After the 2012 election, I chose to take a deep breath. I was disheartened by the choices my fellow citizens had made. I was discouraged because those choices would undoubtedly lead to further inroads in the rights guaranteed to us in our founding documents. I was dismayed by an autumn filled with examples of federal officials choosing to ignore or circumvent the Constitution. I asked myself the question that you might also have pondered: what could I, just a single citizen, do to help restore the constitutional republic which had been crafted for us by our founders. As I sat back and observed discussions in the media and amongst those around me, my path forward became clear. I must combat the negative messages about our country that are continually spoon-fed to citizens young and old by a variety of sources.
Consider how often you hear the following messages about the United States of America:
Its founders were flawed individuals, and its founding documents are antiquated or no longer relevant.
Its past is filled with atrocities towards the indigenous population, its own citizens, and people living in other counties.
It is rife with discrimination, corruption, and other problems which can be better dealt with by a strong federal government than the states, local governments, or individual citizens.
It is not a great nation, just one nation amongst many, and it is time to relinquish its sovereignty to a larger world order.
It is a country not worthy of pride or patriotic feelings. Patriotism is simpleminded and even dangerous. It has no place in our schools, and students should study concepts such as multiculturalism rather than learning about their collective heritage and identity.
If you have not heard those messages, consider the following examples:
Instead of grasping that the governmental structure and individual rights given to us in the Constitution is what protects us from tyranny, a commentator recently referred to it is as “your little book” and a Georgetown law professor suggested that we should “Give up on the Constitution… with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”
Instead of celebrating our national heritage, the federal holidays of Thanksgiving and Columbus Day continued to be minimized and demeaned. Thanksgiving celebrations in schools were downplayed or vanished altogether. In California, proposed legislation (AB 55) would rename Columbus Day as Native American Day. The legislation would also reinstate a paid vacation day for state workers even though California’s economic forecast is bleak.
Instead of investigating governmental waste and corruption, documenting the impact of stifling regulations, or applauding an individual’s right to labor freely as more states pass right-to-work legislation, the majority of the media seemed intent on ignoring scandalous behavior within the federal government, negative economic data, and violent outbursts by union members. How much time was spent following inconsequential crises du jour, promoting hysteria over the “Fiscal Cliff”, and taking seeming delight in degrading our founding principles and documents?
Instead of creating opportunities for economic growth, elected representatives (and their minions) heaped new regulations, legislation, and taxes on citizens who were already struggling in our sluggish economy. The federal government continued to expand, and the national debt soared to over 16 trillion dollars!
Instead of seeking to strengthen the sovereignty of the United States of America, the Administration advocated passage of treaties such as the Law of the Sea Treaty and the United Nation’s Small Arms Treaty.
Instead of teaching children that the colonists’ anger over taxation without representation led to the Boston Tea Party, a lesson plan offered by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative questioned whether the event was actually an act of terrorism.
I could go on and on, but negative messages about our country flow freely from institutionalized sources all around us. Sources, which I might add, have been empowered by the support of We the People. Our media fans the flames of conflict between us. Our schools often emphasize individual differences and past atrocities, while minimizing our collective identity and national achievements. The three branches of our federal government race to transform our country into a socialist quagmire of mediocrity instead of a constitutional republic overflowing with individual achievement. The consequence of this relentless drumbeat is clear: we celebrate our founding principles, our collective heritage, and the amazing accomplishments of our fellow citizens far less than in the past. We, as citizens, have become apathetic as evidenced by the large number of voters who stayed home in November, let alone the millions of citizens who do not bother to register to vote at all.
Well I, for one, have had enough of traveling down that road! America is an exceptional place filled with amazing individuals. Americans have sought to eliminate once commonplace institutional inequalities. America is a country filled with phenomenal landscapes and bountiful natural resources. Americans have created inventions that would not have been dreamed possible just 20 years ago. America has been the friend of fledgling democracies around the world, and Americans have reached out to help both their fellow citizens and others across the globe. America is the place where anyone has the opportunity to achieve anything with sufficient hard work and persistence. It is time to start reminding ourselves, and our fellow citizens, that there are things to celebrate about our country, our common heritage, and the principles upon which it was founded. In particular, it is up to each one of us to teach our children about what is right with our country. We cannot assume they will learn such things at school or through the media. That is the road that I plan to travel from this day forward. I will ask myself each day, “What can I do today to send a positive message about America, its past, its principles, and the common heritage of its citizens?”
As you read this, you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with me?” Does she expect me to become a flag waving Pollyanna who sees nothing wrong with our country? How can I ignore the problems that do exist in America, the potential collapse of our economy, and our elected officials’ seemingly willful disregard for the Constitution? Is she suggesting that I remain silent when I think my voice should be heard? Of course not! These are difficult times for our country. We must address our souring debt. We must fight to restore our country to the Constitutional Republic that the Founding Fathers intended.
Yet, I think it is important that each one of us takes a moment every day to ponder why we engage in this fight. Our country is an amazing place filled with exceptional individuals. We must reflect on the positive aspects of our country and its founding, the historic achievements of fellow citizens, and ways in which it is possible to strengthen our national identity. Most importantly, we must pass this information onto our children. There is so much to celebrate, and so much for which to be thankful! Join me in the celebration just for a brief moment each day! Won’t you?