by Diane Rufino, July 11, 2022
I’m a long-time activist. I started a Tea Party group in 2009 in my area of North Carolina and have been running it ever since. I believe in the Tea Party movement because it embraces our core American values and principles and fights for them. I recently (November 2021) started another citizen-activist group, a conservative education advocacy group for outraged and frustrated parents and concerned citizens. The group not only has already made a difference with the local board of education but has inspired neighboring counties to form similar groups of their own.
I fight tirelessly for them. I fight because this is the land that I love. I wish more people would. As Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
A growing number of Americans distrust the federal government. According to a Pew Research Center poll published on June 6, 2022 and a Monmouth University poll released on May 12, 2022, a growing number of Americans distrust the federal government and believe our country is headed in the wrong direction. “Only two-in-ten (20%) Americans say they trust the government in Washington DC to do what is right ‘just about always’ or ‘most of the time.’” Even more telling, 79% of Americans surveyed said that they believe the country has “gotten off on the wrong track.” The fact is that most Americans recognize that an all-out war is being waged against our republic and against every American’s individual liberty. That war is being waged in the name of socialism, social justice, and an uber-progressive agenda.
I fight for our founding values and principles because this is my country. I fight because this country, for better or worse, is the land that I love.
Why do I love her?
I love her because she was founded and designed to be exceptional. The Declaration of Independence, a brilliant and revolutionary document written largely and substantially by my favorite Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, articulates the reasons why the founding American colonies decided to separate from Great Britain but most importantly, the values and principles that would come to define them.
Paragraphs one and two articulate those values and principles. They read:
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”
These principles were considered “revolutionary” back in the 17thand 18th centuries. Back in those days, countries were ruled by kings and blue-bloods. They believed that there was a divine right for certain individuals to rule. America would be different. They would be the source of government power, through elected officials, and government would be tasked to protect and secure their individual rights and liberty.
The Declaration didn’t just proclaim to a candid world our reasons to separate from Great Britain but rather, it continues to influence our country to this very day. What many people don’t know is that the Declaration influenced the very drafting of the Constitution in 1787 when the States decided to scrap the Articles of Confederation in favor of a totally new constitution and new form of government. It also inspired the abolitionist movement and the ultimate prohibition of slavery in this country, it inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to lead his people to fight against racial discrimination and fight for a federal civil rights law, and most recently, it offers encouragement and direction to the modern conservative originalist movement [including the Tea Party movement starting back in 2009 and continuing, Turning Point USA, Judicial Watch, the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Watch – with its motto “Government fails, freedom works”, Citizens United, The American Conservative Union (ACU), American Family Association (AFA), Americans for Prosperity (AFP), The Conservative Caucus, Family Research Council (FRC), and Eagle Forum].
As mentioned above, the Declaration informed our US Constitution and continues to do so.
Most Americans don’t actually know the nature of the Constitution. Many regard it as nothing more than a founding document and those on the left regard it as something even more inconsequential – as an outdated founding document. The truth is that it is so much more. In fact it is critical to our constitutional republic. It created the federal government, assigned it a series of enumerated powers, sets limits and boundaries on the branches of government, provides for a series of checks and balances to keep the government in check (with the antagonism of the States being the most powerful of those checks and balances), and provides a legal mechanism for changing or amending it (Article V). It establishes the “Supreme Law of the Land” (Article VI) which therefore forms the basis for our Rule of Law.
Our US Constitution, like all constitutions, is a social compact, drafted and ratified by the people of the several states, to protect We the People from an ambitious and oppressive government. The Constitution is intended for We the People; it is for the protection of our Liberty. People need to view it that way in order to understand why it is so important and critical and why activists like myself fight so hard to defend it, to chastise elected officials for violating it, and to explain it to others. Education is the best way to keep we Americans informed and help them be responsible voters.
The fact is that we almost didn’t get that Constitution in 1787. The discussions and debates among the delegates devolved into headstrong arguments and stubbornness. When it seemed that there would be no overcoming this and that the Convention had come to an impasse, the eldest delegate to the Convention, Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin called upon all the delegates to take a moment and appeal to God to imbue them with rationality, purpose, and vision and to remind them of why they had met in Philadelphia in the first place. This is what he said on June 28, 1787, just one month into the convention:
“We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by-word down to future ages…I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”
Granted, the Constitution was not perfect when the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention (Constitutional Convention) completed their draft and signed it (on September 20, 1787). In fact, several key delegates found the final draft to be unsuitable and a danger both to state sovereignty and to individual liberty and refused to sign it. They demanded that a Bill of Rights be included and certain key states, including Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, agreed (and made note of that condition in their ratification conventions).
Alexander Hamilton, in his Federalist Papers essay No. 1, understood how difficult it would likely be for the Constitution to be ratified by all the independent States. He explained:
“After an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind. This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too many local institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices little favorable to the discovery of truth.
Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.
A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.
After having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I affect not reserves which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity. I shall not, however, multiply professions on this head. My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.
I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars: The utility of the Union to your political prosperity, the insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union, the necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed by this new Constitution, the conformity of the proposed Constitution to the true principles of republican government, its analogy to your own state constitutions, and lastly, the additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to Liberty, and to property.
It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole.1 This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has votaries enough to countenance an open avowal of it. For nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than the alternative of an adoption of the new Constitution or a dismemberment of the Union. It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution. This shall accordingly constitute the subject of my next address.”
The strongest argument against the ratification and adoption of the new constitution by certain key delegates to the Convention and then by certain key States during the ratification period was its lack of a Bill of Rights. They argued that the new constitution was defective in its failure to protect individual freedom and liberty because it lacked such a bill. They pointed to England, which adopted a Bill of Rights in 1689 (and which the colonists regularly pointed to in defense of their rights – their “rights as English subjects”).
A Bill of Rights was finally added when the first US Congress convened, thanks to James Madison, who kept his promise to Virginia and introduced a series of amendments (proposed in large part by the individual states themselves) on June 8, 1789 and to Thomas Jefferson for emphasizing to his good friend that “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” The Bill of Rights was hugely popular and overwhelmingly supported, and it officially became part of the US Constitution in December 1789.
The Declaration was “submitted to a candid world” in July 1776 as the American Revolution was just getting started. The American colonies/states fought successfully and against all odds when British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington (who had help from French General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, and French Army troops) at Yorktown (VA) on October 19, 1781. The treaty of Paris, signed by American delegates Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and a representative of the King of Great Britain, King George III, on September 3, 1783, acknowledged the independence and sovereignty of all the American states.
Article I reads: “His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island & Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia, to be free sovereign & Independent States; that he Treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors relinquishes all Claims to the Government Propriety and Territorial Rights of the same & every Part thereof.”
With respect to the Declaration of Independence, America was, and continues to be, founded on its “revolutionary” principles. She appeals to a higher standard than other countries. In America, we believe that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. All nations, all people, look to our country as a beacon of light and right. It’s this principle, along with our commitment to individual Liberty that makes America a truly unique and legitimate nation.
I love America for her commitment to the Declaration and because it defines us as Americans. I know it defines me. I sing its praises whenever I speak to my Tea Party group and I sing its praises, and reference it, whenever possible when I write.
The Declaration is masterful and revolutionary because it explains the concept of Individual Sovereignty, which is the concept upon which our nation and our government system was based, and explains the proper purposes of government. Individual Sovereignty is the government philosophy that asserts that true sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments. Since government belongs inherently to the people, it must act in their best interests. And since government belongs to the people, whenever they believe it to be destructive of its purposes (as the Declaration explains), they have the right to “throw off” that government and resume all sovereign power over themselves until a new government is established. If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses (which they do by calling for an Article V Convention or pressuring their States to interpose and nullify abusive and unconstitutional federal laws and actions or in the last resort, to revolt or to secede), outside interference is justified. By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens. Perhaps that is why it is important to maintain friendly relations with like-minded nations.
Related to the concept of “individual sovereignty” is the understanding that a person has the right of conscience – the right to think and believe as he or she chooses. A person has a functioning mind and the actual or potential ability to make choices based on reason and awareness, in accordance with his or her belief set, which may or may not be justified by religious teachings. Young children have such minds and are therefore also sovereign, but the ability to use reason is something that develops as the child’s brain matures, and therefore the parents have a responsibility to exercise some of the sovereignty rights on behalf of their children. This “parental obligation” creates a moral obligation on the part of parents to provide wisdom and judgement, as well as education oversight and material needs for their children. Upon the age of maturity, the child becomes a fully sovereign human being and is emancipated from his or her parents. Individual sovereignty also explains why we as Americans have the rights to life, to speak freely, to exercise our religious beliefs, to assemble, to protest, to keep and bear firearms for self-protection, and to be safe and secure in our homes and to have our privacy respected. These are inalienable rights, which means they attach to us by way of our very humanity.
Also related to the concept of individual sovereignty is the notion that Americans have the right to the fruits of their own labor and should be minimally taxed. The fundamental right to acquire, possess, and sell property is the reason Jefferson included the term “and the pursuit of happiness” as one of the inalienable rights included in the Declaration of Independence. The fundamental right to acquire, possess, and sell property is the backbone of opportunity; it incentivizes us and gives us a valid reason to get a good education, to decide on a good and prosperous career, to save our money, to invest, to seize opportunities, and to invest in starting a business. It’s the most practical means to protect one’s assets and the most practical means to pursue happiness. This right, along with the free enterprise system (articulated by Adam Smith in “Wealth of Nations”) that stems from it, is the source of individual prosperity, national prosperity, and the foundation of economic liberty.
In short, our country was founded on the revolutionary notion of Individual Liberty. I love that about America. I am free. Every day I can exercise my freedoms without government oppression or suppression (as long as I am not around members or organizations on the extreme left, although I’m confident I can hold my own).
“Liberty” is defined as the state of being free to exercise one’s inalienable and civil rights and to be free from unreasonable government control. Liberty means a person can freely exist within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority (government) on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.
I doubt that those rounded up after the January 6 so-called “insurrection” believe this is a free country. I doubt Donald Trump believes this is a free country after what the Democrats in Congress did to him while he was duly elected to serve as president. I doubt that all those (politically targeted) who have been needlessly and unfairly harassed, defamed, and financially drained by the government believe this is a free country. I realize that many Americans doubt that we are still a “free people.” They doubt that this country can still be characterized as “the land of the free” (even though we are defended by “the brave”).
But we continue to look to the Declaration of Independence as the defining articulation of what it means to be an American and to live in America.
Besides being our initial founding document, the Declaration of Independence guided, and continues to guide, our understanding of the US Constitution. It provides the foundation, the foundational principles, and the intention of our Founding generation in drafting the Constitution and creating the government it did. It continues to be our nation’s moral compass. That is, except when certain factions try to divide our nation’s people and communities according to race.
America is the product of religion and world history, namely western civilization (the Bible, Rome’s Cicero, Tacitus, Livy, Plutarch, etc), the influence of English and French Enlightenment philosophers (such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Baron de Montesquieu, Frederic Bastiat, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant), and the history, in particular, of Great Britain, our mother/parent country. The ol’ saying that “we stand on the shoulders of others” is certainly true when it comes to this wonderful country.
Despite what those on the left may say, this country has been shaped by Judeo-Christian beliefs and culture. John Winthrop, who sailed across the Atlantic on board the ship Arbella in 1630, delivered the following sermon just before he and his fellow Puritans arrived in New England (where they settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony):
“We are entered into covenant with Him [God] for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant……….
To provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory… For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”
As mentioned earlier, it was a call to God and a call for daily prayer at the convention center in Philadelphia in June 1787 by Ben Franklin that enabled the delegates to get beyond their petty differences and push forward and eventually come to a consensus regarding a new Constitution and a new form of government.
Furthermore, in his Farewell Address, President George Washington said: Liberty is “the palladium of your political safety and prosperity…. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts—of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the
whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
A government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.
The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…..”
John Adams famously explained in his letter to the Massachusetts militia, on October 11, 1798: “Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and religion, avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In fact, it is religion and morality (virtue) that is necessary to support and sustain our constitutional republic. If we expect to have a “limited government” as the originally-intentioned Constitution created, We the People must be expected to be able to govern ourselves appropriately, and those guidelines come from God’s law and from the teachings of Jesus. It is from the Judeo-Christian tenets and teachings that we can clearly and assuredly know the difference between right and wrong and therefore guide our conduct. If a free people are to govern themselves politically, they must first be able to govern themselves morally and effectively.
Our nation’s appreciation and adherence to such tenets and teachings continued up until 1962. In that year, the US Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Engel v. Vitale, which declared that school-sponsored prayer is unconstitutional, as being a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The following year, the Supreme Court handed down an equally disastrous ruling. In Abington Township (PA) v. Schempp (1963), the Court declared that Bible readings and the recitation of the Lord’s prayer also violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
It was Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an avowed hedonist and atheist activist, who filed numerous lawsuits challenging various laws and government practices based on the issue of ‘separation of Church and State,’ with one such case eventually making its way to the Supreme Court (consolidating into the Abington v. Schempp case). To understand just how much this woman was despised and how dangerous Americans believed her to be to our critical national institutions, LIFE magazine, in 1964, did a cover story on her and referred to her as “the most hated woman in America. [As a side note, in 1995, O’Hair, her son, and her granddaughter, went missing in their home state of Texas. Rumor has it that she was still so utterly despised that law enforcement didn’t even bother to look for her for over a year].
1962-1963 – that’s when public schools began to fall apart, that’s when society began to degenerate, that’s when social morality began to become a thing of the past, that’s when violence began to increase, and that’s when the incidence of school shootings began to rise (sharply with each succeeding decade).
I remember attending high school from 1974-78 and we still were able to start our days in home room by enjoying a moment of silence in order to pray (or to just contemplate). When I was doing my student teaching in 2012 in the public school system, students began their day watching President Obama on the televisions that were installed in each classroom. Quite a difference, yes?
If there is any confusion or denial of the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, one just needs to look at the first and second paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. Our American Founders staked this country on “self-evident truths” that stem from “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God. They did so in order to justify the dedication of America to individual liberty. That is, that liberty comes from our humanity and not from government. If the Declaration is to be believed worldwide, then America’s “self-evident truths” are not just unique to our country and to Americans, but they apply to all men and women everywhere. They are as true today as they were in 1776. This universal principle of Liberty and the defense of it is what inspires men and women to enlist in our armed services and to spread and defend it all across the planet. The oath that our enlisted men and women take reads: “I, ____________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same… “
Americans still believe in these ideals. They are still willing to fight for them, whether as enlisted men and women or as citizen-activists.
Our founding values and founding principles, our founding documents, our nation’s devotion to individual Liberty, and our foundations in, and reliance on, religion are just some reasons I love America.
Our government, created and vested with enumerated powers by the US Constitution, was initially unique and self-containing. But we all know that government has been dishonest and scheming over our 230-plus years for the sole purpose of enlarging and consolidating its powers and for taking greater and greater control over our lives, our property, and our livelihoods. If you have any doubt about this inglorious history, try comparing the “facts submitted (by the 13 colonies/states) to a candid world” in the Declaration to support their claim that Great Britain had established “an absolute tyranny” over them to the actions of our current federal government. [For additional arguments to this point, read my article “A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” written and posted on my blogsite January 22, 2021 – https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ]
I love this country because I love its people. They are among the most hard-working, church-going, God-fearing, industrious, affluent, and generous in the world.
Every nation has something to build a spirit of nationalism, to derive meaning and purpose and to stir in its people a sense of patriotism. Examples include a specific ethnic character, a shared history, a shared purpose for existing, a common religion. In the case of America, our sense of patriotism derives from our glorious history (although spotted and stained at times), our love and appreciation of the Declaration of Independence, our shared love and pursuit of liberty, and our appreciation of the US Constitution. In short, our patriotism and our love of country stems from an IDEAL. “We hold these truths 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 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…”
English writer G.K. Chesterton famously observed that “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.” (which was/is set out brilliantly and clearly in the Declaration of Independence).
The country that I love holds a great promise for all, no matter where they may be, that all men everywhere are endowed at creation – at birth – with an inalienable right to liberty. In fact, it seems that America’s role in the world is to preserve and to spread, by example and by action, that “sacred fire of Liberty.” I am encouraged by this reality. I am also encouraged at the groundswell of patriotism and the groundswell of activism and protest to defend our Constitution, our precious republic, and our founding values, principles, and institutions. It gives me hope. It is because of our foundational principles and values, not despite them, that America is great in my eyes.
America, for all its faults and its unglorified history, is still the land that I love. I will always love her, I will always praise her, and will always fight for her.
Matthew Spalding, “Why is America Exceptional?”, The Heritage Foundation. Referenced at: https://www.heritage.org/american-founders/report/why-america-exceptional
The Declaration of Independence – https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
The Federalist No. 1 (Alexander Hamilton) – https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed01.asp
“John Winthrop’s Dream of a City on a Hill, 1630,” The American Yawp Reader. Referenced at: https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/colliding-cultures/john-winthrop-dreams-of-a-city-on-a-hill-1630/
Diane Rufino, A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” my blogsite (ForLoveofGodandCountry), January 22, 2021. Referenced at: https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ]
Treaty of Paris (1783) – https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-40-02-0356
George Washington’s Farewell Address – https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.pdf
John Adams’ letter to the Massachusetts militia, October 11, 1789 – https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102 and https://oll.libertyfund.org/quote/john-adams-religion-constitution