We Surround Them

Not long ago, I was introduced by a friend to Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project which is, in his own words, "designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001.”

“The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created."

I read the nine principles, distilled from the 28 founding principles of America described in the book "The 5000 Year Leap," and 12 values of the 9/12 project and thought to myself, "This is what I believe."

A patriot named Jacob Roecker came up with the idea of making the 9/12 principles and values into a pledge that candidates would be asked to sign, thereby committing themselves to upholding its contents in the exercise of their public duties should they be elected. I signed the pledge immediately and put a banner on my blog to show my support for Jacob's efforts.

He has asked each of the candidates to present their 9/12 platform as a confirmation of what the principles and values mean to them. I hope this gives you some insight into what I believe and why I am arming myself for battle in 2010.

Glenn Beck encourages us by saying the liberal elites who disrespect our nation’s founding principles are not the majority:

“Do you watch the direction that America is being taken in and feel powerless to stop it?

“Do you believe that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard above the noise anymore?

“Do you read the headlines everyday and feel an empty pit in your stomach…as if you’re completely alone?

“If so, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie. While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides—the reality is very different. Once you pull the curtain away you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all.

“We surround them.”

The 9/12 Principles

America Is Good.

In recent decades, it's become fashionable to find fault with America and reject her unique place in world history. Our current president is the personification of this fault-finding. Every atrocity committed against us or others is offset by some sin America committed to prompt the initial atrocity. American exceptionalism is denied in the name of "world citizenship."

To quote Newt Gingrich at the recent Maryland Red, White and Blue dinner, "I am not a citizen of the world. I am a citizen of the United States of America." We are not a perfect nation, but there is no other nation on earth where people can worship their God with abandon and without fear, where the central founding principle is the dignity and worth of each individual, and where the practice of personal and economic liberty has unleashed a flood of unprecedented wealth that makes even our poor the envy of millions around the world.

We are a magnet and a beacon to people around the globe, not because we are like everyone else but because we are unlike anyone else. I have always been proud of my country, I was honored to serve and represent her as an officer in our armed forces, and the identity politics I choose to practice labels me an American and a patriot.

I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

What we put first in our lives governs everything that comes after it - our thoughts, our words, our deeds, the way we interact with and make sense of the world. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and made him the Lord of my life, so he is first, last and everything to me.

I know that's not a popular stand to take these days and some might even consider me intellectually or mentally deficient as a result. I'm fine with that because I allowed my mind and heart to be open to the evidence that Christ is who He said He is, and He revealed Himself to me. No one can take that away from me. He gives me peace and purpose in this life and eternity with Him in the next.

That said, people of other faiths and non-believers have nothing to fear from me or any of my fellow Christians for that matter. From the beginning, our God was and is a God of liberty; we are free to accept or reject Him for He wants our love for Him to be genuine, not programmed or coerced. Christians honor and defend our liberty because it has allowed our faith to thrive in America unlike any other place on earth. I believe other faiths would agree that America is a haven for them as well.

I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Today's citizen is justifiably cynical about politicians and their honesty. The years I've lived prior to my first run for public office have shown me the value of authenticity and, no matter what else is said of me, I hope people will say that I'm real, that there is no pretense about me. Authenticity requires less energy to maintain because it’s who you are, not who you pretend to be.

The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

The trilateral construct of the family - mother, father and children - is the foundation of civilization. While I will always have compassion for those who, through no fault of their own, do not enjoy the benefits of having both parents in the home, I will defend the family against deliberate efforts by government or society to undermine its authority and viability.

I am empowered to make the choices for my family, especially my children, and the state will not raise them nor teach them the selfish, hedonistic, and rudderless so-called values so prevalent today. That is a task assigned to me by God and I take it seriously when government tries to interfere with my familial duties.

If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Leviticus 19:15 says, "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly." I believe in justice that places the rule of law above mob rule, the tyranny of the majority, or favoritism toward or bias against a particular group of people because of who they are or their station in life. The rule of law is fundamental to our system of government because it is what ensures the minority in our country of equal protection.

I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

There is no liberty without life, and the pursuit, not the guarantee of happiness, is the reward of liberty. That means I will defend life at all its stages so every human being has a shot at living in liberty and pursuing their dreams.

Family, faith, charity, commerce and community exist to support our pursuit of happiness and also to help us when we fall to get back up again. Government should confine itself to national security, public safety, public infrastructure and the administration of justice. If it did only a few things but did those well, we would be a better and freer nation for it.

Life was never meant to be without failure or adversity, for it is in failure that we learn and grow stronger, and in adversity that we learn the value of community. The heavy hand of government and its insistence on equal outcomes disrupts the natural process of maturity, sentencing us to childlike dependence and mediocrity born of a lack of motivation or incentive.

If I am beholden to someone else for my well-being, I no longer have liberty and that makes me a slave. I refuse to exchange my liberty for security because even security can be taken away once I'm at the mercy of someone else.

I work hard for what I have and I will share it with whom I please. Government cannot force me to be charitable through complicated schemes for distribution of wealth.

Studies consistently show that we conservatives are exceedingly generous compared to our liberal counterparts who fully believe charity should be forced upon us by government. They accuse us of being greedy for wanting to keep more of our own money but the facts are 1) it's ours in the first place, not the government's and 2) we understand the value of charity and community in a free society and give more of our time, talent and treasure to worthy causes than anyone else in the world.

Besides, private charity is more effective, efficient and compassionate at the point of individual need than a bureaucratic, inefficient government for which charity is an inappropriate function and one for which it is ill-designed.

The fact we choose the causes that are deserving of our gifts, and that those choices might not be someone else's, is yet another benefit and consequence of liberty. Perhaps if liberals gave to the causes they believed in rather than demanding government extortion of their fellow citizens, they might find more personal satisfaction and their causes might actually thrive.

It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinions.

Liberals are taking hypocrisy to new heights by attacking us for our criticism of President Obama. “We’re not giving him a chance to prove himself,” the narrative goes, “particularly given the mess of the past eight years he inherited.” It’s the tail end of that comment that illustrates their audacity.

The left has been screeching with veins bulging from their necks about President Bush since the Supreme Court halted the recount in Florida, and the terror attacks of 9/11 gave him only a temporary respite from their vitriolic attacks. They can’t even let go now that he’s gone; everything they’re dealing with was “inherited.” Give it a rest, OK? Every President inherits the workload of his predecessor, the good and the bad.

Besides, this President has spent more in the early part of his term that any President in history and is projected to add a breathtaking $9 trillion to the debt. All the previous administrations combined contributed over $11 billion to the debt so he is destined to be the single biggest spender ever to roam the White House by several orders of magnitude.

He is dictating industrial policy, firing CEOs and determining executive pay, and taking ownership of our auto industry and financial institutions. He is rewarding the unions with the remains of the auto companies they helped run into the ground. He is using government to sanction the killing of unborn children worldwide. He is pushing hate crimes legislation to create a protected class of people based solely on sexual orientation, making them “more equal” than others. He is traveling the world apologizing for America while the blood of her children cries out from the soil of Europe, Japan, Iraq and other nations we’ve saved from tyranny and placed on the road to liberty and prosperity.

And we’re supposed to keep quiet? I don’t think so. Disagreement with authority is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and protected in the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. You will have to pry the microphone out of my cold, dead hands before you take away my right to express myself freely.

The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Our elected officials look down on us and that’s backwards. They depend on us for their livelihood and influence and I will not tolerate them treating me or my fellow citizens like serfs. Government is our servant, not our master, and it’s time for us to push back and assert our authority over those we grant the privilege to govern.

12 Values

Honesty – Be true to yourself and others. Say you don’t know if you don’t know. Don’t tap dance.

Reverence – Love God, love your neighbor as yourself, and see the divinity in both. Show devotion to your country and its ideals.

Hope – Policy must always appeal to our innate optimism and can-do spirit, not our fears. Too many of us are cynically manipulated to look at the past and present with bitterness rather than to the future with hope.

Thrift – Spend no more than you take in, spend wisely and monitor for predetermined outcomes that deliver the most good for the most people. Kill programs that do not work. Protect the taxpayer and let him and her keep as much of their hard-earned family funds as possible.

Humility – I am a servant of the people. I will show them the utmost respect and deference and will not succumb to the temptation to behave like a pompous jerk just because I have a title.

Charity – The secret to a life well lived is not to hoard its blessings for yourself but to pour them out onto others. God will continue to bless you as you bless others. Be generous with your own money, but stingy with the taxpayer’s money.

Sincerity – Be authentic and always approachable.

Moderation – Conservatism is, at its heart, prudence and restraint over impulse and emotion. Go slow – every policy you enact has unintended consequences and an impact on real lives.

Hard Work – A campaign is an extended job interview and an election is the offer letter extended to the best interviewee. Don’t be a bust on the job. Give the people your best so you can leave office knowing you left it all on the field.

Courage – Courage is being afraid and pressing ahead anyway. Don’t let fear of reprisals or being disliked keep you from doing the right thing.

Personal Responsibility – Liberty isn’t possible without self-government, and self-government isn’t possible without continuous learning, situational awareness and active involvement in your community and the affairs of state. My responsibility is not only to my liberty, but to the liberty of others.

Gratitude – We can’t change the past, nor can we predict the future. We have the miracle of the moment and we should be thankful we are alive because it means God still has something great for us to do for Him today. We should be about His business.