This is the 51st Independence Day celebration in my lifetime and, as I watched the fireworks over the Chesapeake Bay from a friend’s house, I found myself wondering how many more of these we will celebrate as the United States of America.
It has been my great honor over the past few years to be part of a grass-roots movement that took the nation by surprise, and has revived our institutional memory of what it truly means to be American. Long-forgotten words like liberty, faith and family are being spoken from lecterns at outdoor rallies, public libraries, churches, exhibition halls, gymnasiums or wherever Tea Party groups gather.
I have been invited to and welcomed with open arms to these gatherings, and I have broken bread and had meaningful fellowship with people all over the country who are bound by their devotion to the American ideal as it once existed. I have been blessed by their hospitality as they have opened their homes to me, given me a place to rest, and fed me from their bounty before I went on my way to the next destination.
And yet, I feel despair, and I feel anger.
I read about people who have been kissed by fame, and have used their blessing to disparage the people who have shown me such kindness. I read of Janeane Garofalo and Keith Olbermann, still professing to know the hearts of tens of millions of people they’ve neither met nor bothered to meet, with Garofalo declaring:
I do not enjoy when people don’t like me … I would prefer to be well liked in any and all situations. And I also feel it’s quite unjust to be punished for calling racism “racism.”
No, Ms. Garofalo, the injustice is finding people who are NOT racists guilty of racism, and THAT is why people don’t like you. I have been overwhelmed by the love of white strangers who cared not about the color of my skin, but that I shared the same ideals they did. They honor my service to my country, in which I proudly wore the uniform here and abroad to defend your liberty, and that of your self-important media friend, to say utterly indefensible and evil things about good, decent people.
How. dare. you.
I watch my president who, by the nature of the position to which we have elevated him, should be a statesman and a leader in this time of great crisis. Many of the men who preceded him summoned in troubled times a strength of spirit and a commitment to unity that brought the nation together to meet its greatest challenges.
Not so the campaigner-in-chief occupying the White House.
He stirs the pot of covetousness and envy, blaming people who have worked hard to make a living, and been successful at it, for all the ills those who suffer are facing. He paints a stark picture of corporate fat cats versus starving children and sick seniors to justify the same failed prescriptions for our economy, yet it is a false choice. What’s worse, he knows it. He knows that every dollar earned is not a dollar taken from someone else, and that capitalism, when allowed to flourish, creates more dollars to go around for everyone.
If he doesn’t, and he truly believes the rhetoric he is spouting, then he is a dangerous man who must not be handed the reins of power again.
Despite the fact he is the president of all the people, he has deemed some to be unworthy of the fruits of their labors. By proposing the use of the coercive power of government to seize whatever portion of those fruits he deems necessary, he has reduced the producers of this nation to mere property. If you own the fruits of their labor, you own their labor, and therefore you own them.
I thought the question of who owns a man’s labor was put to rest with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
And he won’t stop there. He is determined to win reelection, even if it means pitting blacks against whites, Hispanics against whites, gays against straights, or whatever coalition he needs to push back against the tide of disillusionment from those voters who expected so much more of him than his character apparently allows him to deliver.
Across the country, God is demonized and disparaged as the wellspring of intolerance, because man cannot accept that God doesn’t think or act as he does. We presume that we, the created, are more enlightened than the Creator, and so we overturn everything that doesn’t conform to our will.
It’s our kingdom come, our will be done.
John Adams was unequivocal when he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
He was not advocating a national religion, but rather a common sense of humility and awe at the beauty, vastness and order of the universe, and the magnitude of the One who created such magnificence.
Instead, we presume to tell God what He should really believe or how He should really feel. The foolishness of such thinking should be readily apparent:
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? ~ Romans 9:20-21
Why is humility toward God and the subservience of our will to His important to America? Because, as Adams stated, we must have the values to govern ourselves if the system of limited government they created in our Constitution is to work.
Even if one doesn’t believe in God, there still must be an inviolable set of virtues and standards to which one submits. Without them, our individual desires, regardless of what they are, become “rights,” and conflict is inevitable.
This is why I wonder how many more July 4th celebrations we have left as the United States of America. We are not united, and we cannot come together even in a time of great peril.
Our leaders are either the instigators of this divisiveness, or they are too timid to push back against it.
People with the fame and influence to bring us together are insistent on tearing us apart. They mock and insult people who don’t agree with them, and the truth is irrelevant to their rants.
God is being told He’s out of step with the times, and needs to make way so the loud, arrogant and audacious creation He called man can do whatever he wants.
So this is how it’s going to go down. Nothing is going to be done to handle the approaching tsunami of debt. Nothing is going to be done to reduce the size of government or its intrusion into our lives. Nothing is going to be done to respect liberty, faith and family.
One party doesn’t want to do anything about it, so they deny there’s a problem, or think that taking more money from people is the answer.
The other party doesn’t have the guts to fight them because they are more concerned with people taking offense than they are with saving the nation from itself.
As a result, we’re going off a cliff, and we’re going to crash.
Those who understand that the best government in America is self-government will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and figure out how to make a way for themselves and their families. They’ll raise their own food, take care of themselves and their neighbors through the bartering of goods and services, and arm themselves to provide for their own security.
Those who don’t understand this, or who have never had to fend for themselves, will flail about in frustration because the promise of government always being there for them was a lie and, like the victims of Hurricane Katrina, they will wait for someone to come and rescue them rather than saving themselves.
Ultimately, what will it take to see more Independence Day celebrations? I have one answer:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14