For almost three decades, NPR has brought on a number of celebrities to read the Declaration of Independence every Fourth of July on “Morning Edition.” To hear an example, listen to the 1997 version here.
Last year, NPR put a modern twist on what has become a Fourth of July institution. NPR’s social media team tweeted out the entire document. But in a rather telling example of how far our discourse has fallen in recent years, a significant element of Donald Trump’s most diehard supporters apparently think reciting one of our nation’s founding documents is an act of subversion and treason.
Last summer, when NPR tweeted out the Declaration of Independence in a series of 140-character bursts, deplorable heads exploded. Some of them were deleted, but there are still receipts.
The Young Turks had a real hoot over the right-wing meltdown. Watch here.
Even InfoWars host David Knight thought it was a lot of fuss over nothing. Watch here.
When conservatives go too far even for InfoWars, you know they’ve gone off the deep end.
Unfortunately, this year was no different.
That’s why it was rather interesting to see what happened when Mike Huckabee announced on Wednesday night that he was going to recite the Declaration of Independence on Fox Business the following morning.
The reaction was, shall we say, somewhat friendlier than the one NPR got.
It seems hard to believe that Huckabee wasn’t aware of how many right-wing heads exploded just hours earlier when NPR did essentially the same thing that he was about to do. So when a conservative Republican goes on a conservative-leaning network to recite one of our founding documents, it’s an act of patriotism. But when NPR does it, it’s an act of subversion and treason? Go figure.
Believe it or not, this wasn’t the only example of right-wing cognitive dissonance regarding the Declaration of Independence. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, the Liberty County Vindicator, a community paper in Houston’s outer suburbs, posted the Declaration in 12 parts on its Facebook page. Unfortunately, Facebook mistakenly flagged one of the posts as hate speech. That drew a lot of hackles on the right.
Fortunately, Facebook realized it had screwed up royally and restored the entire post. It also apologized to the Vindicator.
So while some conservatives pitched a hissy fit over NPR tweeting out the Declaration of Independence, others were cheering one of their heroes for reciting it, while others put Facebook on blast after a glitch in an algorithm resulted in part of the Declaration being deleted. If you’re following this and you’re getting a case of mental whiplash, don’t feel bad. It’s hard for this writer to get his head around it as well.
But then again, it isn’t all that surprising. After all, we live in a nation led by a man who is the definition of the entitled one-percenter, and yet somehow got away with portraying himself as the champion of the common man and the “forgotten people.” So it should come as no surprise that it is even remotely possible for one of our nation’s founding documents to be considered subversive.
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