Wednesday, July 05, 2006

[Independence Day]

The Wrongs of King George.

This is a day late, but forgive me--I would still like to issue a broadside at the Bush regime. On July four we celebrate, foremost among all elements, rebellion--its irreverence, audacity, and provocation. The drafters of the Declaration were flying a punky middle finger to King George III's arrogant exercise of power, and they drafted up a seriously inflammatory document to express their displeasure. Given the cravenly mealy-mouthed rhetoric in which nearly every national politician indulges, it's worth tipping a hat to the language of our founders:
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. 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.
It is almost too easy, but given who sits in the White House (and who runs the Senate, and who runs the House, and who dictates reality on cable TV) , I have to do it. There is some interesting resonance in some of that 230-year old language that really popped when I listened to it, as usual, on NPR (transcript from the National Archives):

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good....

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

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat 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....

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us....
So, okay, most of the items bear no exact parallel, but the pattern is striking. In 1776, the founders were rebelling against a colonizing power, whereas the greivances of 2006 are against an elected President, ensconsed in the highest seat of democracy. And yet the parallels to the kinds of crimes is unavoidable.

To select a phrase at random: " He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people." So Bush hasn't actually dissolved statehouses--the circumstances are different--but he does oppose the "invasions on the rights of the people." The framers make a specific case against King George III, and one that's now 230 years old, so the transference sufferes a little. But the crimes they cite are not so different, in kind if not magnitude.

Yes, liberals must surely hate the country for pointing out that a half-witted petty tyrant has gracelessly tried to seize power. We are impudent, irreverant, and audacious. And we oppose King George. I sleep all right at night.

Happy birthday rebellion, let your spirit ever keep this country out of the hands of the tyrants.

No comments: