235 and Counting

     Here’s what a certain document might have looked like if Barack Obama and today’s Democratic Party had been in charge 235 years ago.
     When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to point out that perhaps things might be run a tad better around here, no offense to the King, with whom we certainly are ready to compromise, and, not to dissolve, actually, no, not dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, but perhaps to sit down and get the King’s side of it, so that we might modify our demands, not exactly demands, really, requests, perhaps, or suggestions, yes, suggestions, tailor our suggestions, so to speak, in the interest of getting along with the King – whatever He likes is fine with us, really – and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate – though not actually separate, let’s say parallel, or cooperative – and equal – is that too strong? equal? no? let it stand, then – 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.
     Not really a separation, of course, more of a set of principles – not principles, though, if that offends the King, a set of desiderata, let us call them. Yes, desiderata. Though we could reduce that to a desideratum if the King prefers. Or his ministers prefer. Or if anyone at all objects, actually.
     We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal – bearing in mind the reservations, or qualifications, or caveats we appended, vide supra, to that word, which we are more than willing to withdraw, if it causes His Majesty the least bit of discomfort – that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable – good word that, what? it polled well; though we are certainly ready to withdraw it and substitute another: alienable, perhaps, if His Majesty prefers – rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not happiness at the expense of His Majesty, of course, or any of His Ministers, or anyone who might want to throw a few hundred thousand euros at us. Or at the King. Take the euros, Your Majesty; that’s fine with us. Really – have some of ours, if you like. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed – though if that phrase offends His Majesty we are more than willing to strike or amend it – deriving their powers from the consent of the people who last gave us the most money, for example. Or gave His Majesty the money. Whatever.
     That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it – wait, that can’t be right: “alter or abolish”? no, no, what we meant to say was “to have an election,” so long as two immensely rich organizations run by white men keep a handle on those elections, “nominating” the “candidates,” so to speak, with His Majesty’s consent, unless His Majesty prefers some other set-up, in which case all He has to do is inform us and we’ll hop to it, really, we assure Him – and to institute new government – though not precisely “new,” actually, if you catch our drift – 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 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 – there’s that unpleasant word again; surely we can find another – the forms to which they are accustomed. …
     However, with all due respect, and begging His Majesty’s pardon, we’d like to point out, through our press secretary, perhaps, so we don’t have to stand up there and say it in front of cameras and all, so it might turn up later on TV commercials and on YouTube – or, wait, I’ve got it! let’s have Biden say it – His Majesty has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
     Is that all right? Really, we could change it. Makes no difference to us. We’re more concerned with being re-elected, actually, so we can … umm … so we can … hold these truths for a while longer, I guess. Really hold them, you know? Until they become self-evident. Or something.
     And as for those objections about “quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, and protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states,” or mock trials, or no trials at all of soldiers or mercenaries sent to other states; and that quibble about “For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses” – let’s forget it. Really. Nothing at all wrong with that, that we can see.
     Pardon us for bringing it up.
     We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare …
     And so on and so forth.
     If it’s all right with The King.
     Of course, if the Republicans had been in charge 235 years ago, it would have been worse.

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