Political Hay

The Democrats’ Declaration of Independence

Guess which country they want to free themselves of!

By 12.9.04

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Democratic strategists keep holding post-election powwows aired on C-SPAN, but their introspection never adds up to very much. They usually end up saying in one form or another: we need to fool people better. At some level they know that the problem the party faces is not that the American people don't understand their positions but that they understand them too well. So what options are they left with? Since changing philosophy is out of the question in their minds they are left with changing their rhetoric: let's make the American people think we're revising our radical views without actually doing so.

During the presidential campaign, Democrats rejected the suggestion that they were out of touch with mainstream America even as their candidate bragged about non-American support. That Kerry had to cite endorsements from foreign leaders as a political prop was a tacit admission of the party's estrangement from America: the less support the Democrats could find inside the country, the more they turned to support for their views from outside it.

In American political history, modern Democrats are an anomalous creature, a party that seeks to win elections by running on foreign endorsements while regarding many of their countrymen as anthropological curiosities foreign to them. Running against "conservatism" at some point turned into running against America for the Democrats, and as they grew more alienated from mainstream America the more they came to depend on foreign fashions and views to justify their agenda, whether it was Democratic activists citing Danish jurisprudence to dismantle marriage or Bill Clinton hiding behind the opinion of "the world" during his impeachment.

Listen closely enough to what the Democrats say and it becomes clear that their first problem is not with modern conservatism but with America itself. They simply don't agree with America's founding philosophy, which is why they find basic American customs like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance distasteful and why their judges are constantly trying to rewrite the founding documents of the country.

The movement to smuggle foreign jurisprudence into Supreme Court opinions, which picks up speed each year, is a de facto left-wing Constitutional Convention. That is, the Democrats wouldn't dare call openly for a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution resting on liberal European foundations but they are in effect holding one anyways through the courts. Judicial activism is an ongoing Constitutional Convention, which has the additional advantage for Democrats of allowing them to subject the Constitution to foreign editing and revision without risking the wrath of the American people. (Justice Stephen Breyer let the cat out of the bag about what they are up to when he said, "Our Constitution and how it fits into the governing documents of other nations, I think, will be a challenge for the next generations.")

When the Democrats say something is "un-American," they usually mean something very American that they don't want in America anymore. Very reasonable American expectations fortified by history and custom, such as placing crosses and creches in public places, are suddenly declared "un-American" when what the Democrats really mean is un-European.

Under this twisted thinking, even America's founding documents are "un-American." The Democrats will no doubt say that the California principal who has banned the teaching of the Declaration of Independence is violating their philosophy. No, she's not. She's enforcing it.

Principal Patricia Vidmar at Stevens Creek School in Cupertino, California, has told a fifth-grade teacher to stop exposing his students to the Declaration of Independence, some of George Washington's writings, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists," and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania." Vidmar gets it: separating Church and State in the Democratic mind means separating Americans from America.

The Democrats' America wasn't started in 1776 but more like 1966. The policies of the Democratic Party amount to a declaration of independence from pre-radical America. They have suspicion, and often contempt, for anything historically American that doesn't conform to their liberalism. Because the Declaration of Independence contains what the left regards as an embarrassing article of faith -- that human rights come not from secular governments but from God -- it is unfit matter for a public school. Vidmar is just carrying out an attitude -- we don't want young children learning about the religious boobs who founded this country -- that dominates National Education Association meetings.

By banning the Pledge of Allegiance and the founding documents of the country, by relying more and more on foreign jurisprudence to rewrite a Constitution they don't like, by boasting about foreign political support and cleaving to the U.N., the Democrats have become very foreign to Americans. Repeatedly during the presidential campaign the Democrats declared their independence from America -- and then were surprised when ordinary Americans went to the polls to give it to them.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.