Reading the Journal Star's reprint of the Declaration of Independence brought to mind George Santayana’s cautionary truth that those who are not mindful of the past are condemned to repeat it.
Though written in the 18th century, several of the document’s grievances against King George III are jarringly contemporary and familiar.
"He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws … til his Assent should be obtained.” Mitch McConnell has routinely abdicated his sworn duty to bring legislation to a vote, simply because the president has expressed his disapproval.
"For depriving us … of the benefit of Trial by Jury." Recall the pre-trial chants of "Lock Her Up" and the preemptive death sentences imposed on the Central Park Five?
"He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices." Again, Mitch McConnell as constitutional turncoat.
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"He has excited domestic insurrection among us." Roiling ethnic and racial strife has become a commonplace partisan battle tactic.
"He has abdicated Government … waging War against us." Donald Trump has belligerently abandoned a core First Amendment right by portraying the Fourth Estate as the "enemy of the people."
In a recent Politico Magazine article, Jeff Greenfield underscored our head of state’s incalculable ignorance. Refuting Trump’s claim to have been treated worse than any president in history, Mr. Greenfield reminds him, and us, that four of his predecessors were assassinated!
Sadly, Trump’s embarrassing obliviousness to American history is not exclusive to him. Our electorate's own chronic historical illiteracy is inevitably reflected in and perpetuated by those we select for office.
We will honor our country more by an earnestly sought, honestly portrayed, and enduring knowledge of its history than we do by shallow or perfunctory allegiance to any of its symbols.
Larry McClung, Lincoln