And for support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
-Thomas Jefferson – Declaration of Independence 1776
In a few days our family will travel to Williamsburg, Virginia. As you may know, Williamsburg is a living historical ‘museum‘ reminding 21st century Americans of our Revolutionary heritage and the endowment of freedom, liberty and equality that was purchased for us with the blood and sacrifice of common Patriots, common farmers, and uncommon aristocrats, who dreamed, bled and died together, and who then handed down an inheritance of freedom and democracy from generation by generation to us.
The simple truth is this: I have either forgotten, or perhaps I never truly understood, the immense and unbelievable sacrifice that a few handful of ordinary citizens; Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin and others like them – dared to win for our sakes. David McCullough’s books: John Adams and 1776 must be on the MUST READ list for every American child, every teen, college student… and they must be re-read by every American adult. And for anyone who wishes, legally, to become a citizen of this great Republic…these books (along with the original writings of the Founders) must become standard texts for entrance to this great nation.
If you, or anyone, desires the blessings of this land, we must learn to understand those who gave birth to this nation and died for this dream of freedom. If you want the fruit of this vineyard, then you must labor with us, as citizens, working together to ensure that the fruit of this land feeds not only us, but our children’s children as well.
Many of you who visit this blog, know that my main passion and the primary purpose of my writing deals with issues regarding the Church, theology, Christian history, Orthodoxy etc. and so one would begin to say, “What does this post on ‘politics’ have to do with any of that?” Well simply this: everything. The men and women of the Revolution believed that God is Supreme, the Creator who gives us our unalienable rights of life, liberty, equality, and that the law of virtue, honor, integrity and sacred values were the very fruit of a Christian faith and the very basis for the founding a nation, conceived and delivered under Providence. Our founders understood that without a moral compass, without Divine Providence and moral character – no nation in the entire history of the world could possibly stand, or remain.
A truly life changing event happened in our basement, as we began to watch this DVD series as a way to ‘better enjoy our trip to Williamsburg’. But what we received was something far greater than that: we received a wake up call to our inheritance, and a call to arms, a reminder of what it means to be a citizen, a Patriot. This series based on McCullough’s Pulitzer prize-winning book immediately captivated our hearts, and captured our souls, and brought us to tears on many occasions. Tears of sorrow as we witnessed the unbelievable hardships, and sacrifices these great patriots made. Tears of joy, as we watched these founding fathers, their wives, families, and an entire nation of people rise up against tyranny, and willingly shed their blood for freedom that many said could never be won. We saw men who believed in great things, dreamed of greater things, and were willing to do something about it. Were they ‘perfect’ people? No. Was there a lot left undone? (i.e. slavery) Yes. But nothing can deny their character and intent, and their gift of liberty.
Finally, we shed tears of sadness, as each of us was convicted of the country that we are becoming today, because it seems that we are becoming less and less like our forebears who fashioned this nation out of sacrifice, selfless love, service, integrity, morality, and on an unsullied code of honor. America, it was once said was ‘great’, because America was ‘good’. Can we be honest with ourselves today? Are we a ‘great’ nation because we are still a ‘good’ nation, a moral nation, a nation of personal, fiscal and moral responsibility? A nation that demands limited Government, the very notion that our founding fathers fought and died for? A nation committed to the ‘rule of law’, where each person knows how to govern themselves morally, so that we do not need a national governmental babysitter to slap our hands, or to provide for us like a socialist program pusher?
I believe, in spite of my blind, and momentary catatonic stupor, that if this present generation of Americans (and I mean myself!) does not revisit, re-study, and re-examine the essence of how our Republic was founded, on what it was founded upon, and then actually become a Patriot even in our very day, joining our fortunes, and our sacred honors to one another in response to the present moral and political decay that we have created and allowed… then my children, your children and our grandchildren will have nothing left. Thus, here is a challenge, a ‘gauntlet’, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I dare you to do two things: First, read David McCullough’s Books “1776” and “John Adams”. Second, rent or better yet, buy the video John Adams and watch it with your family.
If you do, if you have enough courage to accept this challenge, you’ll no longer, as I am no longer, be willing to be content with sitting around and watching as a passive spectator as our great nation implodes through ignorance and inaction. I confess. I almost gave up on our nation. John Adams and his friends have saved me.
“The foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; …the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…”
–George Washington, First Inaugural, April 30 1789