Sunday, March 9, 2008

America is Great because America is Good

I believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

A few years ago I went to the United States Capital building to visit an old friend. It was wonderful to get a private tour of the meeting halls, sanctuaries and rooms in which inspired men and women throughout the history of America have worked tirelessly to enact erudite laws and uphold the Constitution for the benefit of the people.

Ever since my seventh grade German language teacher ran for State Congress and was elected, I had in my heart a desire to do great things for the benefit of the public and community and nation. Without a doubt that is one of the reasons I joined the military many years ago. To me, putting my hand over my heart and repeating the inspired words of the Pledge of Allegiance has choked me up since the earliest time I can remember -- in the second grade class of my elementary school with my wonderful public school teacher, Mrs. Talbot. I thank God that we were able to stand with our hands over our hearts, and look upon Old Glory with reverence and awe as we spoke those inspiring words in unison:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In recent years I have become distraught at those would would make a mockery of all lovers of liberty and admirers of American foundations of freedoms. A movement to usurp the foundations upon which our great nation was built has embarked and reared its ugly head. There are those who seek to change the wording of our national pledge. There are those who feel flag burning is fine. There are those who say irreligion should replace time-honored political practices, like praying before meetings or removing the phrase "In God we trust" from our currency.

To those I say, walk the pathway along American history with me. See and experience the unique treasures of our national heritage, for that is what makes America great. Study the Federalist Papers, review the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Read the Bible.

The strength of a nation lies in its families; it lies in the individuals willing to do good and be good, and to uphold the laws of our civil society. The power of a nation lies in the churches that cross the land; it lies in the family who eats dinner together around a table at night and who pray before partaking of their meal.

The greatness of our nation is found in those who struggle for just causes -- the single mother who goes to work each day and struggles to pay her childcare, or the immigrant who is legally granted a work visa and endeavors in entrepreneurialism.

Our country is great because our country is good.

But I wonder sometimes how it is that so many elected officials have acted contrary to the will of the people and to the respectable laws and cultural positions that we treasure and hold dear. I rue seeing so many of our elected leaders falling short of goodness. Those who make and create the laws must be of good judgment and sound moral character. They must not let anyone or anything stop their responsibility to uphold the life-long values and ethics that have made America what she is today.

The U.S. Constitution is a sacred and inspired document, as is the cherished and immortal Declaration of Independence written and signed by the hand of John Hancock on July 4, 1776, which reads, in part:

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.

Such a pledge would take a great toll on the part of its signers. Many lost their lives in war. Some lost their sons to battle and carnage. Others had their homes ransacked and burned, but they still honored and cherished the Declaration.

If Americans and those who live on American soil will show respect and deference to our laws and way of life, we could prosper and develop, and indeed live a life of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness without the fear of anarchy and terror. Peace and harmony would reign.

In such a pursuit we must never be xenophobic; we must not shelter ourselves in our communities nor think that we are better than others throughout the world.

An astronaut, and the captain of two space shuttle missions once told a small group of us that America even looks better from space. I believe that. America is great because Americans are good, humble and yet grateful.

I wish I had the reference with me so I could share the words of Ronald Reagan when he was Governor of California. He spoke eloquently and powerfully of pride, the great destructive force of all great nations and empires. He spoke of the ills in society, the abuse of powers, the twisting of unacceptable social norms, a permanent doll that crippled the people. He spoke of the pride and fall of the Roman Empire and the things which led up to it.

Men would do all they could to run away from the call of arms to the duty of their country. Manhood and roles of man were replaced; many men began dressing up like ladies and vice versa. Traditional marriage was attacked. Sexual deviance and 'free love' became the norm. There was greater violence in their society and their sports were more violent as well. The people began to thirst for blood. And all of these things became culturally acceptable.

While the then-Governor Reagan spoke in the Vietnam era, those lessons of the fall of once reputable societies and people still hold as true today as they did during the collapse of the Roman Empire.

We have similar issues today. In this election year my hope is that we can choose Representatives who truly understand threat -- not just the threat of rogue nations, crime and terror, but the threats and attacks so readily seen upon our traditional values, the family and the heritage of the nation that we love, and the freedoms that we espouse.

It is my hope that the majority of the people -- whom I believe to be decent, good, hardworking citizens -- will have their voices be heard and choose elected officials who will represent their rights and do all in their power to make America better for all of us...because America and Americans are still good.

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