A Thank You to George Bush on Our Birthday
This glorious day--the celebration of our nation's birth--is the greatest day of the year for me.
We all have our own individual birthdays which celebrate who we are, where we have come from, and the fact that we are still here. But this day is an extraordinary one. This day celebrates the common birth of ALL of us who are proud to call ourselves citizens of this great land. Today is OUR birthday.
This day gives us time to reflect on who we are collectively; it gives us time to reflect on just how far we, a ragtag bunch of settlers, slaves and later immigrants, have come; and above all, it gives us time to give thanks for the fact that, after 231 long and turbulent years, we are still here.
It is my custom, therefore, on this day, to reread once the Declaration of Indepedence and the Constitution of the United States. It may seem like a hokey thing to do, but it's deeply symbolic; these documents encompass all aspects of what this, our national day of birth, signifies.
First, because The Declaration of Independence and Constitution define us as a nation. America is not, like so many other nations, defined by a race, language, creed or culture. This Constitution, this Declaration, ARE America. Any people--black, white, brown, red, yellow, or even green little Martians--that adopts the extraordinary principles found in these documents can rightly be said to uphold the most important principles that make us who we are. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." "Free Speech." "Right to a Speedy Trial." "Separation of Powers." "Democratic Election." The list goes on and on. It makes us who we are.
Second, because they provided our nation with a template to make it through the long arduous journey that we have collectively traveled. Even when our collective behavior was not at its best--through slavery, the massacres of Native Americans, Asian-American internment camps, and all the rest--the fundamental guiding principles of fairnesss, equality and equal opportunity under the law almost always came through, like a lighthouse on dark and choppy seas.
Third, that these documents still exist as the framework of our very government some 231 years later--both in the original physical form at the National Archives, and in law offices and government buildings nationwide--is a testament to our continued presence as the same collective identity with which we began this great experimental journey.
And I want to thank you, Mr. Bush, for ruining this day for me. You and your cronies and allies who are robbing us of our sustenance and sucking away at our very essence have almost completely succeeding in turning this day for me into one of sorrow.
Today, when I read these magnificent documents, I am only reminded of how you have wrecked this nation's birthday in all three of the ways that make this day truly special.
First, you have wholly corrupted the very notion of who "we" are. You took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States--not its people, its culture, or its language. Your oath was to the Constitution, and it was to the Constitution for a reason. It was not to White People, Rich People, Straight People, or English-Speaking People. It wasn't even to Citizen People. Your oath was to the principles that make us WE THE PEOPLE. Principles that you have utterly disregarded as "quaint" and not worth your time.
You have also divided this nation bitterly between two factions. The left and the right have been so utterly divided by your lies and ante-upping aggression that we are now a nation divided. United we stand, Divided we fall, Mr. President. We are now a nation, Mr. President, not only at war with the world, but at war with each other--and we have only you to thank for that.
Second, when I read the Declaration of Independence today, I realize that we have not come very far at all. In fact, it appears that we have come full circle. Almost every offense perpetrated by King George III has been mirrored and perpetrated by you, Mr. President.
Today, Mr. President, our nation is in as much need of dissolving the poliical bands which connect them to you as our founding fathers were in need of doing so with their own "George" so many years ago. Some progress that is.
Third, when I read the Constitution and Bill of Rights today, I am only reminded of the fact that we are NOT, in fact, still here. Not like we were. Our democracy is on life support, gasping for air in an asthmatic attack of imperial oppression.
"Separation of Powers" no longer exists. "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" is denied to our citizens without proper healthcare; our soldiers without proper armor; our middle-class with no social ladder; our minorities without representation. Your signing statements have pretty much invalidated the entirety of Section I. The First Amendment hangs by a thread. The Fourth Amendment is long gone. So is the Fifth. The Eighth, Ninth, and Fifteenth are all in serious trouble, thanks to you. Oh, and you've done away with our fair and free Elections as well.
So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for ruining our birthday.
Thank you for ruining our birthday in every possible way in which it could have been ruined.
Thank you for being the catalyst for destruction of Who We Are; for being the agent of destroying 231 years of progress and returning us to exactly the point at which we started this journey; and for being the man responsible for asphyxiating our democracy to such a point that it lies, barely breathing and almost unrecognizable, on its political deathbed.