Glenn interviews Ted Nugent

Conservative activist and musician Ted Nugent called into the radio program this morning, where he and Glenn discussed the ongoing gun control debate, the bias in the media, and leftist hypocrisy. Read a transcript of the interview below.

GLENN: Ted Nugent's on the line. Hey, Ted, how are you, man?

NUGENT: Hey, greetings. A peaceful revolution morning to you, Glenn.

GLENN: It's it's insane what's going on. It's insane.

NUGENT: It really is, yeah. And thank you for exposing that. I love when you spotlight cockroaches so we can stomp on them. I appreciate it.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. No, why are you getting violent with cockroaches now? What is that with all the violence, Ted? Cockroaches, you're stomping on them now.

NUGENT: That makes the environment cleaner when I do.

GLENN: You were you were on CNN and they were trying to bait you into violent revolution.

NUGENT: Well, you know, there's a great gal at CNN, Deb Feyerick who did a wonderful, positive, honest piece about guns and I stood there stunned watching it last month. So when they offered to come to my ranch to do an extensive interview, I spent seven hours with them yesterday

GLENN: Wait, wait, wait.

NUGENT: And I

GLENN: Wait, wait, wait. With her?

NUGENT: Yes.

GLENN: All right.

NUGENT: With Deb Feyerick and her crew. And you know how they are. They are very gushy and positive throughout the day.

GLENN: Oh, yeah.

NUGENT: But they also tried to weave in questions about an armed revolution building steam across the interland and I squinted and said, I don't know what you're talking about. I know there might be someone talking about that, but I hang out with some pretty wild eyed guys and I've never heard a hint of any reference to an armed revolution. We're going to have a revolution at the voting booth.

GLENN: So where did they get that? Did you ask her? Because you should report anybody that's having an armed that's reporting to you about an armed revolution? Jeez, CNN, you should report those people.

NUGENT: Yeah. Well, you know, up there in New York what Cuomo and Bloomberg are doing are so extraordinary, so anti Constitution, so anti common sense that there are probably some people very frustrated and angry that may have expressed something that hinted at that. And I said I've never heard it and I'm engaged with working hard, playing hard America in every state in this country and no one has ever mentioned anything like that. We're getting more involved and more engaged and we're going to vote the bad guys out of office as soon as possible.

GLENN: So what did they react how did they react to that?

NUGENT: Well, they kept bringing it back up, but I I kept straight and narrow and I denied any such reference or any such indicators. And they were you know, 99% of the interview, Glenn, I think is going to be very positive. I nailed it was about hunting and gun rights and the role of Second Amendment with certain semiautomatic firearms technology. And you know me. I mean, I slammed the door shut on it. But she had to play devil's advocate, and I made sure I mentioned that if you argue with me, you would be taking the side of the devil. So go for I.

STU: (Laughing.)

GLENN: So it's only by the way, it's only the 1% that anybody cares. I mean, 99% of it was good. The 1% will be the one that they focus on.

NUGENT: And I believe, Glenn, that they will edit it with honesty. That's what they did with the gun issue in New York.

GLENN: (Laughing.)

NUGENT: I really do. That's why I allowed Deb Feyerick. She seemed to be honest and genuine in her pursuit and

GLENN: Hang on.

NUGENT: I know I'm terminally hopeful.

GLENN: I almost believe you. I mean, come on, man. You're not that dumb. Really? You really believe they will edit it honestly?

NUGENT: I really do. I saw the piece they did on guns previously.

GLENN: Uh huh.

NUGENT: And it was 180 degrees, 180 degrees opposite of these, the basic CNN stance. So I knew that they were countering the CNN mantra, and I believe this will this piece will do the same thing.

GLENN: Well, that's great. I mean, at least it wasn't NBC because they edit everything.

NUGENT: Oh, boy, do they ever. I really

GLENN: They edit everything.

NUGENT: By the way, I filmed the whole thing as it's taking place. And it's just like the CBS interview a few months back where I did snap because I was passing a kidney stone live on the air.

GLENN: They make CBS makes me do that too.

NUGENT: Yeah. And it was a 2 1/2 hour interview. And I've got to tell you I would be 100% proud for you and my children and my friends and honest Americans to witness the 2 1/2 hour interview I did with CBS, but they took out the one minute where I snapped. And that's typical of those networks. But I really believe that what Deborah did on the gun piece recently on CNN that she will approach it the same way with my interview. And I gave them seven hours. So they're planning on multiple series.

GLENN: Hey, let me ask you something, Ted. I have officially given up on the Republican Party. I don't I don't care for them at all anymore. I they won't get a dime. I will campaign against people giving them any money.

NUGENT: Isn't that a shame, Glenn? I agree but it's a shame. We have to work to fix that, yeah.

GLENN: Yeah, I don't think it's fixable. I think that everybody needs to start walking for the exits and if they decide they are going to change, great. You know, I don't know if I'll even trust them if they come running after and saying, okay, okay, okay, we get it. But these guys in Washington, they don't get it, they don't care to get it. I mean, I don't even know who these guys I don't know who these guys are anymore and I'm just done with it. I think it's time that we, you know, we flush everybody in the media says, you know, the Republicans are dead and it's because they won't compromise. No, the Republicans are dead because they don't have any values. They don't have any principles. They don't even though who they are. All they are is about winning and that's why they're losing every time.

NUGENT: I think they

GLENN: So why don't we form a party that has actual principles that I'll bet you 80% of this country could actually because the problems are so big, the solutions are basic. Basic principles that all thinking people can get around.

NUGENT: I concur.

GLENN: Why wouldn't we do that.

NUGENT: Well, I concur the time has never been more obvious than right now and I think the glowing violations of the GOP is that they are not holding Eric Holder accountable for Fast and Furious, they are not holding Hillary Clinton accountable for the deaths of four Americans that were totally unnecessary.

GLENN: Crazy.

NUGENT: And there's so many examples but those are the two most heartbreaking examples.

GLENN: Let me give you hang on. Let me give you another one. How about, we have John Kerry now, a guy who trashed our troops, lied about our troops in Vietnam, he's now our Secretary of State.

NUGENT: Agreed.

GLENN: How about this one, how about this one: Let me give you this story. I don't even know if you even know this. An 11 year old boy is recovering from surgery following a vicious incident last Sunday in which he was mauled by three unleashed pit bulls. This is in the District of Columbia. Suffering wounds to his legs, arms and stomach and chest before the dogs were shot and kill. Now this is right in the heart of the District of Columbia and here's what happened. Kid got a new bike for Christmas, he's riding it down the street. Three unleashed pit bulls attack this kid on the bike, throw him off the bike. They're biting him, chewing apart. This kid is screaming. A guy in his house grabs his gun, shoots the pit bulls, saves the kid. You ready? D.C., the shots alerted a D.C. police officer around the corner. They've now arrested the guy who shot and killed the kids and they are looking into it. The rescue may have been illegal.

STU: Shot and killed the dogs?

GLENN: Shot and killed the dogs.

NUGENT: A perfect example of doing the universally known right thing and being punished. Remember the Navy hero in New York City who shot with his Navy M 9 a multiple paroled felon he caught at 4:00 a.m. in his young son's bedroom. Instead of arresting the paroled felon, they arrested the Navy hero for saving his son's life, Glenn. And I could go on and on for are 100 hours with examples of this government and this system doing the absolute wrong thing against people who do the absolute right thing. It is absolutely insane.

GLENN: Ted Nugent, you know what I think the best thing that you can help me with and help America with is gathering together a bunch of attorneys that will help defend people on their right to bear arms.

NUGENT: You're absolutely right.

GLENN: And know who these guys are. The biggest names in attorneys that will help people because this government is going to do basically what they did in Ruby Ridge where they get you basically on a technicality and there's going to be a standoff. And people have to know don't stand off. Do not do that. You call this number and somebody in an attorney firm will come and represent you because you want your day in court. You want your day in court.

NUGENT: I think you're absolutely correct. And that positive sense, that common sense is alive and well in hundreds of sheriffs and sheriff departments in this country that are standing up to this government and the federal government with their constitutional violating Second Amendment infringement. So I think there is a growing pulse. But you're right about that. If you attempt to stand up to what's right, you will be shot and killed.

GLENN: I will tell you this. You know, I've said make friends with your deputy. I would like to go out on parole with the deputies. I'd like to be deputized. I'd like to go out with the sheriffs and help in any way I possibly can. Whatever you need, sheriffs, whatever you need. Sheriffs are your best friends.

You know Waco, the sheriff at Waco actually liked the Branch Davidians. Said, "I didn't agree with them, I thought they were nuts, but they were really nice guys." If the federal government would have gone to the sheriff, the sheriff probably could have gotten that all done without killing all of the families.

NUGENT: I believe that.

GLENN: Ted, thanks so much, man.

NUGENT: God speed, Glenn.

GLENN: Hey, when's that story going to be on CNN?

NUGENT: They say the first segment will air tomorrow night, Thursday night. I don't know exactly what time but as soon as I find out, I'll

PAT: We'll call you back and find out how pissed off you are when you find out that they betrayed you.

NUGENT: No, I'm eternally hopeful.

GLENN: All right.

NUGENT: I think the I think I'm pretty good at this. And like I did on Piers Morgan, I handed him his guts on his own show. So they did

GLENN: You know the only problem with that is, is that was just such a silent death, nobody watched it. Nobody saw it. Nobody's watching Piers.

NUGENT: Did you notice that?

GLENN: Nobody's watching it. Thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.

NUGENT: All right. Live it up, man.

GLENN: By the way, an extended interview in the March issue of TheBlaze magazine, extended interview with Ted Nugent. He's the cover story, TheBlaze magazine. You can find out all about it at TheBlaze.com.

By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, where British naval ships occupied New York Harbor. Revolutionary spirit and tension were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the Declaration aloud in front of City Hall. The crowd cheered wildly, and later that day tore down a statue of King George III. They melted down the statue to make 42,000 musket balls for the ragtag American army.

America's separation from Great Britain was officially in writing. Now came the hard part.

The Declaration of Independence defines who we are, what we believe, and what we aspire to be. It is a mission statement. But no one said it would be easy to implement.

The Declaration was not simply an official announcement of our split from Great Britain. If it was just that, it could've been a lot shorter. It was also an announcement that we're starting a new company, and here's what we're basing it on. It didn't just declare independence — it declared principles. It declared how we were going to organize ourselves once we were out on our own, and it set up guardrails to help ensure we didn't end up like the country we were leaving in the first place.

The Founders set us up for success, but America is now fumbling it away, largely thanks to our dangerous drift from the original blueprints.

In our national discourse, it's hard to find agreement even on fundamentals like the Declaration of Independence anymore. There's no time for old-fashioned things like the Declaration when social media can fuel our outrage around the clock.

We have lost touch with our national DNA.

How often do we jump to outrage before we have any kind of perspective on a matter? In 2017, President Trump had only been in office for one month before over 100 activists rewrote a version of the Declaration of Independence, rewording it with Trump in the King George III role. Trump had been in office for a single month. The focus has shifted from unity to partisan winning at all costs. We have lost touch with our national DNA.

Our basic knowledge of the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights is so weak that we don't have a clue how they relate to each other. As of late 2017, 37 percent of Americans could not name any of our First Amendment rights. And 33 percent of Americans could not name any branch of our government.

Here's another example of our painful misunderstanding. In a Psychology Today article written before the 2016 presidential election, Dr. Mark Goulston was trying to figure out a way to understand Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This is what he came up with:

Trump represents the Declaration of Independence. Clinton represents the U.S. Constitution.

He tries to explain that Trump supporters are eager to declare their independence from the political swamp system. For the Constitution side of things, he wrote:

It [the Constitution] may have stood the test of time for so long because it was drafted following a long, costly and awful war that the founding fathers wanted to prevent from happening again. That intention possibly enabled them to create a document that was relatively free from special interests and personal agendas. [Hillary] Clinton is more like the Constitution than the Declaration of Independence and appears to be more about getting things done than declaratively taking a stand.

Besides being a completely bogus way to interpret Hillary Clinton, this comparison makes your brain hurt because it so fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution. They are not rival documents.

He says the Constitution has stood the test of time because the founders wrote it to prevent another long, costly war. What? No. It stands the test of time because it was designed to protect the “unalienable rights" of the Declaration.

He goes on to say that we need a new Constitutional Convention because, “We may just need to retrofit it to fit modern times."

This is the primarily leftist idea that America is up against today — that the founding documents worked well for their time, but that they now need an overhaul. Progressives seem to live by the motto, if it ain't broke, fix it anyway. Rather than “fixing" things, however, when we understand the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights as they already are, we discover that they still work because they're tied to universal principles, not a specific point in time.

Here's one way to think about the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. The Declaration is our thesis, or mission statement. The Constitution is the blueprint to implement that mission statement. And the Bill of Rights is our insurance policy.

Aside from the practical business of separating from Great Britain, the gist of the Declaration is that humans have natural rights granted us by God, and that those rights cannot be compromised by man. The Constitution, then, is the practical working out of how do we design a government that best protects our natural rights?

The creation of the Constitution did not give us rights. The existence of our rights created the Constitution. The Constitution just recognizes and codifies those rights, clarifying that the government does not have authority to deprive us of those rights.

The Founders were extremely paranoid about corruption and abuse of power. They designed a system to avoid as much of that as possible.

The Progressive and postmodern idea that rich white guys founded America as an exclusive country club for enriching themselves doesn't hold water. If that had been their true intent, they seriously handicapped themselves with the emphasis on rights and the checks on power that they included in these three documents. Any honest reading of the Constitution, and of the massive ratification debates that dragged on in individual state legislatures, makes one thing very clear — the Founders were extremely paranoid about corruption and abuse of power. They designed a system to avoid as much of that as possible.

Still, this Declaration-Constitution-Bill of Rights-trifecta thing is just a conservative line, right? It's just something we say because we're stuck in the past and we're in denial about the new and improved, diverse, post-gender, postmodern America, right?

As the Declaration puts it, “let facts be submitted to a candid world."

In 1839, on the 50th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as the nation's first president, the New York Historical Society invited former president John Quincy Adams to deliver a speech. As the son of John Adams, John Quincy wrote a speech about something near and dear to his — the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He said:

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, are parts of one consistent whole, founded upon one and the same theory of government… it had been working itself into the mind of man for many ages… but had never before been adopted by a great nation in practice…

Even in our own country, there are still philosophers who deny the principles asserted in the Declaration, as self-evident truths — who deny the natural equality and inalienable rights of man — who deny that the people are the only legitimate source of power – who deny that all just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed… I speak to matters of fact. There is the Declaration of Independence, and there is the Constitution of the United States — let them speak for themselves.

They can, and they do. They don't require any interpretation or updates because our inalienable rights have not changed.

Progressives and Democratic Socialists believe our rights come from the government, but the Declaration emphasizes that our rights are inalienable and are granted to mankind by God. By the way, we usually only use the word “inalienable" now when we're talking about the Declaration of Independence, so we often don't even understand the word. It means something that is not transferable, something incapable of being taken away or denied.

We don't know our founding documents anymore and we're witnessing the disastrous results of this deficiency. We've lost sight of what made the American Revolution so unique. It was the first time subjects who had colonized new lands, rebelled against the country they came from. Government by the people and for the people is a principle that changed the world. Most countries fall apart after their revolutions. We thrived because of the firm principles of the Declaration, and the protection of those principles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's a unique system with a remarkable track record, in spite of our human frailty. But this system is not inevitable — for it to continue to work, we must understand and protect it.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

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.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).