20 January 2009

On this day

My fellow Americans, Regardless of how you see it, today is a significantly historic day. We children of the 80's have seen (and many remember) pehaps a record number of historic events in our lifetime, including: The Challenger explosion and America's return to space, the healing of a divided nation (Germany), the world rising up to defend a helpless nation (Gulf War), the fall of one of the mightiest empires the world has ever known (The Soviet Union), the second ever President to be impeached (Bill CLinton), the worst domestic terrorism in our history (Oklahoma City), A frontline US Warship attacked and nearly sunk by an enemy in peacetime (USS Cole), the turning of a new milenium, the worst terrorist attack in history (9/11), and the fall of one of historie's worst dictators (Sadaam Hussein). We have also seen the rise in technology and popularity of CD's, DVD's, the Internet, cell phones, Global Positioning, home computers, SUV's, and countless other major inovations. Right now we are fighting at least two wars, have the worst financial crisis since the 1930's, are hated the world over, have sky high unemployment, are divided on several major political issues, have an astronomical national debt, most of our production is done overseas, and now the President is a Democrat for the first time in eight years. Oh, and by the way, he's also a black man. I know the internet now is full of articles and opinions about everything for and against concerning everything about our new President. Not the least of what is covered is his race. People have compared him to Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and a host of others. I couldn't care less what his race is. I can think of plenty of Black people that I would rather have as President than a large number of white people I can think of. But this is not my reason for writing today. Regardless of what happens in the next four years, today is monumental. And the next four years are gauranteed to be just as eventful as the last several have been. That is why more than ever, all of us as Americans must look at our history. We must look at who we are, and what we trully believe. For the last couple decades the government, both Democrat and Republican, has run rampant with all kinds of powers and abuses that have the Founding Fathers rolling in their graves so fast they could light a fire. Why are they important, do you ask? Didn't they live over 200 years ago? I ask you this: How many peole follow the Ten Commandments? Those were written many, many years before there was even an England, let alone United States. Look at what the founding fathers wrote:
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among those are LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. That to secure these rights, GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED AMONG MEN, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED."

Does this sound like something important to you? Do you feel that all should be treated equal? Do you value your rights and freedoms as an American? Should the government work solely to protect and defend your rights from being infringed? These word come from the Declaration of Independence, the basis of the Revolution and the govenment formed afterwords. Let's read on:

"That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR TO ABOLISH IT, and to institute new government."

Does this sound familiar? I'm not making it up. It comes right after the previous section quoted. This was written and agreed upon by men with everything to lose. They had homes, families, businesses, all of which could be snuffed out in a moment by the momentous act of signing the Declaration. Why did they do it? What was so important to these men that they would RISK EVERYTHING INCLUDING THEIR LIVES to protect it? What has driven over 200 years of America's young men and women to fight and die to defend a flag that represents what these men did so long ago? Not long after the Revolution, the Constitution was written to "Form a more perfect Union" and establish the government that would carry the legacy of the Declaration. But it would not suffice without a Bill of Rights, designed to protect The People from the exact injustices they suffered under the British. So to understand why these men signed the Declaration, let's look at these rights:

1st) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is what America is. This is freedom right here. You can choose your religion, say your opinion, read what you want, and meet with who you want to. Imagine living under a government where you could not do those things.

2nd) A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

What is this? Oh yeah, the Revolution was fought by CITIZENS, with their OWN GUNS. The Founding Fathers realized that the other rights could not long survive without this all too important right to defend them. They even went so far as to say:

"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -Thomas Jefferson

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms." -Richard Henry Lee

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." -Elbridge Gerry

"If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" -Patrick Henry

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence." -George Washington

That was the Father of our Country, as well as four other important Founding Fathers defending the Second Amendment. So, who still doubts its importance?

3rd) No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

This is pretty straight forward. The British kept troops in America against the wishes of the people, and even had them stay in peoples private homes. Proabably something you want protection against.

4th) The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That's right people. No one (not even the police) can search you, your home, your car, or any of your personal possesions unless a specific warrant is issued to do so.

5th) No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This is perhaps the most quoted of the Bill of Rights, and yet many people have never even read it. Simply put, you do not have to answer for anything. No one can make you confess to anything, or take away your basic rights to make you confess.

6th) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

7th) In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

These both ensure a trial by jury, to be judged by your peers, to not be set up in a no win situation. This is what protects you from being falsely accused and convicted of crimes.

8th) Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

This ensures humanitarian treatment for ALL Americans, no matter what.

9th) The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Simply put: The Government cannont violate your rights. That's it.

10th) The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This is perhaps the most abused of the ten ammendments. Read it again. See what that says? The powers given to the Federal Government by the Constitution are the ONLY powers it may have. All others are reserved for the States or the People. When was the last time this system was actually followed?

So there you have it folks. These ten ammendments spell out why these men risked everything they had to separate from their government. And they certainly did not think themselves the exception to the rule. Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was the forefront of the Revolutionary movement, and oh by the way, third President of the US, has a famous quote that "The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants." But he also had a much less famous, but I think even more important quote: "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere." Say that again??? You mean to say I SHOULD question my government? I should NOT allow it to do what it wants? That's right folks, this is the spirit our country was founded on. This is the spirit in which Patrick Henry said "Give me Liberty or give me death!" This is when Nathan Hale said "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country." This is the time when ordinary farmers and shopkeepers took up arms and said enough! The citizens took a stand against the armies of the world's mightiest empire and won! They defended their rights! What is more, they defended them, from THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT. These were British subjects. Not until the Treaty of Paris in 1783 were they truly free as Americans. Many despaired in the meantime that their cause would be lost. George Washington himself at the Battle of New York cried "Good God! Have I got such troops as these?" But the citizens, the people, pulled through. At Trenton, Saratoga, King's Mountain, Cowpens, and finally Yorktown, the fighting spirit of the free men prevailed.

Why is all of this so important now, you ask? Read those rights again. How many violations can you think of, of those rights, in just the last few years? How about the last twenty years? How much is enough? When do you stand and say "today, I fight for my rights?" Today, I am a military man, fighting to preserve the freedoms that so many have already given The Last Full Measure of Devotion to defend. I will now give you the oath of enlistment in the US Military: "I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." I will defend... against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC. This is where all of this is important. I am not defending a government, I am defending the Constitution itself. When people ask, I am not defending my country, I am defending MY FREEDOMS. To me, this is regardless of who, what, or where the enemy is. I fight in the spirit of Washington, Nathaniel Greene, Nathan Hale, William Jasper, William Moultire, Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens, and the countless others who bravely fought and often gave everything, even their own life, so that their families and children may live free. I continue the spirit of Oliver Hazard Perry, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, George Dewey, John Pershing, Chester Nimitz, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas Macarthur, and so many, many others to this day, continuing this legacy. But this legacy only matters if we remember why we are fighting. So come on America. No matter what happens in the next four years, let's make 'em count!

"Stand your ground. Do not fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, LET IT BEGIN HERE." -Captain John Parker at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775


Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Excellent post Budd! I concur.
Sparky ♥ ∞

Linda said...

HOLY COW!! I second that, Sparky..WOW..WELL WRITTEN!! {{Clapping}}

ps. You most def. have a gift to write. Blessings