don't know how to talk to Republicans even though I do believe there can be healthy versions of being conservative, some of which seems to be hinted at in the Declarations that you quoted above. How can we better talk to each other? to a political listening circle at the local library here but the only people that have shown up the times I have been there have been just as liberal as me or more so.
    How does one dialogue with a group that thinks one is the wrong kind of American? How do I keep myself from getting resentful of being viewed this way to the point that I wind up responding in kind? I could use your post to argue that some Republicans are indeed betraying America but I would like to have productive conversations with people who may never see as I do on things rather than only hang out with those who see as I do or (worse) live in such a state of tension that I am unfit to do even the little good I do manage. There are more ways to win a war than with just bullets and I dislike the war metaphor cause who really benefits from Americans seeing each other this way? It is not the small people like me who benefit. No way.

    It is hard for me to hope for change when people who need to talk to each other are having a hard time doing it but surely this is not the first time in history such a thing has happened that people could not stand the sight of one another and according to Shakespeare the results are tragic.

    If you do not post this, that is fine but feel free to shoot an email. Let me know if it inspires another post. I like to inspire people or at least try to since I do not feel as if I do very much for the world in terms of making a difference. I can try harder I suppose but I have really bad insomnia that makes me tired a lot. I use a VPN because paying for that is part of my investment toward data security and how it relates to Democracy. I don't have it set to show any other signal than the USA at this point and actually have little need for such but just in case. ...Oh and this comment is from Susanne of Klamath Falls, Oregon...soon to be of Florence Oregon. Best Wishes and thank you. I have not read the Declaration of Independence since high school and I did not absorb the import of it then as I did just now. I think I will read the constitution tomorrow. It will be a refreshing change of pace from world events, science, religion and misc that I am normally engaged with. Peace. Post all,some or none of my comments since this is your space and I am simply a guest. I would have sent this as an email but I thought maybe it would speak to others here that feel a bit stymied like I do, but who are searching for some hope.

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  101. I, for one, would love to hear you do a podcast once in a while. I'm sure Randi Rhodes would love to have you on her show - perhaps same deal as Malcolm Nance got? Check her site out, see if she seems OK to you: https://randirhodes.com/

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  102. The day that democracy died
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQPeVJQaUSw

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  103. Great piece! The important thing I would like to add is that it would be meaningful to acknowledge that the Declaration of Independence was pretty harsh on indigenous populations & slaves. The Founding Fathers, while highly intelligent men, were still products of their day & age- which had both it's good & bad aspects.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/02/americas-twofold-original-sin/606163/

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  104. Thanks Chief.
    I was missing your essays this last month.
    I am going to send links, with attribution, to congressional candidates. May be these words are useful as inspiration or angles of attack for them.
    Thanks again for the step by step. Every time he crosses one of these lines, it feels like a bell is tolling.
    I may print this out and hang it up too. Or share with friends.
    Cheers,
    SFC Mike

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  105. Those complaints are far far MORE relevant today that they were back then when the REAL complaints were
    Parliament (George had no real power) was telling the Americans to stop stealing Indian land
    The British Courts had ruled that Slavery was not legal

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  107. Except you did not repudiate "the White Christian God", pointing out the First Amendment -- but you got the rest right

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  108. I loved this. Really. It's something I have had kicking around in the back of my mind for some time, and I'm shamed to admit that I couldn't rise to the challenge of reciting some part of the DoI. I knew it, but I had to be reminded of sections. Thing is that I learned all I know of the DoI from the play 1776, and not from my High School History. Learned more about the Cross of Gold and Teapot Dome Scandal than I did of the DoI or the Constitution.

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  109. This ranks among your very best, maybe THE best. If only the Trump beguiled would read it with open minds, things could change. However, I very much fear that those of us who recognize the truth this piece are the only ones who will read it. As the saying goes: "There are none so blind as those who will not see." Those fitted with "MAGA" blinders not only will not see, they won't even look.

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