Indictments of a Would-be King: Updating the Declaration of Independence for 2020

Though most Americans understand the central purpose of the Declaration of Independence, many may not realize that nearly half of the text comprises a list of indictments against an autocrat. Though never named, the document implicates George III, the King of England. Here we update the Declaration for our time, with a different autocratic person in mind. The text includes new indictments, but also some that appear in the original 1776 document, updated or in their original form. Text that has been altered or added appears in italics.

In CONSTERNATION, JULY 4, 2020

A Declaration of the people of the United States of America.

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 powers 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 humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people 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 People, 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 once 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 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 States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Administration of Government. The history of the present King of Mar A Lago 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.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He holds himself above the Law, and the People.

He has forbidden his Senate Enablers 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.

He has refused to respect other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would profess loyalty.

He Lies as he Breathes.

He derives power by dividing us, not appealing to the Better Angels of our Nature, but exploiting the most base devils of our nativism.

He has drained not the Swamp, but the last bit of decency in our national discourse.

He has dissolved Inspectors General and other Public Servants repeatedly, for opposing with dutiful firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be confirmed; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and imprisoning their children unjustly and cruelly.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by making his Attorney General to abuse Prosecutorial Powers.

He has erected a multitude of decrees, and sent hither swarms of Acting Bureaucrats to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has sent among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He invites the Aide of foreign powers in acquiring and keeping his Position.

He has subverted the party of Lincoln to little more than a tribe of trolls.

He does not read, nor take expert counsel, but acts only in self-interest, listening only to profiteering propagandists.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on the least of us whilst favoring the very wealthy:

For not granting public review of his tax records, which logic concludes must reveal some illegal acts, foreign influence, or other perfidy.

For profiting personally from his office in ways illegal and immoral.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury of his friends and accomplices:

For embarrassing us beyond Seas by his offensive behavior:

For taking away our Scientists and Experts, gutting our most valuable Institutions and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For endangering the health of the people, first by destroying universal insurance, and now by denying a pandemic, only for his narrow political interests.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He seeks to cling to power by denying the People the means to vote freely and fairly.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our environments, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

He is at this time inciting self-appointed militias of domestic Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He takes to Twitter to twist the truth.

He hath endangered the free press by threatening those who keep us informed with actual information, not alternative facts.

He does not lead by example, but by insult.

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.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our misguided brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

We, therefore, the informed People of the united States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these States, solemnly publish and declare, That We the People are, and of Right ought to be Free, that we are Absolved from all Allegiance to any Autocrat, and that all political connection between us and the current Regime, is and ought to be totally dissolved.

To begin to reunite and mend the divisions he hath wrought, we must remove the would-be monarch, and his minions, if not by impeachment, then at the polls.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Still learning, and seeking sound stewardship of our shared Earth

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