What is the best way to celebrate Independence Day? If you're like most people I know, you probably agree that the optimal way to honor our country is to gorge yourself on beer and meat products and then fall asleep in a hot tub, stewing in your own filth. For the Tea Party, though, it's the ideal time to reflect on what makes America historically great and to educate our nation's young. Hey, that actually sounds kind of nice! I wonder how long it will take this wholesome celebration to descend into batshittery?
Let's take a look at the Tea Party Suggestions for Independence Day Lessons and see for ourselves:
Suggestion 1: Read the Declaration of Independence.
That's fun! And they recommend giving everyone their own personal copy to take home. How thoughtful.
Suggestion 2: perform "Unite or Die reader's theater," a fun play written about the framing of the Constitution.
It's two pages long and it comes with cut outs of the 13 original states making silly expressions. That's fun, too!
Suggestion 3: Read your guests and children the Independence Day Message by Earl Taylor, president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies.
Uh-oh. Suggestion 3 is the killer. As Mother Jones pints out, the NCCS was founded by Glenn Beck's favorite author, W. Cleon Skousen — Skousen was a right-wing historian who seriously believed that the Founding Fathers were members of a lost tribe of Israel. He was also a slavery apologist. His successor Earl Taylor seems to have an equally warped view of reality.
According to Taylor's Independence Day Message, the Declaration of Independence line "We hold these truths to be self-evident" actually means that "there are certain facts that are so obvious that they don't need further proof or even any further discussion." Those certain facts, of course, are that there should be an "American law of the simple, fundamental belief in a Supreme Creator! ... this is the only basis for sound government!" Okay, so the Declaration of Independence contains a hidden religious code. It's like the most busted sequel to National Treasure to ever appear in the human consciousness.
The exercise in forcing propagandistic meaning into an old document continues: "All men are created equal" is apparently a "Declaration of Independence not only from the King of England but also from our own citizens who might attempt to force control upon us in the form of regulation and licensing." Somehow, the sentence "That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their power from the consent of the governed" completely condemns taxation: Taylor extrapolates, "If an act is wrong for an individual to do it [sic] (like taking money from one person and giving it to another) then it is wrong for two people to do it or for a whole community or nation to do it."
The final section the Independence Day Message reads, "Acceptance of the Declaration of Independence is Acceptance of God as our King." So the 4th of July now has a triple function: it's a national holiday and a religious holiday and an excuse to expose impressionable young minds to your wingnut beliefs.
All right, Earl Taylor and co., time to head home; I think you have consumed too much of the vodka watermelon.
"Tea Partiers Explain How to Properly Celebrate the 4th of July" [Mother Jones]
Image via Getty.