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10/06/2003 Archived Entry: "A most cynical use of the Declaration of Independence"
THIS CAME FROM LIBERTARIAN RADIO-SHOW HOST ERNIE HANCOCK. If you value the Declaration of Independence, be prepared to be anything from outraged to nauseated to sorrowful. I don't know where I can link to this; it's not on Ernie's Web site. So I hope he doesn't mind if I print it in full here.
Mourn for your country that this is how cynically it exploits one of its greatest treasures.
My wife Donna and I went to see one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence at the Arizona capitol today. From a libertarian's perspective it was not the experience I would choose for young children or the uninformed.
A great deal of space was devoted to the exhibit in at least 4 areas with lots of red, white and blue and bus load after bus load of school children. I was very happy to see so many people interested on Sunday when we stopped by, but the line was hours long so we went this morning at about 10am.
A cynical libertarian wonders why the government would be so supportive of such a tour. With sponsors like Home Depot, you'd think that they would use one of their spacious stores to bring in traffic and keep it a private venture. I remember when Home Depot announced that they wouldn't be accepting any credit card purchases from any government entities or allowing any federal government bills to be invoiced. This was in response to the federal government placing too many restrictions on businesses that do any business with them so Home Depot said we don't need the hassle.... very cool. Well maybe this was to make up for that.
The other sponsors are the US Postal Service and AXA (Mutual Funds, Insurance etc.)
"The goal of the project is to bring the "People's Document" directly to all Americans - to inspire them to see citizenship as an opportunity, to participate in civic life, to exercise their rights, and to above all, to vote."
The Declaration of Independence has as much to do with voting as the 2nd Amendment has to do with duck hunting.
The first piece of paper handed me was a copy of the Declaration on one side with the propaganda on the other, "How Will It Inspire You? 1) Fill out a voter registration form 2) Mail in your voter registration form 3) Learn about the candidates and
issues 4) Find out where to vote 5) Vote! The Second was a large book marker that read "U.S. Government Printing Office" & "Arizona State Library" - "The Declaration of Independence is an important document marking the start of this democratic nation."
The first stop was a film with Reese Witherspoon (an actress all the kids know - that had one of her family sign the Declaration) talking about the DOI and some of the history. The images quickly steered away from the Declaration of Independence and more... well you need to see it to appreciate what I mean. I remember one quote... "The freedom to associate with those that think like you do..." with the image of a formation of a hundred plus Marines in dress blues. Then Vote Vote Vote was pounded into the young minds.
We then got in line to see the actual document. While working your way up they had postcards displayed that had been filled out by others from around the country that had attended the display and filled out the cards provided. There was a space for a comment and then a space for "What are you now inspired to do?" I was surprised at how many _didn't_ have voting listed. We then got a close look at the document under glass that was being guarded by two DPS officers.
The next room was where it all came crashing down in full force. In the center of the room were many stations where you could fill out your for postcard and on the other side was where they wanted your e-mail address and everything else about you (I gave it so I'll keep you posted what I get from them in the months to come :) Someone was passing out brochures about the Clean Elections Institute Inc. promoting money for political campaigns. At another booth were the League of Women voters at another was Kids Voting passing out fliers that encouraged people to vote online and to request an early ballot. The slogan being pushed was "Your vote is _on_ the _line_". But the best part was......
The Diebold Touch Screen Paperless voting machines were there in force. There were at least 6-8 machines there with a staff helping the kids learn how to use them and anyone else that asked. [Note from Claire: The machines that promise to take election fraud to levels Richard Daley or the pols of Tammany Hall could only have dreamed of. More info on specific known problems.]
So you can imagine the questions going through my mind when I contacted the promotional tour company for a spokesperson to join me on the radio :)
The government's attempt to wrap themselves in the flag has worn thin, war isn't doing it, so I think that this effort to equate the DOI with voting is their new tact. The DOI was about what you do when voting no longer matters.
Now who is going to do a little research and share what they learn with you guys?.... Well, OK, if you insist :)
My favorite part was at the end of the tour. A bunch of actors read the Declaration line by line. Mel Gibson was "the man" when he picked my favorite line (no accident I'm certain) "We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends." (Mel is such a stallion :)
Posted by Claire @ 11:45 PM CST