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The Man Without a Country

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”  Edward Everett Hale

Ronald Reagan once said at an address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce March 1961  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

I think maybe Reagan was wrong. Extinction is probably a lot shorter than a generation away given today’s advances in communication where lies can be spread at light speed to reach the empty headed. Add to this the current geo-political climate, the economic instabilities of the US and the very real threats of terrorism and you have the threats of the 21st century. The founding fathers could not possibly have imagined or contemplated these threats more than two centuries ago, yet the very principles they set forth in government so long ago are the only reason I believe this country still survives and has not already succumbed to totalitarianism in one form or another. The principles of respect for the individual and his personal property, division of government and specific limitations on the Executive have stood the test of time and allowed generations to live in greater freedom than most others have ever enjoyed on the planet.

Edward Everett Hale April 3,1822- June 10, 1909 was an American author and Unitarian clergyman.

Edward Everett Hale April 3,1822- June 10, 1909 was an American           author, historian, and Unitarian clergyman.  Photo Source: Library of Congress

 

Edward Everett Hale was a 19th century American author, historian and Unitarian clergyman who wrote a story called “The Man Without a Country” first appearing in The Atlantic Monthly in 1863. In the story a lieutenant is found guilty of treason and after proclaiming he never wanted to hear another thing about the US, he is given the unusual sentence of being kept aboard US warships the remainder of his life and never to be permitted to set foot on US soil again and never permitted to learn any more news good or bad about his former country. His guards and no one else are permitted to speak about the country to him ever again. The man after many long years traveling from ship to ship and without a homeland and starved for news of it, learns to love his country but far too late. He becomes so distraught that he laments to a young man just before his death:  “Remember, boy, that behind all these men … behind officers and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to her as you belong to your own mother. Stand by Her, boy, as you would stand by your mother, if those devils there had got hold of her to-day !..”  At the time Hale wrote this our country was deeply divided and fighting for its very survival in the Civil War. Hale was promoting the idea of patriotism and the preservation of the union. The story resonated with many Americans.

Today with so many threats to our lives from outside our borders we fail all too often to see the very real threats that exist from within them. I’m not speaking of terror cells living within the US, greedy Wall Street corporate  raiders, or illegal immigrants for that matter sponging off the rest of us taxpayers. I am talking about all those Americans so eager and willing to just surrender their personal responsibilities and with that their freedom, in exchange for the false promises made by politicians, of greater safety and security. The promises of Big Government never end and neither do the costs to fund them.  We must refuse to allow our fellow Americans to steer us to extinction. For each new burdening regulation and perversion of the Constitution; for each new usurpation of power by the President or the courts we allow for our own good or for extra security and safety; we surrender that which made us different, exceptional, and free. Piece by piece we are creating our own demise by growing this government leviathan until some day we may be the ones looked upon as that traitor and forced to live without a country, telling our children’s children what it was like to live in a free country for they will not know of any and their history books will criticize it as dangerous.

We are fighting to not be that man, our home and way of life is under siege by fools and power hungry men and women. What are you going to do about it?

 

 

 

 

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Ignoring the Constitution

Many of us look at our country today and wonder where the experiment in self-government went wrong. With the President’s approval rating as of an April 2014 Gallup poll of 43% and Congress’s approval rating hovering around 12% to 14%, more and more Americans are feeling disenfranchised and want to blame the Constitution as the source of the problems saying  its outdated, needs changing or should just be eliminated altogether as some die hard socialists and communists advocate. p022814ps-0425 The truth however is not that the Constitution does not work, it’s that all too often it’s just  ignored or bypassed as a matter, the politicians claim, of practicality.  The passing of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is a good example of this bypassing of the founders intent. Art. I, Sec. 7 part 1 of the US Constitution states

“All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”.

Known as the Origination Clause, it basically means that all bills proposed related to taxing the people shall originate in the House of Representatives. The thinking behind this was to create an institutional protection against repressive taxation since members of the House of Representatives faced the shortest terms in office and they would, in theory, be more accountable to the people. The powers of the purse strings were given to the House, however over the years the Senate has taken on this role through a process called gut and replace bypassing the original intent of the Constitution.  The Senate by law can only propose changes or agree to existing house bills related to taxation. Where the perversion of this law takes place is when the Senate takes a House originated bill, guts all of the language out of the bill but keeps the bill number thus staying in compliance with the Origination clause’s technical meaning while rejecting its intent of allowing the body of Congress closest to the people to have control of the purse strings. 800px-United_States_Capitol_west_front_edit2 The Affordable Care Act started out as H.R. 3590 “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act.” It was unanimously passed by the House in 2009 and provided tax cuts and breaks to veterans. The language of the bill upon arrival in the Senate however was completely gutted out and replaced with Senator Harry Reid’s Heath Care bill which included many revenue (taxation) provisions and the health care mandate which the Supreme Court would later rule as a tax. The house bill number was retained in order to stay in compliance with the Origination Clause. The Democrat controlled House rather than object to the revenue bill produced by the Senate which they could have, instead passed it without a single Republican voting for it. On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.  There are numerous cases being heard across the country right now challenging the authority of the Affordable Care Act and among some of the arguments being presented to throw out Obamacare was the manner in which it was passed using gut and replace.  This is but one poignant example of how our Constitution is being perverted and circumnavigated by supposed representatives of the people. cropped-12894585556103.jpg The hard truth is that the country is more divided politically now than it has for many, many decades. We have two major political groups vying for control of the hearts and minds of Americans. The Democrats, who reject many parts of the Constitution in principle and in actions when they are able, and want to make government the sole sovereign in this country. They do not believe that individuals can know what is best for them. They believe only trained experts can properly guide the population and provide happiness. We also have mainstream Republicans who like the principle of limited government when it eliminates burdensome regulation but has no problem using government to eliminate competition and provide them with subsidies  often at the expense of their fellow countrymen.

Democrat Party Symbol

Democrat politicians want to stay in power so they promise to give the people what they desire, “free” stuff, which is not really free, but to the recipients of government charity ie social security, welfare, grants, healthcare, unemployment benefits, etc it appears to be free. They’re not paying for it so it must be free. They ignore the fact that in order for the government to give a person anything, it has to take it from someone else. This class of people think government owes them happiness and must really believe either that government is this separate entity that has endless funds to provide anything its citizens wants, or they must think it is totally appropriate to take from other people’s wealth and redistribute it to less wealthy. Who gets to decide how much is taken and who it’s taken from is left to their “experts” whoever they are. The politicians that represent this class of “American” know that as long as they continue to provide more goodies and protect the existing goodies they will continue to receive votes and be able to stay in power. These Americans will continue to vote for them and vehemently oppose any party or individuals that would threaten to take their goodies away. This I think is also why there has never been a hard push for immigration reform by the Democrat party. As more and more unskilled, poor, and needy people enter this country each year desiring the same “free” stuff the Democrats promise, the more these politicians will have a growing dependent constituency.

Republican Party Symbol

Mainstream Republican politicians also want to stay in power and promise to use government as a tool and provide goodies too. Government can be useful eliminating competition factors making the potential for profit greater. Government can also provide subsidies to certain businesses and industries. It can force foreign governments to open trade opportunities and use our military to ensure they remain open. It can also give tax breaks to certain entities. If mainstream Republicans were truly interested in protecting the Constitution why do they view the Tea Party political grass roots movement, which embodies the founding father’s principles, with such disdain? Could it be that the principles of limited government interfere with their use of government as a tool and source for goodies? I am certain of it. The idea that government was somehow created to provide for its citizens “goodies” is poison to our country and society .  Take a moment to notice the words enshrined in one of our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence. It says our founders believed that people have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.  Note it does not say we guarantee happiness or outcomes, but instead the pursuit of happiness and to be what you want to be free from government prejudices, state religion, and class nobility restrictions. Nowhere does the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution guarantee that people will not go hungry, will have clothing, shelter, TV’s, no competition in business, health insurance, social security, etc… Individual responsibility for your lot in life was left up to you not some benevolent government, single sovereign or the greased palm of a politician.

 

“Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals; that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government; that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen’s protection against the government.” –Ayn Rand

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams, Engraving by C. Goodman & R. Piggot after painting by Copley. [Between 1810 and 1835.] Source: Library of Congress

Samuel Adams, Engraving by C. Goodman & R. Piggot after painting by Copley. [Between 1810 and 1835.] Source: Library of Congress

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” -Samuel Adams

 

One of America’s first rebel rousers and instigator of the American Revolution, Samuel Adams, was a vocal critic of British policy towards the colonies and its taxation specifically. Adams vehemently opposed Britain’s Stamp Act of 1765 and Adams played a vital part in organizing the original Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773.

Samuel Adams, second cousin to John Adams the country’s 2nd President of the USA, was instrumental to the American independence movement. He was a religious man and fervent revolutionary who would go on to be one of the fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence. Adams in his political career served as Massachusetts state legislator; delegate to the Continental Congress, and later after the revolutionary war would become governor of Massachusetts.

 

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”- Samuel Adams

 

 

Five things you can do today to make a difference

One of the best things about living in our country is the 1st amendment and the right to free speech. We can voice our dissent if we are unhappy. With this in mind I have written five ideas that can get you started on the  road to being “involved.” Do it today!

 

1. Contact your legislators. Its sounds so simple and it is. If they do not hear from you and their other constituents they will assume they are doing things right. Remember they have huge ego’s.  Think of something that gets your really angry or irritated about government. Chances are that won’t be hard to do. Find one that really stirs you up and then tell them about it. Call them up or easier still email them.

Contact your legislators

Contact your legislators

 

2. Join a local political grass roots organization that is interested in the same things you are. Their are thousands of organizations that support the same issues as you. Find one and join.

3. Educate yourself. This is probably the most important one. To fully understand the issue is the first step towards fixing it. The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution are good places to start if you haven’t already read them. They are relatively short compared to say the new Affordable Care Act language. There are plenty of good places to find a copy and read them on-line or at your local library. Do it, you’ll be glad you did. Knowledge is power.

Educate yourself

Educate yourself

4. Create a blog. They’re easy to do with plenty of free ones out there with tutorials. Put your ideas on paper then transfer them to the computer then tell your friends to come check it out, and repeat. You can even leave out the paper part. Everybody has got something to say, and now more than ever, so take advantage of technology and share your thoughts with the world.

Blog,blog,blog…

 

5, Lastly teach your family what you learned today or if you have no family share it with a friend or co-worker. Encourage them to take the same five steps you did.

 

The changes we have seen in our government over the years did not happen overnight. They won’t be fixed over night either. Making a course correction takes time and it starts with you and those around you. Make a difference and get started today!

 

 

 

…Truth, Justice, and the American Way

 

 

Feeding the Unemployed.  Men at a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C., 1936. U.S. Federal Government photograph. Public domain.

Feeding the Unemployed. Men at a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C., 1936. U.S. Federal Government photograph. Public domain.

The time was June 1938. America was still reeling from years of economic calamity brought on by the Great Depression. War was also in the wind. The beginnings of the darkness that would soon spread across multiple continents and cost millions their lives had already fully metastasized in Europe and far off places like Nanking, China. America’s hope of staying out of a second world conflict looked very grim.

Against this back drop two Jewish immigrants living in blue collar Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, struggling to make ends meet and dreaming of using their talents someday, stumble upon an idea for a comic book serial. Siegel is later credited with saying that one night while looking up at the stars he imagined a powerful hero that looked out for those in trouble. A savior if you will. From that germ, the idea of Superman was born and in June 1938 was introduced to the American public, a public desperate for heroes and someone or something to look out for them.

Superman

Superman

 

To Siegel and Shuster both left leaning immigrants, Superman in early serial comic editions took on the role as social activist fighting against business corruption and dirty politicians. The character would later see greater notoriety not in comic books, but in radio broadcasts. By the 1940’s and 1950’s Superman began personifying the ideal American: quiet, humble, mild mannered, but with strong fortitude and desirable character traits like being truthful and just. It also didn’t hurt that he could fly and was virtually invincible.

Through the decades Superman’s mantra would change little. His beliefs in truth, justice, and tolerance could easily have been said to be the ideal “American Way.” An America where people do what’s morally right, believe in a system of laws that are just and not arbitrary, and are tolerant of all races and cultures.

Maybe that America never really existed, but it is a hopeful vision. Today as they did in Siegel and Shuster’s time, people look to government as the answer to all their problems. Back then it was Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Today President Obama could easily be identified by some as the personification of the superhero in red cape, who promises to stamp out injustice and corruption, intolerance, feeds the poor and provides for the uninsured. Superman was fiction then and is fiction now.

America needs it heroes, but perhaps instead of new heroes dressed in business suits, making speeches, and promising the stars, we just need to look further back in time. Maybe we need to try and reconnect to an older group of heroes than Superman. We need to look to the lives and lessons learned from super men who founded this country more than 200 years ago, or better still one Superman who was hung on a cross more than 2000 years ago and came back from the dead.

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