There is no need to remind you that election season is once again upon us. The blitz of TV ads, mailers and phone messages infiltrates our homes with a “he said, she said” type of campaign red-lining. Some of the accusations will ring true while others, sadly, most of the others, will be deceitful, stretching or deleting compelling truth for the sake of pocketing your vote. By now you have noted that the Golden Rule has never been used to measure politician’s noses.
Be so reminded that Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 is the day when you cast your vote or even earlier, if necessary and allowed.
The issues at hand-you already know them. You embrace some or all of them with various degrees of importance: immigration, homeland security, foreign policy, the economy, rights of others-which I believe must include a very vocal upholding of due process (i.e., the Ferguson Missouri lynch mob mindset and the ubiquitous college campus kangaroo courts). Other interpretative rights include women’s rights, worker’s rights, and rights, more rights, and la-di-dah rights…
You won’t hear, “Thank God for our country and for our freedoms” or “Responsibility and self-government are meant to be egalitarian with any ‘right’ afforded to us. Our last two presidential elections told us in word and deed “God damn America!”
And, you won’t hear: these aspiring words: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
The vintage words of Abraham, Martin and John have been trampled under the rush of man’s “me-first” wrath. Their blood stained words are now swept away with dust. Forgotten, also, as are the words of Theodore Roosevelt. Political correctness now governs our lexicons, our lives and our American legacy, all to the detriment of our nation.
It is now intellectually vogue to be anti-American. The “we deserved 9/11” crowd invokes cocktail party ‘pat on the back’ self-righteousness conferred onto sycophants who hang on their every anti-American rant.
Their myopic critiques have become standard fare in college courses dealing with social sciences, the humanities, history and wherever a professor can raise a high brow over America.
You know some of the ‘black flag’ crowd: : Norman Mailer, Robert Lowell, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Coover, E.L. Doctorow, Joseph Heller, Elizabeth Hardwick, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Robert Altman.
It is not anti-American to critique America. Free speech, freedom of assembly, etc. are American rights which give us elbow room to squabble and even to critique America’s rights.
But, it is anti-American when that is all that is said about America is the negative.
The fact that you can write and publish anti-American literature, create movies that promote anti-Capitalism in favor of ‘been-there-done-that failed-socialism’ and educate college kids with your perverse version of Americana/sacrosanct collectivism reveals the greatness of our country. Totalitarians demand control of your words, your thoughts and your loves. America gives you the freedom to even pronounce judgment on your own freedom.
As a timely reminder of what America is about I offer the following from Theodore Roosevelt. His words spoke to the same issues we are now voting for or against on November 4th.
Below is part of a letter written by Theodore Roosevelt-to Solomon Stanwood Menken, the head of the National Security League and the chairman of its Congress of Constructive Patriotism, on January 10, 1917. Roosevelt’s younger sister, Mrs. Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, read the letter to a national meeting of the organization on January 26, 1917.
Americanism means many things. It means equality of rights and therefore equality of duty and of obligation. It means service to our common country. It means loyalty to one flag, to our flag, the flag of all of us. It means on the part of each of us respect for the rights of the rest of us. It means that all us guarantee the rights of each of us. It means free education, genuinely representative government, freedom of speech and thought, equality before the law for all men, genuine political and religious freedom, and the democratizing of industry so as to give at least a measurable quality of opportunity for all, and so as to place before us, as our ideal in all industries where this ideal is possible of attainment, the system of cooperative ownership and management, in order that the tool-users may, so far as possible, become the tool-owners. Everything is un-American that tends either to government by a plutocracy or government by a mob. To divide along the lines of section or cast or creed is un-American. All privileges based on wealth, and all enmity to honest men because they are wealthy, are un-American-both of them equally so. Americanism means virtues of courage, honor, justice, sincerity, and hardihood-the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life. (emphasis mine)
Preparedness must be of the soul no less than of the body. We must keep lofty ideals steadily before us, and must train ourselves in practical fashion so that we may realize these ideals. Throughout our whole land we must have fundamental common purposes, to be achieved through education, through intelligent organization and through the recognition of the great vital standards of life and living. We must make Americanism and Americanization mean the same thing to the native-born and to the foreign-born; to the man and to the woman; to the rich and to the poor; to the employer and to the wage-worker. If we believe in American standards, we shall insist that all privileges springing from them be extended to immigrants, and that they in return accept these standards with whole-hearted and entire loyalty. Either we must stand absolutely by our ideals and conceptions of duty, or else we are against them. There is no middle course, and if we attempt to find one, we insure for ourselves defeat and disaster. (emphasis mine)
Next up from Theodore Roosevelt, an April 1894 article from The Forum Magazine titled “True Americanism.” Here are some excerpts:
the class of hypocrites and demagogues, the class that is always prompt to steal the watchwords of righteousness and use them in the interests of evil-doing….
We Americans have many grave problems to solve, many threatening evils to fight, and many deeds to do, if, as we hope and believe, we have the wisdom, the strength, the courage, and the virtue to do them. But we must face facts as they are. We must neither surrender ourselves to a foolish optimism, nor succumb to a timid and ignoble pessimism. Our nation is that one among all the nations of the earth which holds in its hands the fate of the coming years. We enjoy exceptional advantages, and are menaced by exceptional dangers; and all signs indicate that we shall either fail greatly or succeed greatly. I firmly believe that we shall succeed; but we must not foolishly blink the dangers by which we are threatened, for that is the way to fail. On the contrary, we must soberly set to work to find out all we can about the existence and extent of every evil, must acknowledge it to be such, and must then attack it with unyielding resolution. There are many such evils, and each must be fought after a fashion; yet there is one quality which we must bring to the solution of every problem,- that is, an intense and fervid Americanism. We shall never be successful over the dangers that confront us; we shall never achieve true greatness, nor reach the lofty ideal which the founders and preservers of our mighty Federal Republic have set before us, unless we are Americans in heart and soul, in spirit and purpose, keenly alive to the responsibility implied in the very name of American, and proud beyond measure of the glorious privilege of bearing it….
It is urgently necessary to check and regulate our immigration, by much more drastic laws than now exist; and this should be done both to keep out laborers who tend to depress the labor market, and to keep out races which do not assimilate readily with our own, and unworthy individuals of all races – not only criminals, idiots, and paupers, but anarchists of the Most and O’Donovan Rossa type. From his own standpoint, it is beyond all question the wise thing for the immigrant to become thoroughly Americanized. Moreover, from our standpoint, we have a right to demand it. We freely extend the hand of welcome and of good-fellowship to every man, no matter what his creed or birthplace, who comes here honestly intent on becoming a good United States citizen like the rest of us; but we have a right, and it is our duty, to demand that he shall indeed become so and shall not confuse the issues with which we are struggling by introducing among us Old-World quarrels and prejudices.
There are certain ideas which he must give up. For instance, he must learn that American life is incompatible with the existence of any form of anarchy, or of-any secret society having murder for its aim, whether at home or abroad; and he must learn that we exact full religious toleration and the complete separation of Church and State. Moreover, he must not bring in his Old-World religious race and national antipathies, but must merge them into love for our common country, and must take pride in the things which we can all take pride in. He must revere only our flag; not only must it come first, but no other flag should even come second. He must learn to celebrate Washington’s birthday rather than that of the Queen or Kaiser, and the Fourth of July instead of St. Patrick’s Day. Our political and social questions must be settled on their own merits, and not complicated by quarrels between England and Ireland, or France and Germany, with which we have nothing to do: it is an outrage to fight an American political campaign with reference to questions of European politics. Above all, the immigrant must learn to talk and think and be United States. The immigrant of to-day can learn much from the experience of the immigrants of the past, who came to America prior to the Revolutionary War. We were then already, what we are now, a people of mixed blood. (emphasis mine)
Above all we must stand shoulder to shoulder, not asking as to the ancestry or creed of our comrades, but only demanding that they be in very truth Americans, and that we all work together, heart, hand, and head, for the honor and the greatness of our common country.
Theodore Roosevelt quotes;
Let us pay with our bodies for our souls’ desire. Let us, without one hour’s unnecessary delay, put the American flag at the battle-front in this great war for Democracy and civilization, and for the reign of justice and fair-dealing among the nations of mankind.
If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at the hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.
Let’s remember, as True Americans, to vote with a clear regard for others and for our country, giving no allegiance to the false flags wafting for our attention.
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