Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day 2010

"When in the course of human events..."

Seven score and seven years ago, on this date (July 4th), the United States adopted this 35-star flag, having admitted West Virginia as the 35th state. The admittance of West Virginia as a state was the result of its having broken away from Virginia over a little matter known as the Civil War or the War Between the States.

Our nation's 16th president was faced with the prospect of the dividing asunder of the country and a fundamental change in the underlying principles and character of the nation, in fact a dissolution of the Union envisioned by its founders.

Had there been no Lincoln, it's difficult to imagine what this nation would have become, or whether it would even exist today in any form we would recognize as the United States of America

Every year (2009, 2008, 2007) I find myself quoting Lincoln on the 4th of July, and perhaps it's because we find ourselves in similar circumstances today to those in which he found himself. We see our nation being pulled apart and splintered by those who would rule over us, unwilling to derive "their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed" but rather arrogating to themselves dictatorial powers.

"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." My Business Law professor had a favorite, trick question. What rights are granted by the U.S. Constiitution?

The correct answer, of course, is that the Constitution grants us no rights. Governments do not grant rights. Divine Providence does. The purpose of the Constitution is to prevent government from usurping those rights. Listen to the language of the Bill of Rights. "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting...or abridging..." "the right of the people...shall not be infringed," "no soldier shall...without the consent of the owner," "the right of the people...shall not be violated," "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The rights exist; the Constitution seeks to prohibit government from preempting them, as it is so often wont to do.

We stand at a crossroads in our nation's history, much like that faced by our 16th president. There are forces at work in our land that would transform the very nature of the United States of America forever. To quote Lincoln, we are now "testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

When I enlisted, and reenlisted, and when I was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy, I swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Millions of my fellow Americans took the same oath. It has never been more important that we do just that.

As for me and my household...


Tessa said...

One of the things I appreciate about my American friends and family is their absolute and unabashed patriotism. In today's changing world, where values of centuries are being challenged and contradicted even by law, it is encouraging to read this kind of reminder of the origins and declarations of lasting values. It is good to be reminded of the faith based decisions that lead the fathers of the nation to write such a constitution.
Thank you Jim for the encouragement to stand firm on faith.

Bonnie said...

An incredible post Dad ...