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Reclaiming America

By Jeff Erding

Fri, Aug 8th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

While considering a topic for this month’s submission, I made the wise decision to consult my “better half”.

Cindy always has a knack for bringing me back to reality.

You are too much of a “Debbie Downer” she said. “ It’s not like you to always be so critical and negative. You need to lighten up or you’re going to turn people off and they’ll quit reading your articles.”

Correct as always. She’s absolutely right. I am, by nature, a cheerful person with much to be grateful for. I enjoy good health and have the means and capacity to enjoy life to the fullest. So what’s the problem? Why do my submissions carry such a negative tone? Why is it so difficult to write about something positive and upbeat for a change?

Why? Because I’m worried. And I’m scared.

I’m worried because I see the core values that built America slipping away. Values like plain decency, hard work, generosity, mutual respect, honesty, stewardship, fiscal responsibility, and kindness. Everywhere I look, these precious values are being replaced by a political culture and ideology that mocks and despises the beliefs of our Judeo/Christian heritage and seeks instead to worship at the altar of “Diversity” and “Tolerance.” The only people who are not to receive the protection of tolerance and respect are conservative Christians.

I’m scared because I fear for a generation of our children growing up in a culture in which the law has become a club with which to bludgeon ordinary, law abiding citizens into submission. What are our young people to think when good, decent Americans are abused by the highest powers of government for organizing into groups that want nothing more than fair taxes and a balanced budget? How are they to grow up feeling good about a system that rewards indolence and disrespect for work ethic while seeking to penalize those who are thrifty and hard working? How are they to have faith in the law when the law is enforced unequally, unfairly, and at the whim of political elites? When the occupant of the most important office in the world is deliberately dishonest on multiple occasions and is not held accountable?

I think often of the hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who gladly, even eagerly, volunteered to serve in military conflicts to preserve the American dream. A very large percentage of recruits on the Union side during the Civil War were foreign born, but they were willing to fight and die to preserve something more precious to them than life itself; the chance to live in a country where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was the law of the land. They had been serfs and indentured servants. They had watched their loved ones die, victims of tyrannical rulers who starved them, deprived them of arms, evicted them from their land, and denied them even the most basic human rights. They saw in the American experiment something more important than themselves. So much more important they were willing to sacrifice, suffer deprivations we find hard to imagine, and if necessary die to preserve it.

When I think of all those noble souls who fought, sacrificed, and died through all of our history, I hope they have found rest in a heaven that mercifully does not permit them to see how we, with our modern, enlightened ideology, have perverted and squandered the liberties and freedoms they gave so much to preserve. My own father spent nearly six years on a Navy Destroyer in the Pacific during WWII. During that extended deployment he, like many of his shipmates, never got home. When at last he returned home in 1946, he was greeted tearfully by a young women whom he failed to recognize. It was his youngest sister, who had been a 6th grader when he last saw her in April of 1940. Knowing he was stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in 1941, no one in the family ever expected to see him again. I hope he cannot see the degraded condition of the America he and his many patriot comrades sacrificed to save.

Can we reclaim the America that once was a beacon of hope and moral virtue to the world? Will we hold our leaders accountable and demand that they live by the terms of the oath of office they swore to uphold? That they obey the Constitution and enforce the law of the land equally, completely, and fairly even though they may not agree with all of the terms and conditions thereof?

Will we learn the hard lesson the last six years should have taught us; that competence, experience, ability, and personal integrity are always more important considerations than political ideology? What I earnestly hope we have learned is that a capable, honest, experienced person is always the better choice because when the chips are down, that type of person will make a decision based on what is best for America and the honest, law abiding citizens instead of strictly acting based on an inflexible ideology. We need to elect people that will police the ranks of their own party, not defend them no matter what abuses they perpetrate.

In closing, I wish to share a quote from the Honorable Dean Alfrange, an American statesman who graduated from Hamilton College in 1922. It has been printed in many publications over the years and I came upon it recently at (Mr. Ramsey is one of my favorite people)


I Do Not Choose To Be a Common Man

It is my right to be uncommon… if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will NOT trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations and face the world boldly and say, “ This I have done.”

In this quote, Mr. Alfrange has perfectly described for us the true spirit of the American Dream. May God is his mercy grant American voters the wisdom and insight to reclaim the heritage and precious values that are so close to slipping away forever. Until next time, Jeff.

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