Glenn: “The Constitution went on hiatus last night”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

That all men are created equal. All men. It doesn't matter where you're from. It doesn't matter if you're from Mexico or from the United States. All men are created equal.

Last night, the Constitution of the United States of America went on hiatus. I don't know if it ever comes back. But last night it was declared that we no longer have to live under the shadow of the Constitution.

OBAMA: If you've been in America for more than five years, if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents, if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation and come out of the shadows.

Well, we haven't had anybody in the fear of deportation for quite some time.

The problem with our nation right now is we don't even know who we are anymore. We're so busy lecturing other countries on exactly how to live their lives, and then listening to the lectures that are hypocritical from them as well. Mexico, telling us exactly what we should do on our border, yet that's exact opposite of what they do on their border.

Meanwhile, we're telling everybody how the banking system needs to work all around the world. We're telling them how to be free while we're cozying up to people like Saudi Arabia or China. We don't stand for anything. So we don't even know who we are anymore. We don't know where we got our laws.

Our laws come from some place. They come from God. We hold these truths to be self-evident. We don't even have to talk about them. We don't have to convince anybody. They're self-evident truths. That all men are created equal. Freedom is not just for Americans. It's for all men created equal and endowed by that creator with certain rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

They have a right to pursue happiness.

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

That isn't a, oh, let me just cuddle everybody. That is a challenge to the rest of the world. What we have over here is so special, and we know it will set the whole world on fire in a good way. We know it will free millions and you can't get past your lumbering structures. You can't get past your lords and your ladies. You can't get past all the things that make you crippled nation and world. Those things. Corruption, kings, lawlessness. You tell others, you can't make it. You can't make it because you haven't passed this test. You haven't gone through this gate.

I met somebody yesterday. Wildly successful. He came in from Silicon Valley. He was standing in the audience. We did an audience show. He was sitting in the audience two days ago. I met him afterwards.

He said, I want to meet you. I wanted to see your operation. I'm so-and-so, and I work in this particular company out in Silicon Valley. His business partner was one of the founders of Facebook.

And so they're just sitting there. We're chatting.

And I said, so tell me about yourself because you look to be about 12.

And he said, yeah, I went to Stanford for a year and a half. And then I realized, this is a waste.

Yes, good. You don't need anyone to tell you -- I don't need that gate of yours anymore. I don't need that gate. I don't need that little piece of paper that hangs up on my wall. I'll be hired for my merit. I'll be hired because I've gone out and done something, not because I've gone and gotten a piece of paper from somebody for a bunch of memorization that means nothing. I'll do it myself.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. Somebody who says, I can do it. I just want a chance. Martin Luther King, that's what he was saying: Just give me a chance. Don't judge me on anything, except who I am as an individual. Just me on my character.

That's the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. Judge me on my character.

That is the meaning of the purple heart. Merit, merit, merit. What can you do?

Everybody is given life, and everybody is given a chance to do something. What is it you're going to do?

Well, I can't make it because I've had this problem or this problem. Everyone has problems.

Some, more than others. Some people are born into a lap of luxury. Some people are not. But those born in the lap of luxury. Nine out of ten times lose it all, including their soul because they've never had to work for anything. They've never had to do anything. They never have to struggle. Your struggles are a blessing.

All men are created equal. And our Statue of Liberty stands there with a worldwide beacon with a light in her hand. Come to our sunset washed gates. Come here to our gates. Come in. No matter what anyone tells you elsewhere. If you work hard, if you're smart, if you have a better idea, if you want to play by the rules, come here. And show the rest of the world what liberty does.

And if we really had a better understanding of what we're supposed to do, what we're supposed to be guarding, we would then encourage them, go back and now change your country. Go back now and take this information and spread it all throughout the globe.

Instead, what we do is we take our soldiers and we march them around the world and we say, we're right, and you'll do it this way. And we've grown arrogant and we have lost touch on even who we are. What is the law supposed to do? The law is supposed to praise those who do right. Praise and uphold and clear the path for those who are doing the right thing. And prosecute those who are doing wrong.

When that happens, everyone knows what the rules are. And you can make progress. Praise those who are doing right. Good job. How can I help you? How can I help you do more? How can I help you teach other people? What can I do to take some of these paths and straighten them out for you? Good job. You're making things better here for all people. Good job. You're playing by the rules.

And prosecuting those who don't. Can you imagine what your family would be like if your children, the good child in the family, the one that never has problems, always doing A's and everything else, can you imagine what your family would be like if you always prosecuted -- you said that one, you know what, you got an A, good, you're grounded. You're ground. Oh, you did an A, good. Well, you just don't have to study so much, do you, go out and mow the lawn. And the one sloughing off and doing nothing, always constantly in trouble, if you were coddled that person, what would your family be like? Is there a soul within the sound of my voice that thinks that's a good idea. No, of course, not because common sense says, eternal principles tell us that you praise those and help those who do right, and you prosecute those who do wrong.

The reason our country is in the trouble that we're in is because we are praising those who do wrong and prosecuting those who do right. You are punished for living a righteous life. You are -- if you believe in the Constitution, if you believe in God, you're an outcast in our society. We're not praising you. We're mocking you. We make you feel like an outcast. If you however believe in revolution, if you however believe in a you should march in the streets of Ferguson, well, he get a meeting with the president of the United States.

The rule of law is essential. If I take away and I do anything to hurt the rule of law, that I upset the balance of, praise those who do good, prosecute when who do wrong, if I upset the balance of that or indeed, as we have done, reversed that, what happens to your laws? What happens to the self-governance where people start to feel like suckers? And they're like, you know what, I won't play by these rules because everyone else gets ahead so I'm a sucker for doing and playing by the law. By doing right, I lose. We have taken the fundamental building block of America's belief that the good guys indeed in the end win. That's what makes us different. We like the underdog because we know the good guy, the guy who has just been in there plugging and he has everything against him, but he will live a right and righteous life, we know that guy wins in the end. Do we? Do we?

If you reverse the scale and say, prosecute those who do right and praise those who do wrong, the good guy doesn't win in the end. And so what happens to the rule of law? It completely degrades to the point of chaos. And once there is chaos, anyone, anyone that promises you, I will solve your problem, is embraced.

America, this has nothing to do with illegal immigration. This has nothing to do with this president. This has everything to do with, what kind of world do you want to live in? Do you want one that makes sense, is predictable, that praises those people who do right and punishes those people who do wrong. This has nothing to do with 5 million people. This has to do with the billions that live on earth. Because once we officially extinguish the rule of law, something that we can all believe in, something that we can all understand, not the 80,000 pages that are added every single year, the simple documents that say all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Once we take that simple idea and wash it out, how many billions of people will suffer?

The rule of law is essential. Because when there is chaos, the people will cry out for a strong man. With that being said, the rule of love is essential as well.

We must love others. And our love cannot stop at this border. We must be charitable. We must be kind. We must be loving. We must be patient. We must be tolerant, but not tolerant of those who break the law, but we must love them.

We have to be completely filled with love and completely filled with law. Now, only God can really do this right. 100 percent love, 100 percent law. That's justice.

How you do that in an earthly stance, I don't know. We can only do our best. And what our best requires is for us to be charitable, for us to go down and love the people who are coming across our border. It doesn't mean that we accept them here as citizens. We love them. We love them. We care for them. We listen to their plight. We hold them. We feed them. We send them home. But we love them.

Those who are in danger, we protect. But you cannot love somebody without law. You can't. Tell me how it would work out. If you weren't filled as a spouse with 100 percent love and 100 percent law in your own home, tell me how that would work out.

Honey, I love you. Okay, that marriage contract. I wasn't paying attention to that with Susan. But Susan -- you don't understand how hurt Susan is. You don't understand what was happening in Susan's life. Honey, I was just giving her a little love.

No. There's a marriage contract. There is the rule of law in our marriage, and I have to be filled 100 percent with the rule of law in my marriage and 100 percent with love, no matter what's happening. No matter what's happening in my wife's life or my life, it doesn't matter. The law stands.

At the same time it doesn't happen what's happening in my life, I must love my wife 100 percent of my being. And if those two things -- if they fall, there is no justice in your marriage. There is no justice in your family. And if those two things -- if we're not filled 100 percent with love and 100 percent with law, then there is no justice, and there is no United States of America. There is no promise -- we have extinguished -- imprisoned lightning. That torch that the Lady Liberty holds, we have extinguished it. In a nutshell, that is what happened last night.

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).