By: Mark Spivey, M.Ed.
I’ve been gone a while from the editorial landscape; still smoldering from the election results of November 2016. I must admit that I was very surprised by the outcome just like millions of “real” Americans everywhere. “Real” Americans as in those of us who believe in the “intended” true meaning of the Declaration of Independence where it states: “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”. I never knew that this proclamation came with an expiration date.
I’ve noticed in many publications that the words “Creator”, “Rights”, “Life”, “Liberty”, and the “Pursuit of Happiness” are all capitalized. They all look out of place of sorts, especially if you are an English major or English teacher. Why would Thomas Jefferson choose those words to highlight? They tend to “pop-out” at you as if they were begging for attention; but they’re not like hidden messages from the Da Vinci Codes nor are they succinct and polarizing. In actuality, these words tend to resonate with power paid for with blood, sweat, tears, and death. How inappropriate would it be for any administration of the people, for the people, and by the people to TRUMP over the advancements of this document propelling it back to the Middle Ages.
We are witnessing American Absolutism at its finest right now. Unlike the European Absolutism of the 16th and 17th centuries, there are no invasions of foreign countries (not yet anyway) and bankrupt economies, but there are however, visions of one-man rule and king-like qualities that another document in American history vehemently denies, that being the United States Constitution. At the core of this “new” Absolutism is the 21st Century’s version of Louis XIV. Arrogant, cocky, misogynistic, and rich are the calling cards that have exalted him beyond the grasp of democratic sensibilities into a makeshift world of political trial and error. Reminiscent of Don Quixote, “45” does not see the world and how it really is; a bastion of colors, ethnicities, cultures, races and hope. Instead, he paints a picture of gloom, disgust, sorrow, and prejudice. Also reminiscent of Quixote, this president will more than likely end up ostracized and politically censured ala Senator Joseph McCarthy of the “Red Scare” fame. But, by that time the Declaration of Independence would have truly expired.
The funny thing about expiration dates is the criteria used to determine its meaning. Gallons of milk used to have the words “best if used by” a certain date. Other foods have “use by” a certain date. There is a difference, you know? I argue with my wife all the time about disposing of milk that we have in the fridge after its expiration date. “It’s still good, honey”, I say. But, I found out the hard way that the longer you wait to get rid of milk way past its standard time of consumption, the worse off are the consequences of you ingesting it. Just pour that damn milk out…
The Declaration of Independence is expiring right before our eyes. Words are being quickly eradicated from its meaning.
Last week I turned on the news and watched thousands of immigrants flowing across the Canadian border in frigid weather. Men, women, and children were running from a land where the milk has stopped flowing and the honey is no longer sweet. Chased by the Immigration and the Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), these immigrants were a part of tax-paying citizens here illegally pumping 400 billion dollars’ worth of tax revenue into the American landscape.
I hate to see them go, but it might be a blessing in disguise because the milk is spoiling. Make sure you are aware of the expiration date. God bless, goodnight, and keep yo families together.