“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he will fight, nothing that is more important than his own personal safety is a more miserable creature and has no chance of ever being free unless by the efforts of greater men then himself. “
-John Stuart Mill
I read this quote in the past couple days and it struck me square in the face. The ideology of modern western thought was forged on the American continent from the effort and struggle to survive that imbued us with a fierce sense of independent thought and rugged individualism culminating with the DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCE and the birth of a nation. This is what the Declaration of Independence was talking about in the first paragraphs. All people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. It is so obvious the writers of this document had deep values precious to them and worth capturing on paper.
At this point in history, monarchies monopolized governments in countries around the world. And our colonies were ruled by leadership more than 3,000 miles away …. But everyone has their limit, right?
The early Americans had been taxed and humiliated by unjust laws and ignorant leadership. Colonial Americans knew what was being done to them was wrong and they felt ANYTHING was better than what was happening to them. So, they chose to stand for a simple notion: Man is in control of his own destiny.
Liberty and the American way have blossomed from this day in history. The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution as a whole have been the bane of existence for tyrants and dictators in countries around the world since. Our forefathers’ actions set the tone around the world for people to stand up for what is good and right. And to also believe anything is possible if the cause is just and true.
This day is the flashpoint for American Exceptionalism — before it was even called American Exceptionalism, termed by De Toqueville. In putting their names on the bottom of the Declaration, these men knew they were signing their death warrants. It took some khutz-fa to stand up and make the stand against tyranny. They stood up for their guiding principles, and fought battles for years to come on shoeless, bloody feet.
True patriots fought losing battles just to keep this idea alive. This perseverance provided a glimpse of hope and freedom to people around the world making other oppressive rulers take note. The message: Treat people better or be overthrown.
The fact is Americans then and now are special. We are Exceptional. In colonial times, we pulled off something unthinkable by daring to dream it was within our reach. And this is a vibe we need to keep alive today … our change is within our reach. It is obtainable if we persevere.
Let’s take the values of revolutionary times and compare them to what we have today. Do we resemble anything our ancestors could be proud of? Could we measure up to the standards and morals we would deem righteous for an American people?
Do we teach or even know what American fundamentals are? When it is uncomfortable and not the easy thing to do, do we stick to our principles or do you let things slide? Are you the rock of sound judgment people will emulate and respect? Are you the one who will make the tough decision when it is the least popular? Do you have something you are willing to fight for other than the immediate safety of your family? If someone is doing wrong, do you say something? If a politician or a government is getting overbearing like the days of old, do you make a stand?
On a personal philosophy, ethical level, there should be something you’re willing to stand for: Something drawing a line in the sand — no take-backs! … Something we can call American Values.
For too long, we have let the rest of the world and anti-American Americans define us. If we don’t fight for our values, and live by them, who are we? There will be nothing that matters left and therefore, nothing to fight for. When we reach that point, others start dictating our world view and our core beliefs. Then, manipulation is the rule of the day because nothing has purpose, meaning or passion attached to it.
Americans used to be people who stood for justice and goodness and fought the oppressors wherever they were. This was our stereotype. We were seen as a country that was hearty, strong, just, innovative and GOOD! Of course we have our skeletons in our closets but that is not a reason to dislike America. Learning from these mistakes and skeletons are what makes us unique, GET OVER IT! Next! … If your mind is fixated on the events in the last engagement, you will die in the next.
People who do not believe in what our country is founded on seem to want to focus on the negative and what’s evil among us. Do you really think Americans are bad? Fences are to keep people out … not in. Seems like simple logic …
The lesson here is to stand for something. Americans throughout history have stood on the world stage and put there lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line to further what they knew to be right and equal justice for all. We have even saved the world a couple times. We are the America that you used to read about and you would see in comic books. If you want to really hear about America … Ask someone in the service or a legal immigrant.
Today is the day we should be beaming with pride and love for our neighbors because there still is an America worth fighting for.
Remember the sacrifices our forefathers took in the dark days of the revolution for at least a moment before you crack open that beer and throw a couple hot dogs on the grill because if our forefathers hadn’t done what they did, we might be eating ‘bangers and mash’, have bad teeth and speak with a snotty accent (although I do like Pith helmets….)