I see a sailboat. It’s a little more than two hundred years old, and once a glorious beauty … now a dimming glow emanating from her sails. She carries on, slightly self-conscious and wavering in her confidence, but still clearing the higher waves. Recovery is now rockier than it once was, the sound of moaning wood and creaking pulley’s betraying the underlying disintegration of her stabilizers.

The sailors seem oblivious to her needs, allowing the maintenance schedules to go unchecked for a little too long, leaving perpetually ravenous critters hiding in the shadows of the hull that no one has inspected for … well, they can’t remember when.

She was built for everyone; anyone who wanted to feel the freedom of the wind in their hair, to travel toward the horizon and see what hopes and dreams the future might hold, to entertain and pursue their aspirations, and to give so much needed support and safety as they pursue their freely chosen destination. Now, many of her beloved, those she longs to carry on her decks, walk past the embarkation plank, sneering with a hint of contempt as they glance her way. Do they believe they’re headed toward a bigger and more elite vessel that will take them to newer and better places?

Her wood creaks and moans as the waves slap up against the dock, the rigging slack and waving in the wind. She grieves … yet, she hopes.  These things are not mutually exclusive.

I have been thinking about world views, philosophical frameworks, order, chaos, good vs. evil, tricks and ploys of the enemy aiming to steal, kill, and destroy; and the astonishing gullibility of the citizenry. I confess I am part of that citizenry, having spent too many years with my nose to the grindstone, not paying attention to the bigger picture; the more important things. And now, 35 years later, I’m shocked when I meet someone who really … knows … very … little … about this country and its history. It seems our faded awareness of liberty’s precarious state has left us unaware of our current and urgent need to keep fighting for it. Might our once insistent appetite for freedom be spoiled?

Given what I’ve been thinking about, I must have been predisposed to reading several articles of the past day or two that describe the National Archives labeling of the founding documents with the following warning label:

“Harmful Language Alert: see NARA’s Statement on Potentially Harmful Language.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a rat.

A big one at that; like a five-star general rat. This rat is going after the fundamental cornerstone of the essential framework defining our philosophy as a people, and the principles of governing that facilitate our capacity to abide by that philosophy.

I recall with great fondness my high school U.S. History class. I’d been taught U.S. History a few times before, but it had never clicked like it did during my Sophomore year. The brilliance of the Founding Fathers in crafting a compelling case for separation from Britain in the Declaration of Independence, and then framing an structure of governance in the Constitution that seemed quite anticipatory given the reality of human nature … well, their work deeply resonated with me. They, in effect, had made a promise that, no matter how bad things got at home, in my great country I would always be treated with fairness and respect. As a dealt with the final years of a terrible home life, the promise spurred me on. I left home very early, confident that my country would be there for me. I struggled, of course, and faltered along the way. But I never stopped pursuing my dreams. The writers of the Declaration and the Constitution had made a promise. And I trusted them. I believed them.

And they made good on that promise.

I’d say about 45 years ago, something started happening. I was too young and impressionable to connect the dots at the time; for me it just seemed cool to dress like a hippy and hang out with my stoner friends smoking Marlboros in the driveway while our parents were all at work. Our teachers were our parent’s age and still teaching Math, History, English, Spanish, Geography, Science, Art, and Team sports. Yes, there were a few fringe-wearing shop teachers, but how much indoctrination could they do while demonstrating how to dismantle an engine? My public-school education was pretty good, despite my complete collapse as a Sophomore into the “way-below a B range of grades,” sitting in the back row wearing dark glasses rather than in the front row (my normal spot) and wishing every day that my mother’s new condo would be painted soon so that we could move out of the house and get away from my father.

Some of you will disagree, and I could be wrong. Maybe it didn’t start happening that early, but honestly, I suspect it did. The country was in turmoil over Vietnam, and the daily coverage of the countless casualties palled our once strong identity and pride as a people … and as a country. WWII had been our shining moment. I don’t think it occurred to us that we would not succeed in whatever it was we were doing over there (a problem in and of itself, of course). Maybe we as a people weren’t prepared for Vietnam.

Did those years create a void of courage and a muddled sense of purpose, allowing different ideas to rush in and take up the newly available space, the invasion going unnoticed except by those sending the lower ranking rats into the water to start their long swim toward the boat? Yes … that might be what happened; they were sent to prepare the target, weaken the foundational stabilizers and soften her up from the inside; the inside places no one thought to check on every so often. We were fooled. As the little rats did their work, the outside sails changed very little. Still glorious … for a long time.

Subconsciously, I’ve always viewed my country and the prospects for my place in it through the philosophy portrayed by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I thought everyone else did too. And then I woke up. I now realize and have come to accept that rats don’t play by the rules. They have only one purpose – to destroy while getting their fill along the way. You won’t find civil discourse with a rat. You won’t find reason, or acknowledgement of our rights as equal people under natural law. Rats don’t care about consensus or living in harmony with others. They want to gnaw the ropes until the entire system of sails collapse, the boat stalls and begins to drift, and the beauty eventually sinks to the bottom.

Rats aren’t stupid; they’re devious. Their two most potent tools involve language: 1) First, redefine and create words, and 2) gaslight through mantra, and then hand out capricious punishments for challenges to the rat’s version of reality.

So, let’s just note here how important words are.

God spoke creation into existence.

So, yes, pretty important. Pretty dang powerful.

Rats know this. They take precious words that have real meaning, redefine them on the fly (which foments confusion, division, and uncertainty) and use them to distort reality in order to ideologically brainwash the citizenry; a citizenry that has become a receptive audience made up of all the victimized youths and their sycophant elders who want their votes (the elders who all know better, yet pretend to agree with this ridiculous language). This is gaslighting on steroids.

Now, the rats are out in the open.

“Harmful Language Alert: see NARA’s Statement on Potentially Harmful Language.”

Again, this is the label displayed above the National Archives website pages containing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

THIS LABEL is harmful language!

The very people who need to read these beautiful documents (to gain an understanding of what this country is about, and to salvage the possibility of realizing their hopes and dreams), are being manipulated and gaslighted into a miserable, fear-filled, and lonely future. Many of them, if the rats have their way, will never know the truth.

To show you how bad the rat-factor is, I had to revisit the documents today just to make sure I was certain and clear in my own understanding of what’s contained therein. The rats have gotten to me too.

There is one reference toward the end of the indictments against the King of Britain:

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.”

Today this description would be labeled by those somehow oblivious to historical context and the phenomenon of societal change over time as “violent.” But let me just say this: In May of 1658, my 8th Great Granduncle Jan Slecht, son of Cornelius Barentse Slecht, my 9th Great Grandfather, was captured by the Indians, made to run the gauntlet, and then burned at the stake. Stuff like that happened back then …  albeit this was before the British took New Amsterdam from the Dutch, but it was still happening decades later.

Anyway, I have taken the liberty of including content from the beautifully argued and clearly written Declaration of Independence. Some of this is verbatim, and some paraphrased so as not to get bogged down. But I bet you won’t get bogged down. It is an encouraging reminder that we as a people have a certain spirit about us. Here goes.

 

“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 Power 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.

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–That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should 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. 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.”

The first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence

 

The document goes on to indict the King of Great Britain, the many charges paraphrased below. This is important – a key to understanding what drove the founders to declare independence. I’ve nearly presented them verbatim, but only “nearly.” As I was revisiting these indictments, I was struck; maybe they’re too close to home.

  • Refusing to assent to wholesome laws necessary for the public good;
  • Forbidding governors from passing needed laws without his approval;
  • Refusing to pass laws for large districts of people unless those people relinquish the right of representation;
  • Creating discomfort and inconvenience for legislative bodies to access public records;
  • Repeatedly dissolving representative houses for opposing his invasion on the rights of the people;
  • Refusing for a long period to cause others to be elected, creating exposure of the State to invasion from outside and “convulsions” within;
  • Endeavored to prevent population growth of the State through obstruction of the laws for naturalization of foreigners, etc.
  • Obstruction of justice by refusing to assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers;
  • Appointing judges dependent on his will alone for tenure and pay;
  • Erecting a “multitude” of new offices, sending “swarms” of officers to harass the people and eat at their substance;
  • Keeping standing armies in times of peace without the consent of the Legislatures;
  • Rendering the military independent and superior to the civil power;
  • Colluding with others to subject the State to a jurisdiction foreign to the people’s constitution, unacknowledged by the State’s laws, and giving assent to their acts of pretended legislation;
    • There are nine specific indictments listed (paraphrased here):
      • Quartering large numbers of armed troops among the colonists;
      • Protecting those troops charged with murder via mock trials;
      • Cutting off trade with all parts of the world;
      • Imposing taxes without the consent of the people;
      • Depriving the people of the benefits of trial by jury;
      • Transporting persons abroad to be tried for pretended offenses;
      • Abolishing the free system of English Laws and establishing an arbitrary government, enlarging its boundaries, and using it as an example and fit instrument for introducing absolute Rule into these colonies;
      • Taking away the people’s charters, abolishing valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our government;
      • Suspending the people’s legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    • Abdicating his government in the colonies by declaring the people out of his protection and waging war against them;
    • Plundering the people’s seas, ravaging the coast, burning the towns, and destroying the lives of the people;
    • At the time of the writing, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to “compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a Civilized Nation.”
    • Constraining 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.
    • Exciting domestic insurrections amongst us, and endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known for Rule of Warfare, in an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

“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.”

There is more, and I encourage you take the all-of-10-minutes to read the entire document. Part of the declaration’s brilliance is in its succinct clarity and candor.

If you’re paying attention to what’s happening in this country and in the world, you can’t un-see what you’re seeing. I know … I wish I could. I long for the feeling of relief that washes over me when I wake up and realize it was just a bad dream. But this isn’t a dream. This is happening.

I fear that the rats have gotten a bit of an upper hand.

But hold on. This country still has the spirit of the patriots, a respect for courage and honor, and a love of the good. Freedom is in our DNA. It cannot be suppressed, at least not indefinitely.

We need to face this, and start working the system that the founding fathers put in place, leveraging our agreements under the Constitution to the greatest extent possible under the law. To be tenacious in the fight against tyranny and self-destruction … it’s what we need to do. With God’s guidance, help, intervention, and mercy, I believe we can get beyond this … and rebuild our beautiful boat.