By almost any measure one could say that America’s best days have passed. We are hopelessly mired in debt. Millions of able-bodied Americans are unemployed and nearly half our population is now on the government dole in one way or another. We are today as politically polarized as I have seen in my lifetime. We are suffering under the boot of an oppressive regulatory and tax environment. Our fourth estate, the media, has withdrawn from any pretense of journalism or truth seeking. And our moral compass, our ‘firm reliance on divine providence’ appears all but forgotten.
Should I mention that more than 50 million American lives have been snuffed out in the name of ‘women’s rights’? Or that we incarcerate more per capita than any developed nation? That nearly a third of our children are being raised without a father (15,000,000) and another five million without a mother?
Wherever you look – whether public education, government institutions, the political climate, big business, the family unit or the faith community – we are failing.
So how is it that our ‘shining city on a hill’ has lost its luster?
To understand our failures we must first understand the causal drivers of our success – what enabled the experiment to work. In the simplest terms, America succeeded due to its embrace of family, faith and freedom.
The colonies were populated, in large measure, by those seeking religious freedom. Quakers, Puritans and others established themselves and their governance around Biblical principles and mores. From the Mayflower Compact to the governing documents of the original colonies, all were informed by Judeo-Christian values and truths.
Our Founders fully embraced this heritage with its articulation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God as the vital threads in defining how man should lead his life and interact with his fellow citizens. The framers’ worldview was that these rights were unalienable and universal. They belonged to man, having been gifted by nature’s God. The Declaration of Independence expressed a finite definition of these rights. It focused on five principles of the laws of nature and of nature’s God. They are:
- That all people are created by God, and that by virtue of this circumstance are entitled to be treated equally before the law
- That all people are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights.
- The people are also endowed with the right to govern themselves according to their written consent.
- The people retain the right to alter or abolish an unlawful form of government as an exercise of self-government.
- The people are free to organize the civil government’s powers in such a way as to secure their happiness (property).
The Constitution embodied this view and served to construct a civil government capable of sustaining these rights. Federal powers were enumerated (limited and finite) and those not specifically granted belonged to the states and the people.
This was the idea of America – self-reliance, self-government – a free people secure in their rights to life, liberty and property. The idea of America was the recognition that man was meant to live free to pursue his best and that the role of government was to protect and defend the rights of the individual.
The Founders knew that it was the nature of governments to ever creep toward tyranny. They had lived it. And so they went about the work of setting up roadblocks to forestall that eventuality – unalienable rights, enumerated powers, vesting of powers to the states and the people, separation of powers and co-equal branches. But the Founders were equally foresighted to know that the framework they set up through the Constitution was only adequate if the people were good and moral. As John Adams stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Fast forward a few hundred years and answer the question – are we still that ‘moral and religious people’ and, if not, how and why did we lose this critical societal and cultural lynchpin?
While governmental erosions of liberty intermittently occurred, most notably during the tenures of the dynamic duo of Woodrow Wilson (the income tax and the Federal Reserve) and Franklin Roosevelt (where do I start?), one could argue that while we were less free, we were in essence still those ‘moral and religious people’ in the 1950s and into the 1960s. But the seeds of our decline were being sown for all that to change. Civil society was about to convulse.
Our nation was in turmoil. Race relations had taken center stage and America needed to come to grips with its second-class citizenry, the blacks. Much of the South remained segregated. The Ku Klux Klan terrorized any blacks that didn’t know their place. Jim Crow laws ruled. As Congress debated and eventually passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, two competing movements were bubbling up, the peaceful civil protests of Martin Luther King and the violence and anarchy of the Black Panthers.
At the same time, America was facing an exceedingly unpopular war in Vietnam. The anti-war movement was growing, mushrooming out from our colleges and universities. Coverage of sit-ins, demonstrations and riots filled the airwaves, as did the daily body counts from Vietnam. From Berkeley to the streets of Chicago to Kent State, the intensity of this struggle escalated along with the race war. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Weather Underground (of Bill Ayers fame) splashed on the scene, railing not only against the war but also violently rejecting the very institutions and mores of civil society. Their calling was violent revolution, foreseeing some 25 million deaths to achieve their ends – some convoluted, quasi-socialist state. Ayers and his ‘Alinskyites’ were trying to recruit the more radical and violent elements of the race struggle into their fold (Black Panthers, Malcolm X) to rise up and take the government down.
Fear, confusion and division had gripped the country as it watched or read the news. President Lyndon Johnson reacted with his ‘Great Society’ and ‘War on Poverty’ initiatives. But Johnson, a staunch opponent of the Civil Rights Act, and not exactly a friend to blacks, was building, through these programs, an ever-faithful voting block (the blacks and the poor), a permanent underclass. Johnson succeeded in putting the blacks back on the plantation, only this time a government plantation. Reliance on government and the victim class were born and being well fed. Too, our contemporary race baiters (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan) were getting their legs.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy in those years was the fact that Martin Luther King was succeeding, the right way, by showing the good people of America the injustices perpetrated against his race and appealing to their humanity. Tragically, King’s dream of equality and lifting up his people (and all people) was subverted by others who saw more power and fortune in fomenting, twisting and sustaining that victim status.
Yes, the sixties gave us the ‘Summer of Love’; a rising counterculture; the hippies; flag, draft card and bra burning; a budding feminist movement, a lot of dead bodies, and a rapidly growing government. But it also burned into the progressive ‘bible’ the effectiveness of playing the victim card and tugging on the good nature (or guilt) of the American people.
This cabal has been effective in convincing Americans that abortion is only an assertion of ‘women’s rights’, that ‘fairness’ means taking from a producer to redistribute to a ne’er do well, that marriage only between a man and a woman is discriminatory, that indiscriminate sex for teens is just fine, and that God has no place in the public square. Their god is moral relativism, entitlement and government. Their goal (as was the case with communism and fascism) is to bury Christianity and morality, to undermine the church and the family, and replace their traditional roles with a behemoth government.
They viewed the government as the giver of all things, the moral authority, the definer of values, and the great societal leveler.
They have been spectacularly successful. Today a valedictorian that dares utter a word of praise to God or Jesus has his or her mike turned off. Christians are belittled and mocked for their faith. The successful are scorned. Profit is evil. Returning soldiers or those espousing the Constitution are to be put on a terror watch list. Illegal aliens are undocumented aliens. “I’m from the IRS and I am here to help”.
Face it, folks, our world has been turned upside down, by design. And as it has taken several generations to get us here, it will also likely take the same to reverse.
To find the solution, I look to the targets of the Progressives – the churches, the traditional family unit, academia and media. The battle is lost in Washington, D.C. And while we must still engage and fight in this arena, the real battle is local.
We need to awaken our preachers and pastors and enlist them to stand up for nature’s God and the laws of nature. We must not allow them to any longer cower in fear of the IRS and their tax-exempt status, or their fear of losing congregants by speaking out against moral relativism and immoral governmental actions. Talk with your feet if your place of worship doesn’t align itself with the principles and intent of the Constitution. Let them know why and learn from the experience. The churches have the reach to help turn the tide. And they have an inherent duty to support and defend the principles, as does every citizen. Support the Black Robe Regiment!
Should the current trends continue in the public education system, we could soon be facing an army of little brown shirts. The schools, the textbooks, and the curriculum need to be continually vetted and called out positively or negatively as appropriate. I am also old fashioned enough to think that the Pledge of Allegiance should reenter the schools as should the opportunity to pray (purely optional for my agnostic and atheist friends). Shouldn’t citizens of a country founded on the laws of nature and nature’s God be permitted (not required) to pray in school?
And is a show of respect and allegiance to the symbol of our Republic so distasteful? School Boards and teachers are all locals. Get to know them, or be one. Stop sending your hard earned dollars to the Progressive cesspools that so many of our ‘institutes of higher learning’ have become.
The mainstream media has abandoned the pursuit of truth and are willingly aiding and abetting the Progressive agenda. Supporting trusted voices is a start. But as pervasive as the media misinformation cartel is, the more directly and personally we communicate with others the better. Blog, speak up and fight the lies.
Get together with others locally that share traditional American values. There is strength in numbers – evangelize. We keep each other informed and aware – there is far too much going on for one person to keep up. Be a force in your local precinct/county group. That’s where the political action takes place. This is a cultural war and we must assert and defend the values we cherish.
Prescription #5 – My legislative Dream List
Get on board to: Abolish the IRS and enact the FairTax; end the Fed; repeal Dodd-Frank and Obamacare; substantially reform Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security; abolish the Departments of Education, Homeland Security, Labor, EPA, and shake up the rest, redefining their goals and stripping out any activity not supportive of those goals; term limit Congress, and end crony Capitalism.
So, can the idea of America be saved? Yes, as long as it remains in the heart of one citizen. But restoring our nation will take a generation.
Oh, and can we please have a President that believes in, and treasures, the Idea of America.