Nightmare at Independence Hall

Posted: Jun 30, 2007 12:00 AM
Nightmare at Independence Hall

The "Titanic" exhibit got me ready for time travel, and the big burrito did the rest. A chair at poolside, a snooze in the sun, and suddenly I was back at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. All eyes were on John Adams as he addressed the Continental Congress:

"Fellow delegates, today our drafting committee submits the proposed Declaration of Independence. You have Mr. Jefferson’s text on your parchment laptops. Upon the motion of Lady Clinton from New York and Delegate Obama from the Illinois country, the draft underwent a political correctness audit by Bishop Bill Moyers of PBS Cathedral. Serious concerns arose.

"After consulting delegates Byrd of West Virginia, Kennedy of Massachusetts, and Gore of Tennessee, and with spiritual guidance from the Dixie Chicks, Moyers warned that the Declaration’s belief in natural law, self-evident truth, God-given rights, limited government, and separate nationhood is woefully unsuited to the brave new world of coming centuries.

"The bishop said these rigid dogmas would keep Democrats from ever fulfilling their destiny. Their party would be at a permanent disadvantage as the advocate of slavery and secession in the 1800s, the engine of omnipotent government and a planned economy in the 1900s, and the vanguard of global ecology and transnational utopia after the millennium. ‘Conservatism on steroids,’ was the verdict on our draft in a week-old New York Times editorial just received by post rider."

John Adams paused and sighed. Red-haired Tom Jefferson was pacing in the back. On the left where the relativist caucus sat, I saw Clinton and Obama exchange smirks. "No absolutes, Mr. Adams," Hillary prompted in a stage whisper. The future Vice President glared at her, raised an eyebrow at Dr. Franklin, his fellow drafter, and resumed.

"Keep your knickers on, milady," Adams hissed with Yankee sarcasm. "Madam Rodham refers to the amicus brief from ACLU, the Atheist Colonial Liberals Union, indicting the Declaration's brazen use of such value-laden terms as 'good' and 'evil,' 'savage' and 'civilized,' 'manly' and 'wholesome,' as well as the atheophobic term 'absolute' applied to His Majesty King George.

"Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have also criticized what they call the Declaration’s blueprint for theocracy. The document refers ominously to God as lawgiver, Judge, Providence, and Creator. 'That’s too much holy talk for any sermon by us or Dr. King, let alone any government paper,' said the reverends. Bigotry on such issues as prayer, marriage, and unborn life is sure to follow, added spokespersons for NEA, NARAL, and NAMBLA."

"You’re pathetic, Adams," exploded Delegate Murtha from Pennsylvania. "The Marines would court-martial you for mutiny. Independence is out of the question. You neocons started this war with lies, and we deserve to lose. We rob the red man, brutalize the black man, and oppress our women. General Washington is incompetent and a war criminal. Jefferson combs the Koran for an excuse to attack Tripoli’s Muslims. 'Sacred honor' indeed. For shame!"

The relativist caucus rose as one. "Negotiate!" "Withdraw!" "Apologize!" "Close Newark prison!" "Amnesty for Benedict Arnold!" "No blood for tea!" Above the din Murtha still bellowed: "Peace now, before more thousands die and more wetlands degrade. Redeploy to Iceland and spare the poor redcoats. Every day of war means worse carbon emissions and fewer earmarks."

Delegate Kerry strode over and laid a patronizing hand on his fellow Bostonian’s shoulder. "Europe knows best, mon ami. We are the world’s pariah, the new Genghis Khan. We’ve not met the global test. Independence is so arrogant, so Republican. Mr. Adams, tear up this draft."

Then I woke, and the shouting was Colorado kids, not dour defeatists. Our ship of state didn’t sink at launching after all. She sails on, proud and strong. Happy Independence Day, America.