In Conversation, July 4, 2012
The imagined unanimous Declaration of all Creation
When in the course of events it becomes necessary
to address the tensions that rise from the ties that bind
the parts within a whole—
the tensions that rise when some individual parts assume
certain prerogatives or privileges
amidst the separate and equal stations
to which the order of creation and the nature of God call them
(the same God who arranged the whole,
giving the greater honor to the inferior parts),
a decent respect to and for the opinions of every aspect of creation
requires that the parts should both name and hear named
these various tensions which might impel them to tear asunder the whole.
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all creation was created equally blessed,
that it is endowed by the Creator in all its glorious particulars
with certain unalienable rights,
that among these are the dignity of a non-utilitarian value,
the freedom to be and to celebrate being a minority within the whole,
and the pursuit of God’s vision of creation as an integrated whole
(if one suffers all suffer, if one is honored, all rejoice)
for the flourishing of abundant life for all. —
That to secure these rights, stewardship of creation
was granted humanity, deriving its just powers
from both the initial commission of God
and the subsequent and consequent well-being of the whole, —
That whenever any form of stewardship becomes destructive
of the ends that justify it, it is the responsibility of people
to repent, to remember—to confront what is and should not be,
and to institute new priorities,
laying their foundation on such principles
and organizing their powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect a healthy balance
ensuring the possibility of a long-term, viable hope for all.
Prudence, indeed, dictates that priorities long established
will not be changed for light and transient causes;
and experience accordingly indicates
that humanity is more disposed to cause suffering
(despite the noblest principles claimed)—
is more disposed to tolerate evil than to right itself
by abolishing the priorities to which they are accustomed
and from which they benefit.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariably the same object (eg. profit)
evinces a design to reduce creation’s parts under absolute despotism,
it is creation’s right, it is its duty, to throw off such single-minded focus,
and to provide new foci for future security. —
Such has been the patient suffering of creation;
and such is now the necessity which constrains it
to alter the former systems, powers, and principalities.
The history of the rulers of Empire
is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations,
all having in direct object the establishment of
an absolute tyranny over creation.
To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
Empire and the priorities of the world refuse to assent to laws
most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Empire and the priorities of the world refuse to pass laws
of immediate and pressing importance, unless they’re part of their agenda.
Empire and the priorities of the world make it uncomfortable to be “other”,
for the sole purpose of fatiguing people into compliance with their measures.
Empire and the priorities of the world obstruct the administration of justice
by refusing to treat all as equal.
Empire and the priorities of the world make authorities dependent on their will alone
for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries
and thus control authority.
Empire and the priorities of the world erect a multitude of new offices,
and sent hither swarms of officers to harass creation
and eat and prosper out of its substance while too many starve.
Empire and the priorities of the world keep among us, even in times of peace,
standing armies and the budgets of violence.
For dependably being ego-centric rather than eco-centric:
For predictably valuing convenience and comfort over any kind of sacrifice:
For consistently choosing immediate gratification over wisdom
and short term gain over long term benefit:
For regularly claiming a narrowly filtered perspective of a big picture:
For reliably thinking first about a few, believing the good of this subset of the whole
will eventually benefit all rather than thinking of all from the get-go:
For uniformly, arrogantly and immaturely thinking there will be no consequences:
For constantly living as if the ends justify the means:
Empire and the priorities of the world affect to render the military
independent of and superior to any other line item.
Empire and the priorities of the world plunder the seas,
ravage the coasts, log the forests, mine the mountains,
and destroy the lives of people.
Empire and the priorities of the world, through all times, transport violence
in foreign places to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny,
already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages,
and totally unworthy what we might call a civilized nation,
(but that offer scarcely paralleled profits as well).
Empire and the priorities of the world pit parts of creation against others.
Empire and the priorities of the world excite insurrections among us,
and endeavor to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers—
those who live on the fringe—those who don’t fit in—
and use our fear to justify unknown rules of warfare.
Empire and the priorities of the world disregard borders and boundaries,
abolish our ways of life and alter fundamentally the forms of our being:
Empire and the priorities of the world impose on us
without our consent:
In every stage of these oppressions,
we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms
(eagerly awaiting the revealing of the children of God—
groaning in what we hoped were labor pains):
our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.
Priorities, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant,
are unfit to hold such power over a free creation.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to the powers that be.
We have warned them from time to time
of attempts by their legislatures and their corporations
to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our innate blessedness
and the dangers of our exploitation and deprivation.
We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity,
and we have conjured them by the ties
of our common kindred as parts of one whole
to disavow these usurpations,
which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence—
the mutuality of our existence.
They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.
We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity,
which denounces our separation, and hold them,
as we hold humanity, as those who respect creation or as those who don’t.
We, therefore, representatives of creation,
assembled in conversation,
appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,
do, in the name, and by authority of creation,
solemnly publish and declare,
that creation is, and of right ought to be
a free and interdependent reality
(independence being, now,
far too small, selfish, arrogant, ungodly an aspiration
not to mention patently unrealistic!),
that it is absolved from all allegiance to Empire,
and that all political connection between it and Empire,
is and ought to be totally dissolved;
and that as a free and interdependent reality within creation,
it has full power to initiate appropriate conflict over legitimate concerns,
to conclude that peace is one of the most important priorities,
to contract alliances for the benefit of all,
to establish hope,
and to do all other acts and things
which interdependent parts of one whole may of right do. —
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.