By Veronika Kyrylenko
Looking up America’s founding documents? The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) warns that you may be exposed to what it calls a “harmful language.”
“Harmful Language Alert” labels have been placed on top of the web pages displaying the scanned versions of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, as well as the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights.
The alert links to a page entitled “NARA’s Statement on Potentially Harmful Content,” which describes that such content may:
- reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes;
- be discriminatory towards or exclude diverse views on sexuality, gender, religion, and more;
- include graphic content of historical events such as violent death, medical procedures, crime, wars/terrorist acts, natural disasters and more;
- demonstrate bias and exclusion in institutional collecting and digitization policies.
On the same page, NARA explains that it keeps documents containing such content available to the public since its mission “is to preserve and provide access to the permanent records of the federal government.” At the same time, NARA signals it understands that since some readers may “perceive” the documents in a “sensitive” way, it strives to seek for a “balance” between the concrete history and some readers’ feelings. That is promised to be achieved via collaboration with “diverse communities.”
The archivists are advised to practice certain methods “to address the problem” and “help users better understand such content.” That includes notifying readers about the existence and origin of “harmful content,” updating descriptions with “more respectful terms” or, if necessary, “creating new standardized terms to describe materials.” Last but not least, the archivists must make“an institutional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.”
The National Pulse observes that strangely, the alert does not flag a page dedicated to Jim Crow, which uses the word “n*gger” six times, nor it is seen on a page that contains the expression “k*ke Jew.”
The alert placed on the founding documents was spotted on Monday by Ken Cuccinelli, former deputy homeland security secretary in the Trump administration. He tweeted: “What are we becoming? Now the National Archives posts a “Harmful Language Alert” on its website when you pull up the U.S. Constitution?! Are you kidding me? #Constitution”
The next day, Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) chimed in, saying: “We tried to tell you the Left wanted to get rid of it [the Constitution]!”
The importance of the founding documents is hard to overestimate. The National Center for Constitutional Studies notes:
No documents have had a greater influence on the citizens of our country than the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. The Declaration of Independence marked the birth of our republic and set forth our “unalienable rights” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Later, the Constitution outlined our style of government and defined the rights that are protected from intrusion by government.
These documents have been a beacon to all men and women who value freedom. They are just as meaningful now as when they were written. As the American statesman Henry Clay said, “The Constitution of the United States was not made merely for the generation that then existed but for posterity — unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.”
While the censors at the National Archives claim the founding documents contain “harmful language,” the National Constitution Center specifies that even though the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights have different purposes, they all are based on the idea that all people have certain fundamental rights that governments are created to protect. The Center further explains that these natural rights are inherent in all people and that such rights are unalienable, meaning they cannot be surrendered to the government under any circumstances. Indeed, such an idea may be perceived as a threat by the federal body in an age of government overreach.
In a way, flagging the documents that describe the principles and ideals that America is build upon, and what it is striving to preserve itself as, seems to be perfectly in line with what looks like the Democrat establishment’s continuous attack on the very core of the American Republic, where the Constitution and other documents are viewed as targets. After all, even the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon, stated that the Constitution of the United States was “outdated.” Liberal outlet The Week described the Constitution as an “outdated, malfunctioning piece of junk — and it’s only getting worse,” which is why it should be “thrown in the garbage.” The University of Texas calls for an update to the language of the Constitution, since it “undermines the promise of equality it proclaims.” Perhaps, most of all, “the Left hates the Constitution,” as The New American noted, because its concrete, conservative nature goes against their hypocritical and double-standard political style that is aimed at momentary political gain.
Saying that America’s founding documents are in any way “harmful” is akin to saying that “America was never great,” or that America is an intrinsically racist and overall terrible place — a notion endlessly repeated by the leftists and usually accompanied by calls for all sorts of revolutionary changes to it.