Have you read the Mount Vernon Statement?
It is meant to remind one of the Declaration of Independence or the Preamble to the Constitution. It is supposed to be a stirring, rousing call to action. A beacon which prodigal sons can use to find their way home.
A lot of big names signed it. A random cut and paste from the interior of the list: “Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center; Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator; David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union; David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society; T. Kenneth Cribb, former domestic policy adviser to President Reagan; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.”
The American Spectator tells us that “Edwin Feulner of the Heritage Foundation read the entire Mount Vernon Statement aloud before inviting the crowd to sign the document as a George Washington impersonator stood guard. ‘We must print out the statement’s text on our journals, our magazines and our blog posts,’ said Fuelner. ‘We must distribute the video of today’s ceremony. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a country to save!'”
To oblige Fuelner, here’s a link to the statement.
While I am in agreement with the sentiments of the Mount Vernon Statement, I cannot help but feel that it was written by a graduate of Political Science with a minor in Communications. Either that, or it has suffered the slings and arrows of Input By Committee.
Who else but a publication relations person would write, “A Constitutional conservatism unites all conservatives through the natural fusion provided by American principles.” Conservatism unites conservatives? Natural fusion!? That had to have been penned by somebody—and whoever you are, I love you, brother—made ill by excessive contact with press releases.
And how about, “A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.” Or, “It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom
and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that
Meaningful policy agendas? What we can and should do to that end? Lord help us.
I can’t get excited about these words, yet I am passionate about the ideas behind them (others take it to task for what it ignored). Surely, it must be possible to retell our founding principles without strangled or purple prose. Let’s try.
Whoever wrote the Mt V. statement opted for long and dry. I’ll go for short and wet. Here’s my stab at what we can call the Manhattan Statement.
Draft #1; I stole freely from Jefferson; please suggest modifications, or pass it on (I’ll periodically change the language until it sings; perhaps this will put into separate post).
The Manhattan Statement
A truth once known does not become false due to the passage of time. An agreement is not made null because it has been neglected. A promise once made cannot be broken by arrogance.
We have not forgotten the self-evident truths and unalienable rights upon which this country was founded. No one is above the law. All have the right to life, liberty, and the unfettered pursuit of happiness.
We remember that Government derives its consent from the governed, that when Government turns inward and self-serving, we have the right to alter or abolish it.
We retain the agreement that Congress has the power of legislation, not the Judiciary, whose mandate is to uphold the law; and that the President is sworn to protect the Constitution.
We believe that Government should be limited and that its unchecked growth is a cancer and a path to tyranny.
We know that the rule of law is an unshakable foundation, but that rule by regulation is groundless and breeds corruption.
We know that life is not fair. Yet we trust each person to know his own business within the law.
We believe that no right is more important than freedom.
Most of all, We Remember.
I’d sign that. You?