Ben Carson's Allegations: Much Ado About Nothing

The Context

Following the Iowa Caucus, presidential candidate Ben Carson said that, "Dirty tricks were used in Iowa." He made the charge that Ted Cruz's campaign knowingly and deceitfully told caucus goers that Carson was dropping out of the race.

"I was reasonably happy today, until I, you know, discovered the dirty tricks that were going on and people spreading rumors that I had dropped out and that people should caucus for someone else," Carson said to multiple news outlets.

He Said, CNN Said

It all began with a news report from CNN stating Ben Carson was going to take a few days off, not go to New Hampshire and possibly make a big announcement next week. The Cruz campaign passed on this news to caucus goers in Iowa. Once Carson's allegations became public, the Cruz campaign also addressed the issue head on.

"On the Ben Carson allegations, it's just false. We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said --- had said in his own words. He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple days, and then he was going to go to D.C. for the Prayer HEP Breakfast," Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire. That's not a dirty trick. That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa, saying he's not going to come to New Hampshire. I mean, that's a news item."

Context Matters

Put into context, the CNN report more than implies Carson would be suspending his campaign --- and that's exactly what CNN speculated.

"On CNN they were speculating that he [Carson] was going to drop out because nobody in their right mind does that, especially with the excuse that Ben Carson gave to the press," Glenn said Wednesday on The Glenn Beck Program. "You're running for president of the United States. You have to go to New Hampshire. Everybody got on their plane the next morning and flew to New Hampshire."

Excuses, Excuses

While Glenn and his co-hosts greatly admire Dr. Carson, his excuse for not going directly to New Hampshire just didn't hold water.

"He had to go get a set of fresh clothes," Co-host Stu Burguiere revealed.

Can you hear crickets chirping?

"That's just an unreasonable statement," Glenn said. "You could say this, 'I have personal issues I have to deal with. I just have to go home for two days and be with my wife. I just need to be at home with my family for two days. I'll be back in New Hampshire in two days.' Not, 'I'm going home because I have to get a fresh pair of clothes. And then I'm going to a prayer breakfast in Washington. We'll check back with you.' That's ridiculous."

Common Sense Bottom Line

Ted Cruz apologized to Ben Carson for the confusion surrounding the CNN report --- and the Cruz campaign's subsequent response. However, there were no "dirty" dealings.

"If there's a chance that somebody is dropping out of the race, you're darn right I'm going to get my people on and say, 'Go over and get those Ben Carson people because they identity with us and they're good, and if he's dropping out of the race, let's get them.' There's nothing wrong with that," Glenn said. "That's not a line. That's not cheating. That's not thievery. That's not dishonest."

Listen to this complimentary segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: All right. Let's start with the audio where Ben Carson says, "Dirty tricks were used in Iowa." It's cut 542. Listen to this.

BEN: I was reasonably happy today, until I, you know, discovered the dirty tricks that were going on and people spreading rumors that I had dropped out and that people should caucus for someone else. I mean, do you think that that's something that is acceptable?

PAT: I don't think that's something that happened.

GLENN: Okay. Let's explain. Let's explain what happened. He made this charge. And he was making the charge that Cruz played a dirty trick, and what Cruz did was tell the caucus goers that -- not Cruz. Not Cruz. Cruz campaign people and the local or state people, right? It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. His name is on it. So it doesn't matter.

STU: Yes.

GLENN: So the Cruz campaign said that he was going to drop out and so -- next week he was going to drop out. In fact, I want to get this right. The press release that they released to their caucus goers said that CNN reported that Ben Carson was going to take a few days off next week and not go to New Hampshire, and then had a possible big announcement next week. So they should convince caucus goers for Ben Carson to come over to Cruz. When that was found out, Carson said, "Dirty tricks were used." And here's the response from the Cruz campaign.

VOICE: On the Ben Carson allegations, it's just false. We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said -- had said in his own words. He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple days, and then he was going to go to DC for the Prayer HEP Breakfast. And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire. That's not a dirty trick. That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa, saying he's not going to come to New Hampshire. I mean, that's a news item.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: Now, it's not them reading into this. This is what CNN reported. And on CNN, they were speculating that he was going to drop out because nobody in their right mind does that, especially with the excuse that Ben Carson gave to the press.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Do you know what the excuse was?

PAT: I -- I don't know.

(laughter)

STU: Oh, it's totally believable.

GLENN: It's totally believable. Now, hang on. You're running for president of the United States. You have to go to New Hampshire. And the next thing that's beginning right away. Everybody got on their plane the next morning and flew to New Hampshire.

JEFFY: That evening.

GLENN: That evening.

PAT: It's a week away. Less than that.

GLENN: He didn't go because...

STU: He had to go get a set of fresh clothes.

PAT: No way. That was really the excuse?

GLENN: Yes, that's the excuse.

JEFFY: To be more specific, I believe it was he had to get new suits. Right? Different suits?

STU: Well, I believe the quote was "a set of fresh clothes."

PAT: He's only a neurosurgeon. He can't afford to run out and do that at a store.

STU: No. On the fly.

PAT: You want him to go to a men's warehouse and buy a whole new suit?

GLENN: You're a presidential candidate -- let me tell you something. You're Ben Carson. You're Ben Carson.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Who, by the way, has one of the best-run campaigns. The guy has plenty of money.

PAT: He's got a lot of money.

GLENN: Yeah, yeah. And the campaign could buy the suits. You could hire somebody to come. You could get somebody to make a suit for you in Iowa. You could hire the best people in the world to come and make you a suit or bring you suits. You could hire a department store to come and bring you the suits, if you're Ben Carson.

JEFFY: They probably would do that for Ben.

GLENN: Of course they would. Of course they would.

PAT: They love him, they would probably do it for free.

GLENN: You could call any department -- you could call Macy's. You could call HEP Burgdorf or Nordstrom's or something like that.

PAT: Oh, not in Iowa. There's the problem. He's in Iowa.

GLENN: You can call them in New York and say, "I'm Ben Carson. I need somebody to come and bring a tailor and bring some suits to me." And that's easy to do.

STU: And that's high-end dealing with it.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

STU: Another way to deal with it. I haven't done my personal research on it, but it's my understanding that there are dry cleaners in New Hampshire. So in theory, it's possible that you would bring your old clothes to New Hampshire and get them dry cleaned.

GLENN: There's another thing. Let's say you rip your pants or whatever.

PAT: That's unbelievable.

GLENN: Remember when we would go on the road. We would be on the road for like a month, month and a half.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: You remember how many times one of us, we would get to a town and we'd go, "I've got to find a men's store. I got to go find a men's store. I need to buy two new shirts. I need a jacket."

JEFFY: Something.

GLENN: And we would -- one of us, invariably would always have to stop once a week or something. One of the would say, "I have to get some socks." That's what you do.

PAT: Well, yeah, we were in Cleveland a couple years ago, and it was bone-chilling cold, and none of us were dressed for it. Remember that?

GLENN: Yeah, there was something that happened. We were on the road. We weren't supposed to go there. And it was -- I don't remember what happened. But we flew there. We got there at like midnight. We had meetings or shows to do. And we found a place that opened at 8 o'clock in the morning. We were like, "Okay. We need coats. We need coats."

JEFFY: Are you saying you didn't fly back home?

GLENN: We didn't fly back home.

PAT: That's just ridiculous.

GLENN: Here's the thing. That's just an unreasonable statement.

PAT: It is. It is.

GLENN: Just an unreasonable statement. If that really what he has, then that shows this man is not taking this campaign seriously.

STU: Right. And, look, maybe he just wanted to go home and have a night at home during the campaign. That's fine. He gave an excuse that sounded like an excuse a campaign makes when they're about to drop out. People started speculating that they were going to drop out.

GLENN: That's what was happening on CNN.

STU: It happened on CNN. It happened certainly all over social media.

PAT: Wow.

STU: And so Cruz eventually apologized for his campaign because they didn't update it after he came up with the excuse. So he told --

GLENN: Would you have bought that excuse?

STU: I didn't buy it.

GLENN: I wouldn't have bought that excuse.

STU: That's a good argument for Ben Carson to drop out of the race.

GLENN: You could say this, "I have personal issues I have to deal with. I just have to go home for two days and be with my wife. I just need to be at home with my family for two days. I'll be back in New Hampshire in two days."

PAT: That's believable. That's believable.

GLENN: Not, "I'm going home because I have to get a fresh pair of clothes. And then I'm going to a prayer breakfast in Washington. We'll check back with you." That's ridiculous.

STU: It's a terrible idea, if that's the way it is. And beyond that, like, look, what did it cost? Let's just say crazy, it was 100 votes. Crazy, I mean, Ben Carson finished in fourth by 18 percent. 19 percent. He was not on the verge of winning and lost by 20 votes and has cost him the election.

PAT: No way.

STU: He finished fourth place. No matter what happened with this, he was going to finish in fourth place.

GLENN: No, he was not going to beat Marco Rubio.

STU: It's silly. This is Ben Carson saying, "Look, this isn't going the way I hoped." And, again, we like Ben Carson. He's a good guy.

GLENN: I really like Ben Carson.

STU: He's frustrated. And he's making -- you know, he's getting desperate.

GLENN: Here's the thing, you know, I talked to Ted Cruz over the weekend, and I said -- because some of this stuff that was being said about him is just unbelievable.

PAT: Unbelievable.

GLENN: How Marco Rubio can sleep at night is beyond me because he is just lying. Just lying. There's a difference between, you know, making mistakes because everybody makes mistakes. Making mistakes and lying. And when you are -- when you are -- you know, if you're on the stage and you're like, "Look, your record on the border is this, this, and this." But once you

have -- you know, people all coming out, the Washington Post and everyone else going, "You're lying about that. That's not true," and you continue to do it --

PAT: That's a Barack Obama tactic.

GLENN: It's a Barack Obama tactic, and it shows that you have no respect for the truth. And that to me says something about your character.

PAT: It does to me too.

GLENN: Hang on just a second. That's different than this. I don't think Ted Cruz was lying. I wouldn't have bought that. The guy is going to get clothes?

PAT: No way.

GLENN: So what happens? It's not that he's trying to hurt him. He has to be the first one on those -- those votes. Because everybody -- why do you think Donald Trump came out and said, "By the way, I love Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee, you're the best. I just want to French kiss Mike Huckabee and give give him a building."

PAT: He wants that whopping 2 percent.

GLENN: He does. He wants that 2 percent. So if there's a chance that somebody is dropping out of the race, you darn right I'm going to get my people on and say, "Go over and get those Ben Carson people because they identity with us and they're good, and if he's dropping out of the race, let's get them." There's nothing wrong with that. That's not a line. That's not cheating. That's not thievery. That's not dishonest.

PAT: Right.

STU: No. Every candidate would do that. The only reason that Cruz apologized is because they didn't send a second message to correct the first message once Carson came out with this excuse that I don't believe at all. And I'm sure no one in the campaign believed. But, still, maybe they should have done that, I don't know. But I think with the Rubio stuff, what's interesting with that, Trump in a way has Overton windowed our expectations so far. That when Rubio says something that's not true about Cruz's record, I'm like, eh. It almost -- because we have the other guy saying, "This guy was born in Saskatchewan." His attacks are so nuts, that the typical political falsehoods don't seem as bad.

PAT: He was born in Saskatchewan.

GLENN: Well, that kind of goes to -- last night, I did a monologue on television. And I talked about the thing that nobody is really talking about in this. Nobody is talking about the Iowa race in this way. We're sitting here talking about, you know, Cruz and Carson and Rubio and Trump. Nobody is talking about 50 percent of the Democrats voted for an outright socialist

Featured Image: Ben Carson speaks at his Iowa Caucus Night Party in the Marriott Hotel on February 1, 2016 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Carson is projected to finish fourth in the GOP running. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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).