Editor’s Note: In homage to the Fourth of July, writer Edward Santella envisions the Declaration of Independence as it would be written today.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for a sovereign people to assert their Natural and God-given rights and duties in order to preserve the political ideals and social bonds which make them a nation and to declare that their purported national executive is without legal or political or democratic legitimacy, thereby denying him the office to which he pretends, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to this action.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed by Nature and their Creator with certain inherent and unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Citizens, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
That whenever any official becomes utterly destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Citizens to remove him or her, and to restore Government on the foundation of those democratic and Constitutional principles as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that government officials should not be removed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to end the Rule of Law and reduce Citizens under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Recent actions by Donald J. Trump have demonstrated that patience shall result in a further diminution of the rights of Citizens and further ascendance of unlawful and unconstitutional acts by which he gathers undemocratic and authoritarian powers. Such is now the necessity that compels the Citizens of the United States of America to remove him from office. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has usurped Rights and Responsibilities granted by Nature and God to all citizens of the United States, including, but not limited to, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press, and pretended that such Rights and Responsibilities are subject to his interpretation and whim;
He has denied to non-citizens of the United States the Rights and Responsibilities granted by Nature and God to all human beings, including, but not limited to, the right to seek refuge from persecution, war and violence, and he has repeatedly violated laws of the United States that protect those Rights and Responsibilities;
He has through words and actions divided Citizens into groups by race and class, gender, ethnic origin, religion, and sexual preference, identity and orientation and denigrated such groups so as to attempt to create unequal classes of Citizens in existential conflict with each other and he has encouraged such conflict as a method of increasing his illegitimate powers;
He seeks to make un-American the American hope for a Nation with liberty and justice for all;
He has administered the Office of the President of the United States for the benefit of his, his family’s and his political allies’ financial gain while denying the right of millions of Citizens to share in the common wealth;
He has repeatedly appointed as cabinet and administrative officers individuals who fail to administer or enforce legitimate laws but who act to enrich themselves, their friends and the President’s supporters;
He has administered the common wealth, including the nation’s lands, parks and monuments, for the enrichment of the few while denying the heritage preserved by past generations to future generations;
He has drained words of their meanings and made weapons of them thus making dialogue among citizens fraught with danger and misunderstanding;
He has denied for the sake of his political and financial convenience the facts of history and the facts of science;
He encourages Citizens to forget what they know, advises them to resist learning, and demands they ask no questions. He invites Citizens to fear the resulting dark unknown and demands they act based upon his words, their ignorance and their mutual hatreds, thereby denying the rational basis of democracy;
He conspired with citizens of the United States, with foreign and domestic corporations and with representatives of the governments of non-democratic nations, to use deceits, defamations and foreign propaganda to undermine the 2016 elections for the offices President, Senator and Representative of the United States for the purpose of securing the Office of the President for himself and other offices for members of his party, thereby denying those elections democratic legitimacy;
He shirked the central responsibility of the Office of President of the United States, that of defending the United States from attack, by refusing to engage with other governmental officials to prepare for, prevent and defeat future attacks by foreign and domestic corporations and foreign governments which we know are in ongoing and are aimed at undermining and destroying American democracy;
Our Constitution charges the members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate with the duty of protecting our Citizens from such high crimes. Both Houses being under the control of the party of Donald J. Trump, the party members placing their loyalty to Mr. Trump above their Constitutional duties, neither House has risen to the defense of our Nation.
We, therefore, the Citizens of the United States of America, appealing to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and the rights and duties of Citizens required by God and Nature, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of the United States of America, solemnly publish and declare,
That, within the meanings of the Constitution of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump is not and has never been a lawful President of the United States of America,
That Michael R. Pence is not and has never been a lawful Vice President of the United States of America,
That all persons appointed by the Donald J. Trump or Michael R. Pence are not and have never been lawful holders of their offices,
That all statutes, orders and policies signed or implemented by Donald J. Trump and all regulations, orders, decisions and policies signed or implemented by any person purportedly appointed by Donald J. Trump or by a person appearing to act pursuant to his authority have been and are void ab initio.
Further, pursuant to the authorities set forth above, the Citizens of the United States declare that Donald J. Trump, Michael R. Pence and all administrative appointees of Donald J. Trump or any person acting pursuant to such individuals’ supposed authority, whether paid or unpaid, shall be barred in any and all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings from asserting rights, privileges or immunities which might have flowed to legitimate holders of such offices. Donald J. Trump, Michael R. Pence and all administrative appointees supposedly acting pursuant to their appointed authority shall be personally liable for damages to American citizens and non-citizens, wheresoever located, in the Courts of the United States, Courts of the Various States and Territories under the United States Constitution, United States Statutes and Regulations and the Statutes and Regulations of the Fifty States, Puerto Rico and other United States Territories.
The Governors of the several States shall confer immediately and choose by majority vote from among their number an interim President of the United States.
An election for President and Vice President shall be held within sixty days of the date of this Declaration. In such election, Donald J. Trump, Michael R. Pence and any purported appointee of Donald J. Trump shall be prohibited from participation as a candidate.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.