Hey Everyone!! :-)
I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. On July 4th -- for those of you outside the US, that's our Independence Day holiday when we commemorate the signing of our Declaration of Independence from England -- National Public Radio (NPR) read out the Declaration of Independence, which is something they've been doing for several decades. But this year, instead of reading it out over the radio, they decided to change with the times and they tweeted it out in 140 character segments.
Now, this should be obvious, though it apparently isn't, but the Declaration of Independence was written by the leaders of the American Revolution. Ergo, it is rather revolutionary in tone. Honestly, I'm not sure why this isn't a "duh," but there were an awful lot of Americans who took exception to these tweets. And, I'm sure this won't surprise many people reading this blog, many of the people who were upset were Trump supporters. Because they viewed the tweets as attacks against the Swamp Thing in Chief, even though they self-evidently weren't. Though, the fact that Trump has enough in common with King George III of England, a despot who was tyrannical enough that he incited a war of revolution against him, that so many people thought a document calling out King George applied to the current US President might be something that supporters of Trump should reflect on.
At any rate, as I've pointed out on this blog in the past, the Founding Fathers were revolutionaries. Literally. This country was born from a determination to hold power accountable and to protect liberty for the common man. Now, who the "common man" was then differed greatly from who that would be today, I'm not claiming that the American Revolution freed all residents of America or that the Founding Fathers were free from flaws. Far from it. At the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, only white, land-owning men benefited from the rights described therein. But the spirit of revolution, by its very nature, is welcoming to change.
So, when conservatives talk about patriotism as it applies to the US, it always both amuses me and confuses me. Because revolution isn't conservative. Revolution, by definition, means change. Now, traditionally it has mostly applied to violent change, but times have changed and the term has evolved to also included non-violent political and social takeovers. But still, it refers to fast, dramatic change. And that's what the founders of the United States stood for, change. The advent of a democratic republican form of government like the one we're supposed to have here was, at the time, quite literally revolutionary.
All of which means that to be patriotic in the context of the United States is to constantly challenge the status quo. To question authority and speak truth to power. And to never, ever accept the idea that things can't be better than they are, or to stop pushing to make them so. Which is the exact opposite of conservatism, which by definition seeks to preserve things as they are. Unfortunately for conservatives, stagnation isn't a good thing for any society. And maybe that's why those tweets bothered Trump supporters so much. Because having the Declaration of Independence broken down for them that way underscored just how incompatible Trump's behavior is with the revolutionary ideals this country was founded on.