The Declaration of Dependence
By Mark Alexander
There are two days on our Patriot calendar set aside to celebrate Liberty.
The first is Patriots' Day, April 19th, when in 1775 the first shots of the American Revolution were fired against government enforcers who were ordered to confiscate arms in Concord.
The second, of course, is Independence Day, celebrating the signing of America's unanimous Declaration that Liberty is an unalienable right of all men, as "endowed by their Creator." Eleven years later, those who survived the Revolution codified that endowment of Liberty in our nation's formative Constitution.
To understand the essence of American Liberty, I have invested much of my life studying the years between 1760 and 1800 and the Americans who declared and fought for the endowment of Liberty for all generations to follow.
With that as a backdrop, in the last 48 hours I have received six invitations to attend the Broadway production "Hamilton," Lin-Manuel Miranda's "rap musical" ostensibly about Alexander Hamilton. Miranda, who wrote the book (winning a 2016 Pulitzer for drama) and music (winning a 2016 Grammy), has, of course, cast himself in the starring role, though he is hardly typecast for Hamilton's character.
According to those who are interested in theatrics, Miranda, a liberal celeb, is talented — just not in a trade that I appreciate.
Theater isn't "my thing," though I have attended two musical productions in my lifetime: "Phantom" and "Les Misérables." The former was at Her Majesty's Theatre and the latter at Queen's Theatre in London. Yes, those shows were on my wife's bucket list, and, yes, my attendance was compulsory. (Don't tell anyone, but I enjoyed both.)
When it comes to our Founding Fathers, Miranda's Puerto Rican rap falls into the "non sequitur" category. But I am of the opinion that anything that might inspire contemporary "touchy-feely-artsy" folks to learn something of our history, however marginal, can be admirable. Few of them under 40 have ever had a basic civics or American history course.
And why would young people think the history of Liberty is relevant, given advice like this from sitting Seventh Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner last week: "I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation. Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. ... Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights ... do not speak to today."
Naturally, the Broadway production received rave reviews from The New York Times, where one critic summed up the rest: "This brave new show about America's founding fathers has been given the kind of worshipful press usually reserved for the appearances of once-in-a-lifetime comets or the births of little royal celebrities. Yes, it really is that good." More recently, the reviews from some leftist quarters, including Slate, have been less than enthusiastic.
Now, I don't take my cultural (or any other) cues from the Times or Slate, but my opinion about "Hamilton" was actually on the favorable side. Favorable, that is, until I was inundated with invitations this week — all of which were in the form of fundraising appeals.
Who would be so persistent in using a revisionist Broadway hit to raise money?
In Clinton's lottery offer to win tickets and attend the show with her, she urged, "The best moments of our nation's history teach us that anyone can smash every expectation we have for them and shape the course of our collective history. This is a show about who we are, about our potential as a nation, about our dreams for our country and our children. R.W., I want to experience that with you!"
Who is "R.W.," you ask?
Yes, I subscribe to a lot of "enemy intel" in the form of daily emails from Clinton's campaign, Obama's administration and even the daily Communist Party USA rants. I use the alias of my mentor, "R.W. Reagan." (The NSA's trolling software must burp when assessing the variety of content in my inbox.)
After the Clinton invites, the two from Obama included this message: "Way back in 2009, we invited a young, talented writer named Lin-Manuel Miranda to perform at the very first White House Poetry Jam. In seven short years, Hamilton has gone from a spark in Lin-Manuel's brilliant mind to a landscape-changing, genre-reinventing, revolutionary piece of musical theater. I have to admit I've seen it twice — we've invited the cast to perform at the White House and even introduced the show at the Tonys. You could say that Michelle and I are superfans. As Alexander Hamilton says, 'America really is a great unfinished symphony.' Hillary's team is saving seats..."
OK, enough already. I think in his roundabout way Obama just took credit for Miranda's success. If Leftmedia endorsements weren't quite enough to send me the other way, the Clinton and BO superfan promos closed the deal. Oh, and the Alexander Hamilton never said, "America really is a great unfinished symphony."
And that brings me full circle — to Obama's relentless effort to finish our historic symphony of Liberty by rewriting it.
Whenever BO or his Democratic Party lap dogs mention our Founding Fathers, our Declaration of Independence or our Constitution, I suggest you listen with the ear of a well-informed skeptic.
Obama's understanding of his family roots is as delusional as his interpretation of our nation's foundational roots. The first paragraph of his White House bio has, since January 20, 2009, asserted, "His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family..." That description bears absolutely no resemblance to his tragic childhood.
Ahead of our 240th Independence Day anniversary — the last during which Obama will occupy the Oval Office — let's look back at a few of his more delusional references to our Founders and the Declaration of Independence.
"It turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change that I would like sometimes," lamented BO in 2012, noting "what's frustrated people is that I have not been able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008," and that he isn't the "transformational political figure that they hoped for."
The key word here is "sometimes," because, as he added, "One of the things about being president is you get better as time goes on." In this case, "better" means mastering the art of the "BIG Lie."
On SCOTUS, Obama complains, "The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. ... [It] didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution ... that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. [It] says what the states can't do to you. [It] says what the federal government can't do to you, but [it] doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf."
Of course, our Founders' primary objective was to establish constitutional Rule of Law, defining severe limitations on the role and power of the central government.
BO objects to the checks and balances our Founders established, and he confuses the role of the executive with the role of an imperial potentate. He believes that once elected, he's entitled to impose his will on all his subjects: "Let's work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy. ... That's not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government. ... You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. ... Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That's not being faithful to what this country's about."
Earlier this month House Speaker Paul Ryan summarized BO's penchant for dictatorial rule in the mildest of terms, noting his "dangerous level of executive overreach." Indeed, BO's most dangerous authoritarian legacy is defined by his utter disdain for the separation of powers, which he routinely demonstrates with his end-runs around the legislative and judiciary branches.
In Federalist No. 47, our Constitution's principle author, James Madison, warned, "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
One of the more ridiculous examples of Obama's misunderstanding of our Founders would be this assertion about Thomas Jefferson, the principle author of our Declaration of Independence. In his summary of a meeting with Vietnam's Communist leader, Truong Tan Sang, Obama said, "At the conclusion of the meeting ... we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson."
Gosh, who knew that communist dictators receive their inspiration from our Founders and our founding documents?
But where BO gets it most wrong is his fundamental disregard for the rights of man as revealed in these words from the Declaration: "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."
Obama rejects the notion of this eternal endowment because he and his leftist protagonists are seeking to replace Rule of Law with the rule of men — the former being predicated on the principle that Liberty is the "gift of God," while the latter asserts that Liberty is granted to us by those in government.
BO harbors so much disdain for the assertion of endowed rights that he has publicly quoted the Declaration while deliberately omitting the words "by their Creator." He did so in four public speeches until we challenged him on the omissions. Clearly, his preference is for secular regressivism — and for a Declaration of Dependence.
I wonder if Obama and his communist comrades have ever pondered these words from Jefferson: "God who gave us life gave us Liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."
During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin rose and declared, "We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed no better than the Builders of Babel."
And so it is today.
Finally, to better understand what it is we celebrate on July 4th, Obama and his heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, should study the words of Alexander Hamilton more closely — particularly these regarding the rights of man: "The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms and false reasonings is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature, entitled to a parity of privileges. You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice."
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.