On a Fourth of July that marks a certain orange one’s first year in office, “celebrating” the U.S.’ independence feels somehow cartoonish, a mockery of the document that begat it in the first place: the Declaration of Independence. It took five “men”–John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston–to draft and ratify this life-changing document and, apparently, only one “man” to destroy it. Of course, many before Trump have “loosely interpreted” a.k.a. slaughtered the meaning of this hallowed script.
Ironically, a similarly abhorred “man” was the cause of its invention–of America itself. Yes, King George III was the monarch who Americans, in many ways, ought to thank for our independence. For if he wasn’t such an asshole, levied so many taxes against Englishmen in the colonies without their consent and generally treated pre-Americans with so little regard, we might never have known the level of freedom illuminated by the Declaration of Independence, the type of freedom that no other culture had thus far been bold enough or saw fit to claim. And with the immortal words, “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,” perhaps the Founding Fathers unwittingly fucked some of us over. Because 1) it still only apparently applies to “men” (white) and 2) it also gives license for shittaytay politicians like Chris Christie to pursue their happiness in a way that invokes murderous rage in others. These are the “men” who have lost sight of what the Declaration of Independence means.
Whereas a statesman like Abraham Lincoln used the tenets of the prose for the good of all, a “man” like the orange one wields them as he pleases, unmoved by the spirit and significance of these words that once comprised the optimism and can-do attitude of U.S. denizens, but now seem only to be used to justify every “man’s” evils, though a handful in particular in a certain administration at the moment.