Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Thoughts On Being A Patriot

Two Hundred and thirty one years ago, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. In doing so, Jefferson, as well as the other signatories of that document, placed their lives in danger. They were traitors to the crown of England, and the first American Patriots. These men were willing to give up their lives for the beliefs that are so eloquently stated in the opening of that Declaration,

"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."

A true patriot is not afraid to speak out against injustice and governmental abuses of power. They do not fear the isolation that their calling places upon them. They are much like John the Baptist, as the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. As Mark Twain once said, “In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” Patriots understand, and accept, the sacrifice that comes with their love of country. As Nathan Hale said before being hanged by the British, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who openly admits to being unpatriotic. It is a banner, especially in post 911 time, that no one wishes to wear openly. However, saying a thing does not make it so. How goes the old saying, 'put your money where your mouth is'.

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas made the following comments what it means to be a patriot.

"The original American Patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power."

"The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state."

Let me repeat that last sentence, 'He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.' To be a true patriot one must not be fearful of condemnation, imprisonment, or even death for the principles which he holds dear. How many self proclaimed patriots would be willing to fight for their beliefs?

Our nation has come a long, long way, from being subservient to the English to becoming a beacon of freedom, liberty and unlimited opportunity. Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”

That quote is just as applicable today as it was when Jefferson first said it. Americans take for granted the blessings and liberties they have. Unfortunately those blessings are slowly being taken from us by a government that has ceased to govern according to its constitutional mandate.

Alexander Tyler once described the course all democracies take. He said they go “From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.”

Today we are in the very last stages of that cycle. We have become apathetic when it comes to the political process. When most of the people do not take the time to follow the laws being passed, to write a letter or place a call to their elected officials, we are apathetic.

We are also seriously dependent upon our government for far too many things that are outside the bounds of their constitutional duties and powers. Government subsidies exist for almost every conceivable circumstance, all paid for by our tax dollars.

Three quotes by Thomas Jefferson clearly show that this dependency is not only unconstitutional, it is tyrannical.

“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.' For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.”

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.“

With all these government subsidies that are paid for by tax dollars, we now find ourselves voting for the candidate who promises us the most in benefits. Self reliance and personal integrity are quickly becoming things of the past. We no longer seek a candidate for office who has the courage to say that it is not the governments job to hold our hand and support us with tax funded subsidies. Our founding fathers must be rolling in their graves at what we have allowed to happen to this country.

John Quincy Adams once said, "Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

Our constitution sets clearly defined limits upon what powers the government has, and what restrictions are place upon it. No longer does either political party adhere to governing according to the constitution.

We rely upon government for far too much. With that dependence, comes a price. Our country is on a perilous course. We have lost our understanding of what it means to be an American, and to be a patriot. Under the guise of a war on terror, legislation has been passed and executive orders have been signed that give our president unlimited power that goes well beyond his constitutional authority. Our system of government no longer represents ‘we the people’. Our voices are no longer heard or listened to by our representatives.

General Douglas MacArthur once said that “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” The American people have not been vigilant. Our lives are filled with the trivial pursuit of enjoyment. We seek to acquire toys to play with during our spare time or we sit in front of an endless stream of mind numbing television shows. It is no longer of any importance to us to closely watch our government, to make sure they are not violating our personal liberties by their actions. They have forgotten the words of Ulysses S. Grant, “Our great modern Republic. May those who seek the blessings of its institutions and the protection of its flag remember the obligations they impose.”

Thomas Jefferson stated that ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.’ Jefferson was not talking about blood spilt on foreign soil in the ‘so called’ defense of our country. He was speaking of people who were willing to give up their lives for the defense of the principles he spoke of in the Declaration of Independence when he said, “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.”

The Declaration of Independence goes on to say, “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.”

Many people in this country believe that our government has gone too far in its usurpation of power. They believe it is time, as Abraham Lincoln said, “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.” We are close to that straw that breaks the camels back. The patience of the people in this country who truly understand what powers our constitution grants this government, and who are fed up with said government overstepping their authority, is wearing thin.

So my question to you, people of the United States, are there any patriots left in this country? Are there enough of us left who love this country and what it stands for, who are willing to go against the current politically correct attitudes and speak out for government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’?

Are there any Americans left who would have the courage to stand in the streets and proclaim, as Patrick Henry once did, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”


The Zombieslayer said...

Nice piece. I'll be sure to steal parts. But I'll give you credit, of course.

neal said...

Cut and paste away, just don't steal anything. It might sound stupid if you stole the important parts.