Thank you for the opportunity to speak here tonight on the Vision of America. I often hear it said that the two topics to avoid in speech or conversation are religion and politics. It is interesting to examine this statement more closely. Faith, if it is real, fills a person in their every atom and molecule, and politics, well that is just the details of how we live together and govern ourselves. Sometimes we avoid politics and religion because they tend to expose our inner selves and beliefs to others and that can be daunting. Our forefathers risked both censure and death to put their faith and politics on public view, and we owe our very existence as a nation to the principles that they brought to the vision of America. I believe that our nation is in a crisis equal to the revolution of 1776, or the civil war. Not in terms of lives lost on battlefields on our own soil, God prevent that, but in terms of warring ideologies that will result in America either finding new greatness or in America being fundamentally transformed into failure. America is on the cusp of this decision, and we will rise to greatness or we will fall to failure. America has long entrusted her heart to her “grass roots”. It is from that source that our nation will rise to this occasion.
An organization that gets its name from the concept of the rural-small town is in the heart of the grass roots of America. Your mission says that Ruritan is dedicated to improving communities and building a better America through Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service. This is the fundamental idea that improving lives begins with you and I improving ourselves, and engaging others to grow with us. We have this framework because you and I have breathed free air and been immersed in life and liberty America style, we are imbued with an innate sense of what needs to be improved. The American Vision causes us to know when the way things are; do not match up with the way things should be. There are deep and fundamental uniquely American reasons for this shared vision.
Years ago I read a book by Lewis Carroll called “Alice in wonderland”. If you remember the story, Alice falls down a rabbit hole and begins her adventure by being lost and wondering where to go. She encounters a cat, a Cheshire cat and since he is smiling, she asks him which way she should go. The cat says “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”, to which Alice replies “I don’t much care where.” The cat says “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” If I do not have a destination, if I do not have a vision of where I want to end up, I cannot set a heading. You as an organization have a vision of where you want to go and so that dictates many of the roads you take to get there.
America is a nation that has always had a vision, and that vision has guided her through good times and crisis times. America has had times of great leadership, and has endured poor leadership. Great leaders have arisen when needed and they aligned themselves with the American Vision while leading through the crises. Poor leaders have promoted changes that are in conflict with the American Vision. Great leaders had stood in the gap and have said “The American vision will not be lost on my watch”. I say without equivocation that the American vision does not need to be fundamentally changed. Fundamentally changing a good thing makes it fundamentally bad. When I was a boy my grandmother would make a meal and there would always be biscuits. Her biscuits were good, they were fundamentally good. You could butter them, you could put honey on them, you could enhance them, but if you fundamentally changed them they became fundamentally bad. America’s vision of goodness and greatness is fundamentally good and changing it fundamentally will destroy it.
In 1776, America produced and embraced our first image of that vision. 56 delegates from different backgrounds, 24 of whom held today what would be called seminary or bible school degrees, three were actual pastors, gathered to begin a new nation. They declared our independence in terms that were revolutionary as a definition for a nation, but which came from ancient truths indelibly ingrained in our fore fathers by their steeping in their Judeo-Christian heritage. This is what they said,
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 these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In this our Declaration of Independence, America began her ability to see clearly the good and the right. In school, we learned that the revolution was about “taxation without representation” yet the declaration lists taxation 13th in its list of grievances behind many protests about the violations of our liberty by an oppressive all powerful government. This declaration said that if America indeed stayed true to her vision, that she would defend at all costs the rights of all men, because she believes that those rights are given by God and are not the property of government.
There is always a tension between our vision for our self and where we currently operate. The Olympic high jumper begins training and finds that he can jump 6 feet 6 inches. If he has a vision of himself as the world’s record holder, he sees himself clearing over 8 feet. A tension exists because he perceives a difference of his current jump and the world record. 1 foot 6 inches stands in between him and his vision. So a nation who sees herself as a haven for liberty and the rights of all men, will either cease to have a clear vision, or will strive within to align her reality with her vision. Abraham Lincoln on the battlefield at Gettysburg clearly understood that America needed to set reality to match her vision, or perish, as he said “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” America conceived in liberty, freedom is in her DNA and she is dedicated to the equality of all men. “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” Can such a national experiment in liberty last? Can our nation succeed in pursuing its vision? Yes we can.
In the entire history of the planet earth, it has been estimated that out of the billions of people that have lived on this planet, less than 5% have lived in freedom and liberty. Nearly every one of those people have lived right here in these United States. Such a legacy calls out to us to arise and endure.
In my first years in college, I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Coming into such an august place from a small high school, where we said the pledge of allegiance and saluted the flag and thought America was great, I encountered college professors who were teaching another America as if they were some Gnostic mystics who alone held the secret knowledge that America was really the bad guys and they began a generation of American apologists. These apologists continue today to apologize for phantom faults in the face of the fact that the only country in the world that people risk their lives to run, crawl, swim, and tunnel into is the USA. When the president of Mexico recently criticized America for its treatment of the illegal Mexican aliens in the US, I wondered that if he spent more time trying to end corruption and crime and poverty for his own citizens that they might not spend every waking moment planning how to escape his country.
I have a friend whose father fought in World War II as a part of what is known as “the greatest generation.” The marines landed on a 40 mile square island in the south pacific called Tinian. After fierce fighting the island’s runway was bombed out. Dave’s dad and his platoon repaired the runway in record time. Sounds ordinary until you are welding steel runway plates and keeping a rifle handy to defend yourself. Tinian Island is close enough to Japan that our planes could reach there and return without refueling. Suddenly, islands like Tinian and Saipan put us in striking distance of the Japanese main land. The USS Indianapolis delivered a device called “Little Boy” to the island of Tinian. Little boy was loaded on a plane called the Enola Gay and dropped on the city of Hiroshima. With the subsequent atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the emperor of Japan surrendered, saving countless hundreds of thousands of lives that would have been lost landing troops on the island of Japan. Dave’s dad and his platoon all received a bronze star. When asked about it in later years he said “We were just doing our job”. And so they were. As others who cherish this country and aim to see it continue.
I saw the movie “Captain America” recently. Captain America goes from a 98 pound weakling to super soldier through the wonders of science. He enters the fight against Hitler in World War II. Reviews of Captain America said it had action, but that it was corny. Unashamedly pro American is passé and corny. I say then let me be called corny, but I want more, I want the hearts and minds of Americans to change so that patriotism is back in vogue, yet if it does not become popular, still will I stand for her.
I have studied history and I have seen the end results of other ideologies. Socialism and fascism and radical theocratic regimes claim that the rights of all men are to be doled out by the government. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, “as government grows, liberty decreases” Nazism and Hitler stood on the graves of 20 million dead, Russia and socialism stand on the graves of tens of millions as does Mao Zedong. The president of Iran will be the next mass murderer of millions of Jews and millions of Americans based on radical Islamic fascist ideals. Yet we still have those here who would praise socialism and murderers like Che Guevara. Will America embrace failed, bloodstained, ideologies born in a foreign land or will we embrace the American vision that is the only proven system of liberty?
I have a son who is an officer in the United States Air Force. When he was commissioned he took an oath that reads like this
I do solemnly swear 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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
I want to call out a new generation of patriots who are willing to see their duty and defend our vision against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Men and women of all ages and all political parties who remember America’s vision and who will not rest until all her enemies without and within are defeated and she is fully restored. I want to call you out. In the next months you will hear many speeches of people running for political office. I am not one of those. I am running for America, I am throwing my hat in the ring and I want your vote for restoring America from the brink. In every venue, every spot I want to give this message to everyone we know. I ask you to wake up if you are asleep, to speak up if you are awake, and stand up if you are ready for our nation to return to the values that she has always held in her vision.
The bible book of Hebrews tells of how God speaks and it shakes the entire earth and the heavens as well, but the true and faithful remain unshaken. In that same way the true American will not be shaken by false promises and ideology, but will stand unshaken for liberty.
Whatever image comes to you as your mind turns to the greatest country on earth, the red and white stripes and 50 stars of the Flag, the amber waves of grain, the majesty of mountains, or an image of the statue of liberty, remember that with great gifts come great duty and responsibility.
Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address, called for restoration with these words, “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in;”
Let us strive together to finish the work we are in. Let not those who have given their lives ahead of us have strived and died in vain, but hand us the banner, hand us old glory, and make us a new greatest generation of patriots.
God bless you and God bless America.