by Diane Rufino, Sept. 13, 2010
In 1787, a group of brilliant Americans met in Philadelphia with the task of setting up a government to effectively manage a union of independent and sovereign states. What they gave us would lay the foundation for the greatest nation on Earth. Our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. With the understanding that our liberties come from our Creator and not from any country or governmental body, our Founders devised a governmental scheme based on the grand notion that the government’s fundamental purpose is to respect and protect those liberties. Invoking Divine Providence, our Constitution embodied the most noble and productive philosophies, embodied the moral code set out in the Declaration of Independence, embodied principles of fairness, and respected a division of power whereby the majority remained with the individual states where it was closer to the individual. The document came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of persons who emigrated from Europe and far-off lands in the hope of a life without oppression from their government.
For almost one hundred years, the Negro was not free under that Constitution. While every master of slaves was indeed a petty tyrant, this gross indiscretion before God was ignored in order that local economies could continue to flourish. Little did they realize that their conduct would bring the judgment of Heaven upon our nation. Providence would punish national sin by a national calamity. Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln knew that a house divided against itself could not stand, with the Declaration of Independence protecting the liberties of white men but not black men. He knew the country could not endure half slave and half free.
He would neither allow it to become permanently divided nor dissolved. And consequently, we engaged in a great Civil War which was costly in terms of human lives and which tested whether this great nation, so conceived and dedicated to liberty, would be able to long endure. And so with malice towards none and charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, brothers and cousins, neighbors and fellow citizens tended to the task of binding up the nation’s wounds and welcoming former slaves as our brethren. Yet it didn’t go quite that smoothly and our darker brethren continued to feel indignation and continued to crippled by the stigma of segregation and the chains of discrimination. For one hundred years, the Negro continued to languish in the corners of American society and find himself an exile in his own land. When the Civil Rights Amendments were passed, he was given a promissory note to the same inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” that every other citizen of the nation enjoyed. But rather than honoring that note, it came back to them marked “Insufficient Funds.” The nation had defaulted on its promissory note.
In 1963, Martin Luther King led a March on Washington DC, carrying that note and demanding that it be paid in full. They arrived at the nation’s capital to cash their check. And the March helped bring our House closer together. All Americans supported that movement because it was the right and honorable thing to do. And laws were then enacted and walls were finally torn down. Massive programs were put in place to help Negros move out of poverty and take their rightful place alongside their lighter-skinned brothers and sisters.
Unfortunately, the programs lasted too long and instead of moving Negros out of poverty, they kept them in poverty. Rather than transitioning them to the point where their individual liberties would build them and define them, they kept them from the true enjoyment and appreciation of liberty. The government , beginning in the Depression era, and then continuing in the Civil Rights era, began to see its role as one to take care of individuals cradle to grave, rather than stay out of their lives so that the true spirit of freedom could uplift and invigorate. It was at that time that the role of government began to fundamentally change from the one that our Founders had envisioned, for every time citizens look to the government to take care of them, they gradually give up some of their liberties. Every time citizens demonstrate that they can’t do for themselves, the government feels justified in getting involved and then taking away fundamental rights of choice and privacy, including parenting, education, and health.
As the government continued to grow, it naturally needed to reach further in our pockets and burden our lives. Soon the government no longer respected the words of the Declaration of Independence which demanded that at everyone’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (ie, property) be protected equally. This time distinctions weren’t made on race but on “character,” the very trait that Martin Luther King urged should be the determinant of respect. Those Americans obeying the laws, working hard, paying taxes, getting an education, raising their children properly, and investing in their property and planning for a quiet retirement have been the ones the government has targeted for disparate treatment. Their property means nothing to the government. Their precious time means nothing to the government. Their sacrifices mean nothing to the government. And their patriotic duty to the well-ordered functioning of this country means nothing. Soon the government’s role morphed into one that punished people for doing all the right and noble things and rewarded those who made no contribution to the nation. It began servicing certain citizens heavily yet making others pay for it. For the sake of effecting societal change, our branches of government broke the very rules they were sworn to uphold. For the sake of effecting societal change, the government and our courts have disregarded the very fundamental principles that have made this nation great and have dismantled the very Constitution they were supposed to be beholden to. They disregarded one of their most important constitutional duties – that of checks and balances. They were supposed to maintain the integrity of the Constitution by keeping careful limitations on one another’s power. And for the sake of having the government take care of everything, the very last element in the chain of checks and balances, the citizen himself, also abdicated his duty. He forgot his duty to be educated, to know his history and his civics lessons, to put his country first, to be a responsible voter, and even more, to be a responsible citizen and human being.
In the beginning, settlers came to America’s shores as wild animals, with a thirst for freedom and with inherent (innate) instincts for survival and preservation. They fought fiercely and tirelessly for their freedoms because those freedoms meant more to them than life itself. And in time they saw that all was good. Other wild animals continued to come to her shores,… beaten , repressed, starved, hunted….. all wanting to be those wild and free animals that God meant them to be. They embraced the liberty they found here. Filled with the spirit of freedom, they gladly integrated with the wild animals here and figured out how they could do their part to contribute.
But then came a time of excess when their instincts had paid off and their communities were flourishing. There were agitators among them. There were those who refused to do their part. There were predators. And the government was called upon to step in and smooth over these problems. In order to keep the growing population even-tempered and free from turbulence, liberties were gradually burdened. As the wild animals no longer felt the need to hunt and protect themselves, because the government would be there to do it for them, they didn’t even notice that the government gradually moved them into cages. Americans – once wild and proud animals, with the instincts of freedom and preservation, were now caged animals, being cared for by the government… the caretaker. We have been well taken care of but we’ve been neutered. We’ve been disassociated from the likes of those animals that came to these shores in the 1600’s and 1700’s and 1800’s. We’ve lost the ability to recognize those rights that come from God as being fundamental to our free existence. And since we’ve lost the ability to even recognize those rights, we’ve lost the “killer instinct” to fight to preserve them. Our Founding Fathers would surely shed many tears to see what weak-hearted, well-kept, neutered animals we have become. Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis (leader of the Confederacy) sent a nation full of young men to fight one another over their versions of fundamental liberties. In 1941, parents, friends, girlfriends couldn’t hold young men back from enlisting in the serve to fight those evil forces in the world who wanted to deprive Americans of their rights of life and liberty and to enslave them in some world order based on Japanese and Nazi domination. And they fought just as ferociously to free the good people of Europe and Africa from the same fates. Tyranny is something American “animals” had no tolerance for. Unfortunately, now they do.
The caged spirit… that lifeless, wounded, uninspired, unmotivated, amputated spirit is what has allowed this nation to become what it has today.. the nanny state. Zoo keepers have become part of our everyday lives.
But some have found the strength and the conviction to break free of their cages and to go back out on the prowl and to defend the liberties that allow them to soar again. They are the members of the Tea Party movement. These are the ones who value our fundamental liberties and value the brilliance of our Founders and our original Constitution.
The Tea Party is a truly unique grassroots movement. It doesn’t have a leader but rather has bubbled up from the people themselves. A disconcerted people have recognized their obligation to get the country back on track, mainly for their children and grandchildren’s sake, and for posterity’s sake. Thomas Jefferson indeed has immortalized our true American entitlement: “All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” but he also gave us charged us with a solemn civic duty: “… to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter it…” And the government has finally become destructive of its ends. Instead of protecting and respecting our individual rights, it has stifled and ignored them. All men are entitled to the “pursuit of happiness,” but apparently the pursuit of happiness for too many comes at the cost of denying it to others. We also have recognized that we cannot continue to expect God’s charitable blessings on our nation when we have so boldly turned against him.
And so we grew, and we organized, and we marched.
We peacefully marched on Washington last year, on 9/12, to let our government know that we were not pleased with its socialist programs and its defiance of the Constitution and founding principles. We attended the protest of an unconstitutional healthcare bill that allows the government to extend its power over the individual to unprecedented levels. While we protested, our President sat in a closed session in the very Capitol Building we stood outside of, trying to convince Congressmen to sell their souls and vote for his bill. We were indeed disgusted that our own President, knowing full well what the American people wanted, decided to go that extra mile to make additional backdoor deals to make sure the people were robbed of their voice. They took our votes and they swore an oath. They made a tacit agreement to represent our interests. They swore an oath to defend the Constitution and not destroy its integrity. They honored nothing. Every Congressman who made a deal and betrayed the people disgraced the institution and devalued our republic that day.
We attended the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington DC on August 28 in a sign of solidarity and to make a tacit pledge to do all we can to restore honor and dignity to this country. We noticed how well-intentioned individuals from all states took time out of their hectic schedules to come together to embrace God and to embrace those good and honorable principles that have made America great. Tired as we were, we attended this year’s 9/12 rally as well. We needed to show that this movement is here to stay and we’re not going anywhere. There are decent and freedom-loving people all over this nation who can’t get out and march and who can’t even speak openly without criticism, scorn, or consternation. Some even fear retribution. They look to us for hope and for inspiration. Part of the reason we march is for them. Freedom is worth fighting for. Freedom is always worth fighting for.
When it comes to fundamental American principles and respect to the Constitution that has made this country great and a beacon for all who desire freedom, and which has given each of us the freedom to be all that we can be, we hope that all people, regardless of all color, will feel the swell of patriotism. We pray to the God of Unity above that the hopes and dreams of man are truly those that are color-blind. We pray that the hopes and dreams of man, of all man, are those of unfettered liberty and righteous justice.
It was indeed fitting and proper that Glenn Beck chose to hold the rally at the Lincoln Memorial, the site honoring one of our greatest Americans… a man devoted to the proposition that all men are created equal and endowed with the same freedoms, and even more, are endowed with an equal desire to exercise those freedoms. Lincoln was a man who gave his last full measure to freeing men from bondage and uniting the country “with malice towards none and charity for all.” It was Lincoln who invoked God’s Providence, and saw the strength in unity. He said: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.” Lincoln understood that as a nation we could not continue to ask for God’s blessing while we retained the evil institution of slavery. “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”
The Restoring Honor Rally, designed to restore the honor that once defined us as a nation, is rooted above all else, in the heart and soul of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s spirit of honor and unity is what drives the heart of the grassroots efforts. The Lincoln Memorial, with Lincoln poised in his chair for strength and for compassion looking out over a reflecting pond so he can forever reflect upon the sacrifices of so many men (brothers and cousins) and upon the nation he fought so hard to preserve, calls us to reflect as well on what is important. Abraham Lincoln showed us how one man, with good and noble intentions, and inspired by God, can change the world. Imagine what millions can do.
We are involved in a new civil war, but it’s not the kind fought with guns and knives. It’s being fought by insidious ideology and insults. And as Lincoln said: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” And the result of this new civil war will determine whether this nation will be able to long endure. And Glenn Beck was absolutely right to call Americans together to honor those who have given us everything we enjoy and everything that enables us to love freely and develop ourselves to our fullest potential – God, our Founders, and our military. “That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Make no mistake, in this great struggle, our form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if we don’t restore the values and principles our Founders felt were vital to a free nation. These principles include the acknowledgement that there is indeed a Creator and that our rights come from Him. The God who has given us our rights has also given us limits on how to exercise them, for a disciplined, honorable, and loving existence. Aside from an acknowledgement of God, other fundamental principles recognized by our Founders and embraced in our original Constitution include limited government, free markets, fiscal responsibility, limited taxation, personal responsibility, moral and ethical representation, adherence to the Constitution, respect for property, and equality in the administration of government.
The design of our government, as given to us by our Founders, was precisely to make sure that our fundamental rights will always be respected and protected. Everything about its design, from the preamble and reference to the Declaration of Independence, to the grant of limited and specific powers, to our Bill or Rights, to the Tenth Amendment, to the existence of three branches of government , and to our system of checks and balances speaks to the ultimate desire of our Founders to protect our fundamental liberties from government intrusion and to the acknowledgement that these liberties come from something, in the over-all scheme of existence, that supersedes the state in its ultimate authority. Our Creator. The greatest grant of political power was always to remain with the states where it is closest to the people. The powers of the federal government are indeed limited and clearly defined and any attempt to enlarge these powers burdens the people in their rights. The limited powers of the government basically ensure that it will establish justice, will provide for our national security (common defense), will insure domestic tranquility, and promote the “General Welfare” – but only within the enumerated powers that are listed in Article I, Section 8, and therefore not without bounds, and certainly without discretion. All men are created equal and endowed with equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (property), and as such, are entitled to an equal protection of their rights by the government. As Patrick Henry told us: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; It is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it comes to dominate our lives and interests.”
Again pointing to our Founder’s obsession with protecting fundamental liberties, we must not forget the important advice that Thomas Jefferson gave us: “Whenever the government becomes destructive of the ends for which the Declaration of Independence was created and ratified, the people have the right to alter it or abolish it and to form a new government to properly and fairly secure their safety and pursuit of happiness.”
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of this particular moment in time. It would be fatal to disregard the fact that we are engaged in a new civil war. This struggle is indeed the calling of our generation. For hundreds of years, men have been called to fight to preserve our nation and our way of life. Our young men and women serve and sacrifice their lives all over the globe in defense of our principles. Now we are being asked to give these men and women something worth fighting for. Be assured that there will be neither be rest nor tranquility in America until our government deviates from its current course of personal oppression and national destruction and restores honor and integrity to the nation of our Founders’ creation. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
The marvelous new passion which has engulfed the conservative community must not lead us to a distrust of all people who don’t march and protest and meet with us, for many of our brothers, including our black brothers, must come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they must realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. As a very old and very tired Benjamin Franklin was leaving the building where, after four months of hard work, the Constitution had been completed and signed, a lady asked him what kind of government the convention had created. The very wise Franklin replied; “A Republic, ma’am if you can keep it.” Well, we are fighting to keep that republic….. all of us… whites and blacks, Gentiles and Jews, Protestants and Catholics.
We cannot walk alone. We should not walk alone. Most of all, we must not turn back.
There are those who are asking the conservatives who want a return to productive principles and constitutional governance: “When will you be satisfied?” We answer by saying that we can never be satisfied as long as our fundamental liberties remain subservient to the wishes and goals of a government no longer guided, respectful, and beholden to our Constitution. We can never be satisfied as long as we, heavy with the fatigue of work , education, raising a family, taking care of our property, and being involved and serving our communities, are required to baby-sit and monitor the counterproductive, dishonorable, and unethical conduct of our elected officials. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their inherent entitlement to the American dream. We can never be satisfied as long as our vote is diluted by a group of Americans who vote without conscious, along racial lines rather according to morality and substantive issues, and especially without having any financial stake in the workings of government. We can never be satisfied when voting, like all social programs, has become insidiously infested with fraud and intimidation.
Many have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Many have had to step out of their comfort zones. Many have put aside their pursuits of greater employment. Many have taken time away from their families, and many have taken a lot of money away from their families’ dinner table and vacation fund to support the different conservative efforts to take back this country and restore her to her former greatness. For too long we have only been able to stand at the base of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. We have only been able to stand just outside the WWII Memorial….. For we have not been worthy to walk up and enjoy fellowship with these great leaders and great Americans. But now we are. As Glenn Beck’s reminded us: “Recognize that Moses and Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were men. They were men just like you. They just picked up their stick. Don’t stand and look to someone else. Pick up your stick and stand.”
So Patriots, let us go back to Pennsylvania (birthplace of our Constitution), to Virginia (the birthplace of our freedoms and site of some of the most fierce and gruesome fighting of the Civil War), to New York (site of the greatest attack upon us as Americans), and to every corner of the country, knowing that somehow, only through perseverance and through the Grace of God, our current situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in despair. Let us not wallow in the despair of a country that has become governmentally oppressive, financially irresponsible, and ideologically hijacked. Let us not wallow in the despair of a country that has abandoned God, has become morally depraved, and seeks to dominate its subjects. Let us not despair in a nation where our government, through its policies of righteous indignation and social redistribution, seeks to deny those freedoms to those who wish to exercise them to pursue a productive and blessed way of life… Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you this day, my friends, that in spite of our current administration’s desire to lead us down the road to socialism (the destructive philosophy that has doomed many a great nation) and in spite of the counterintuitive policies that rock the very foundations of our beloved Constitution and the fundamental principles established by our Founding Fathers to ensure for our unfettered freedoms and for our eternal existence as a nation, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that the desire for unfettered fundamental liberty is a dream that unites all Americans behind the one true vision – the vision of our Founding Fathers. It is a dream that will unite us in this struggle to take back our nation.
I have a dream that Americans, in respecting and appreciating that our rights and liberties come from God, will exercise those rights in accordance with his laws. For although God endowed us with great personal freedom, He also set limitations on those freedoms.
I have a dream that those who exercise the very rights endowed by the Creator and protected by a Constitution that was inspired by the Creator will not continue to demand that our nation show complete indifference to Him.
I have a dream that all Americans will appreciate and value the supreme sacrifice of men and women who gave their lives to establish this nation and to fight for every one of the values that we hold so precious and vital. Americans have always believed that fundamental liberty is not just the inherent right of every American, but it is the inherent right of every human being, for our Declaration of Independence taught them that. It is always worth fighting for. And with every word we speak freely, especially in criticism of our government, with every prayer we can speak in public without retribution, with every assembly we enjoy, with every personal choice we are allowed to make, with every vote we can cast, and with every child we can raise with hope and dreams, may we eternally thank those who have preserved all that for us.
I have a dream that leaders of this nation will justify our laws strictly with our Constitution and with our Declaration of Independence, and will always err on the side of liberty.
I have a dream that one day people will break free from the intimidation of their churches and communities and vote their conscience and not along racial lines. Liberty has no face, color, creed, or religion.
I have a dream that people of all races will realize that racial division prevents us from advancing the real issues of our generation, which is national decay and national survival. I have a dream that one day we will all realize that not every choice based on race represents racism and is not meant to divide but to serve legitimate national goals.
I have a dream that all people will understand that they need to have a sufficient financial stake in the running of the government for there to be true equality in this country. There is no fairness in voting to spend other people’s money.
I have a dream that the energy the government invests to protect the rights of the poor and address their issues will be the same energy it invests to protect the rights of the wealthy and address their issues. One person’s right to pursue an education and pursue wealth is the same as another person’s right to ignore education and be slothful.
I have a dream that just as God respects the inherent worth of every human being equally so too will our government. Just as God wishes and encourages that each human being will advance himself to be the very best person he can be and live the very best life that he can live, I have a dream that we too as a nation, as we once did and as our Founders envisioned, should encourage this same exemplary conduct.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be labeled by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream that my four children will not be punished for the endless hours they’ve poured into their education in order to have a developed mind and a successful career. According to Thomas Jefferson, intellectual achievements, choice of career and success in such, and business reputation are all examples of one’s property and are to be protected and not confiscated and re-distributed.
I have a dream that our government recognizes that charity comes from the heart and from our churches and not from legislature and from taxation.
I have a dream that our children and grandchildren with be entitled to the American dream without first being saddled by the debts of our country. Somewhere along the line, our government has forgotten our fundamental right to “the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Finally, I have a dream that Americans will never again feel too comfortable in that “cage” and will never again take their liberties and their Constitution for granted.