Jeff Utsch is the Vice President of Educational Development for Compact for America, Inc. and a founding member of the States United Balanced Budget Initiative Arizona – an Arizona-based grassroots 501 c 3 dedicated to supporting the Compact for America.
An aerospace engineer by training, Jeff currently consults with Paradynamics, a Tucson-based company contracted to develop parachute-type canopies capable of flying specific missions as required by the Defense Advance Research Agency. Using the skills he developed as an All-American swimmer and Captain of the University of Arizona swim team, Jeff currently serves as an Instructor to the Navy SEALs / Naval Special Warfare community where he teaches Navy SEALS and support personal in specialized tactical swimming. He also served as a Director and Ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation.
Jeff is a self-taught constitutional scholar and historian with a keen interest in the founding of this wonderful country. He currently can be heard as the constitutional expert for the weekly constitution segment of the James T. Harris Show on 104.1 The Truth FM radio in Tucson.
By: Jeff Utsch November 8, 2016
Many in the nation appeared to be relieved or even gleeful at the result of the reopening of the FBI email investigation into Hillary Clinton.
Yes, there was cause to feel a sense of affirmation about the dark world she inhabits. Woe to those of us, however, who retreated into smugness or schadenfreude. In the winner-takes-almost-all system that we have developed over the years it is easy to fall into this trap.
Now, with Comey reiterating what he said in July, is it time for these feelings in reverse?
There is ample cause for us to look inward and self-excoriate, for we have created the very paradigm that has allowed a presidential contest to be so significant. It was never supposed to be that way.
Ok, yes significant, but not like we know it today.
With the power of the Presidency ever expanding and the stakes of who wins so large as to dwarf any other contest, the "win at any cost" mentality of many others seem to excuse wrongdoing and even blatant criminal behavior.
The Founders would feel chagrin as they painstakingly crafted the office of the Presidency with enough power to guide a nation but not enough to replace one tyrant with another.
Power in the office of the President today is in many ways the genesis of how divisive and ruthless our campaigns have become.
In fact, at some perverse level, society may be in debt to Clinton. Without this high-profile contest, we would not know just how corrupt our leadership has become to reach and end.
The revelations about candidate Clinton reveal:
Most scandals that register are just business-as-usual in our political system. Nothing is shocking or unimaginable today as, sadly, as we hold leadership to low expectations and we seem to tolerate a certain level of corruption. How many others whom are not Clinton are getting away with similar madness?
Americans are losing confidence and trust in their government. From a Gallop poll taken in September of 2015 a full 75% of Americans think corruption is wide-spread. This suspicion and proof of corruption frays the bonds that tie us together as Americans. A disregard for the rule of law is what Lincoln said would destroy our nation from within unless a law-abiding people rise up and demand fidelity to the Constitution. How is a vote for Clinton not the embodiment of Lincoln's prediction?
The Departments of the Executive branch are now largely swayed by and accountable to the party in power. Departments have been coopted. That is the sign of a banana republic, not a flourishing democracy.
Blind justice and equality under the law are increasingly platitudes, not realities. The admirable work and personal sacrifice of Dinesh D'Souza bears that out. Do we need any more evidence of this than the play-by-play history of how a vengeful administration worked to imprison an opponent?
Discussions of substantive issues have been subordinated to arguments about the other candidate's character flaws. This is, of course, a feature of most campaigns but no to the extent seen in this year's banal dialog. (Neither candidate gets a "by" on this.)
A Trump victory won't be seen by the press or the establishment as a mandate but rather a rejection by Americans of the corrupt nature of Clinton Inc. and Washington, in general. This will hurt Trump's ability to carry-out policy.
A Clinton victory will dissuade future leaders from taking on the Establishment as it is will be futile, "too big to fail."
A Trump presidency will not bring the Republicans together. The Establishment part of the party will look at his win as a "lucky break" that, in and of itself, will thwart change and reform.
A Clinton win, particularly a close one, will heap blame on the "Never Trump" movement, which in turn may be a prelude for an intra-party civil war.
The list of negatives continues but a country founded on optimism deserves analysis based on the same. We have in front of us a tremendous learning and growing opportunity.
So, now a reminder and an admonition: the powers delegated to the Executive in the Constitution are few and defined. Washington himself even became bored with the role at times with nothing more to do as he fulfilled his daily duties as Chief Executive. Over time, however, we have allowed this office to grow into a source of such power that its decisions determine our fate.
No, this wasn't the way it was intended. Just read Federalist 67 and 69. Our Founders were very wary of giving the executive too much power as they did not want to create the King George from whom they had just separated. Great pains were taken to limit our President's powers.
Over time, however, the ever-growing Executive branch has looked more and more like what our forefathers feared. It is time to be reined in. The ship of state was supposed to be as steady as possible but in today's environment we see that ship listing greatly in accordance with whomever is at its helm.
Electing our President this Tuesday should not matter as much as it does today. We have allowed our Presidents to become four-year monarchs with ever-increasing power.
Because of this the stakes in victory have grown. Parties are willing to cover up, hide, gloss, ignore, excuse, make light of and even accept treasonous acts by their nominees to win. What are our bearings?
If we care about safeguarding the nation, we subordinate glee at revelations about subversive conduct to revisiting the intentions of the Framers and re-limiting any one President's ability to save or destroy us.
Long before Lincoln became a household name, he was forging his own path and making his own observations about America as he saw her.
He did not simply transform overnight into the brilliant leader who would save a nation. Rather, he summoned years of deliberation, with self and others, on every critical issue of the day. If anything could be said of Lincoln, it was that he pensive and cautious in converting thoughts to action.
In 1838, at the age of 28, he gave one of the most inspired and prophetic speeches of any age. In what is known as the Lyceum Speech, or as he called it, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” Lincoln articulated a trend of lawlessness in the country and understood that it didn’t matter whether one agreed with the perpetrators or not. If rule of law was not enforced, he contended, a nation was on a course of suicide.
Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
The danger, Lincoln warned, emanated from “the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of sober judgment…”
Today, we are at that point where many elected leaders disregard the rule of law and attempt to get away with all in reach until pushed back. Often, their aims are what they believe is good for the nation. But, if unlawful, the long-term result is an erosion of what bonds us together.
Edward Snowden’s revelations of what our government is doing to keep us safe is a clear example. Good intentions do not make actions Constitutional.
The oath one takes to protect the Constitution meant something and its obligatory self-restraint was one check on overreaching power, Lincoln believed. Leaders who do otherwise, believing ends justify means, risk the very destruction of the nation itself.
Lincoln deplored the Fugitive Slave Act, which had been passed in 1850. When Wisconsin, citing the immorality of the act, refused to enforce it, Lincoln insisted that the nation suffer under until such a time as a Constitutional change could be made.
George Washington would agree. In discussing making changes to the Constitution in his farewell address he stated, “But let there be no change by usurpations, for though this, in the one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.”
Unconstitutional acts by leaders do extensive damage before they are rectified. With a Congress lacking the willpower and agility to react to every constitutional infringement by the Executive, our nation is suffering under the weight of corruption.
Are we blind to the costs of such leadership? Do we not hear the voice of Lincoln’s reason and the ensuing damage if we don’t heed the warning?
Lincoln gave us the remedy and it applies to all.
“How shall we fortify against it (violation of the Constitution)?” he asks. “The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. “
A nation of laws holds everyone accountable, Lincoln understood. If not, the nation self-destructs.
As the patriots of seventy-six (Revolutionary War) did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;–let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap–let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;–let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.
Have we reached a point where we are willing to disregard the rule of law and allow any leader, appointed or elected, to trample the Constitution provided they espouse our political views?
Are we this corrupted that we accept treasonous leaders who line their own pockets as long as we get our spoils as well?
I won’t go along with this. Servitude will follow. The American principles of Liberty and equality-under-the- law are gone. Liberty won’t endure when the rule of law is ignored and selectively enforced.
“That temple (Liberty) must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason,” Lincoln stated. “Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.–Let those materials be molded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last”.
This is what it will take to save our nation.
If we do not heed Lincoln’s warning, we are indeed on a path to collective political suicide, a society in which, “Liberty and Justice for All,” is but an empty cliché of yesterday.
By: Jeff Utsch October 24, 2016
This election season confronts some conservatives, independents, liberty-lovers and patriots with grave dilemmas whose solution, I submit, resides in the lyrics of the 1971 song by Stephen Stills.
There is exactly no one running for our highest office with whom they feel comfortable.
Hillary Clinton? Out of the question. Donald Trump? Not with a clear conscious.
But, wait. Let’s apply closer scrutiny to the Trump response.
The Republican torch-bearer has said and done things that disqualify him, they say.
Charles Krauthammer, the Fox News commentator, is a good example of this. He cannot vote for Clinton and will not vote for Trump. He will write in someone and let us know whom after the election.
Friends and family think the same way – and thank goodness for them. There is still moral fiber on the conservative side. I respect and understand their sentiments. It would be a disappointment if we were not having this debate on the Republican side.
Yes, there are many who still understand the difference between right and wrong, as well as the attributes of leadership. Fortunate we are to have true leaders like Lincoln and Washington over the course of history by whom we can measure others.
Yes, it is acknowledged by many Republicans that Trump has serious flaws, and therein lies the Clinton advantage. Why? Because, in case you haven’t noticed, on the Democrat side there is no similar discussion.
Clinton’s flaws and lifetime of corruption dwarf Trump’s. Yet, where is the discord or debate on the Democrat side?
This alone should tell us all we need to know about modern Democrats. The corruption is not merely about a candidate but permeates the entire party. This is a pathetic verdict on the party and a sad portent for America.
Yes, for the Democrats, the Machiavellian creed whereby ends justify means is the policy de jour.
Without a doubt, a Clinton Presidency will be the greater evil. Will anyone stand in President Clinton’s way of doing anything she wants?
The press won’t; they are accomplices. We already know the State Department and the FBI won’t. Congress won’t because it is more concerned with preserving its own power and will be afraid to kick back against a first woman president. The Supreme Court won’t, as the President will be appointing its new members. The entire establishment will not, as it will be eager to feed at her trough. The only hope will be the states — and the people. If there is a President Clinton, we need to be ready.
A Trump Presidency will bring about true transparency, the kind it serves up daily on candidate Trump. Suddenly, we will be cognizant of goings-on in real time. Whatever minor misstep by President Trump occurs, we will know instantly.
The political correctness we have witnessed for eight years with President Obama will vanish. If Trump deviates at all from his legal powers, you can bet that Congress will not hesitate to start impeachment. Even with Trump appointees on the Court, it will do little more than preserve the status quo of the last 15 years. The Establishment will fight tooth-and- nail to thwart his every move.
Why then would you choose Clinton in office with by a deliberate anti-Trump vote?
America has a long history of choosing to work with those whom we don’t feel 100% comfortable in order to defeat the greater evil. Think Russia against Germany in World War II; China against Japan in the same war; France against England in our Revolutionary War, and; a number of strange bedfellows as we fight ISIS today.
Let’s defeat the greater enemy of America (Clinton) first. At this point, Trump is the only person standing between her and the White House. Voting for Trump as the lesser of two evils is not in contravention to a principled vote that keeps Clinton out of office.
There is ample precedent for what we, as a nation, have done throughout history in defeating the greater danger first.
And, if Trump strays as President, we will have a much easier time reining him in than we ever could with Clinton.
Many gaping issues with both parties present themselves in 2016 but I am glad to at least be part of one that recognizes problems when it sees them and has the courage to openly discuss and debate them, even at the risk of implosion. Yes, there is still hope.
We ought take seriously the lyrics.
If you’re not with the one you love honey… love the one you’re with.
By: Jeff Utsch October 17, 2016
Just looking at that headline makes me angry. I question the sanity, myself included, of anyone writing those words in October of 2016.
What in the world has come over me?
Here’s what: It is time to examine the doughnut, not the hole.
Think of this as a 2016 political spinoff of Russian roulette. With Donald Trump we have two rounds of in a revolver chamber containing six. With Hillary Clinton, at least five are loaded.
Clinton, in other words, will be disaster. The Democratic and Republican establishments will be pleased, as her victory will postpone their ultimate demise, but the road we travel will not change and American decline will accelerate.
Yes, it will be a rapid descent in many areas. Need I list them all? In the end, Clinton cannot help being who she is.
Trump? Not my first choice, but at least he offers a chance of reversing the decline and rechanneling a nation.
There will be change in the White House, that’s for sure, in a Trump Administration. Will it be for the better? Will his changes be done in a Constitutional fashion? Or will they take place via the same cynical and illegal overreach used by our current president?
So, how can I say we win either way?
With Clinton, the fight is on.
As Thomas Paine said, “If trouble must come let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.”
The words are riveting, the concept more so.
Let’s accelerate a showdown with corruption and lawlessness. Bring it on. Who wouldn’t prefer to take on the perpetrators themselves instead of merely passing down this soiled legacy to our children?
Yes, a Clinton victory means a fabulous teaching moment and an opportunity for action.
To what do I allude? Here is a partial list:
● Forcing Congress to step-up and start impeachment proceedings immediately (if you need to know why, you have not been paying attention);
● Mandating Congress do its job and actually legislate, rein in the Executive and Judicial Branches (not that I think they will, but we need to so demand);
● Relearn the actions of the 39th Congress. No, it never was co-equal branches. Congress has the power. It is time to use it;
● Making the States relearn their role as sovereign entities;
● Creating committees of correspondence and alliances among the states for mutual protection and benefit;
● Bringing a sense of Federalism back to the state leaders and the peoples’ minds;
● Reacquainting citizens with a sense of their own power;
* Understanding the proper role of the Supreme Court as intended and the dangers foreseen by the Founders;
● Encouraging the States and people to nullify unconstitutional Supreme Court rulings.
● Educating the populace with what the Founders would have us do;
● Using Article V of the Constitution so states can handcuff the federal government;
● Stopping us from appealing to Washington and, especially, the President as a great savior and guide to daily life. (Oh, how we want a king these days);
● Putting the President back in her place and limiting ever-increasing, unlawful exercises of power.
A Clinton victory might just spawn a renaissance of rediscovering forgotten truths about the proper role of government, federalism, freedom, unalienable rights and so on.
George Washington told a friend it is a shame that we must feel before we see. It’s time that the majority of Americans start to feel that they may see. If this is what it takes, so be it.
If Trump wins, even better.
Now, we can dismantle the established self-serving corrupt inner beltway cabal. The applecart will indeed be overturned and we have a chance – yes, it is but a chance – to take back the rule of law and accountability from our federal system.
Trump, if flawed in a multitude of ways, does seem to put good people in the right places.
Were that to be the case, we have a chance of the following:
● Getting Constitutionally-minded justices confirmed to the Supreme Court;
● Improving our economy in a way that brings opportunity to more than the connected;
● Creating jobs for skilled and unskilled workers;
● Re-growing, refitting and reorganizing our military;
● Controlling the flow of immigrants to those we seek to have here;
● Tackling some of the larger budget issues;
● Becoming energy independent;
● Forming a cohesive and comprehensible foreign policy strategy.
● Rebuilding trust with our allies.
These are, of course, hopes.
The risk is that Trump may abuse executive authority in an even more pernicious way than his predecessor.
That may appeal to a certain niche of Americans whose mood is vengeance, but it would be absolutely the wrong path. Trump would also turn into our worst nightmare if he deems himself bigger than the office and, himself, above the law.
Come November, include me in the group that would rather have two rounds in the chamber than five.
Whatever the result, we have pending a batch of battles. The only other option would be abandoning hope.
I can’t, however.
I am accountable to history. To conscience. To offspring.
By: Jeff Utsch October 3, 2016
Part 1 of 2
Here we are in the midst of an all-important Presidential election and, curiously, one hears nothing of “liberty.”
This is among the key ingredients of what made America great in the first place and yet it is almost forgotten in the Republican formula of “Making America Great Again.” And, of course, it is non-existent on the Democrat side.
What a glaring omission from both the campaign for the most powerful office on earth and hundreds of other elections that determine our destiny.
Sure, people all across the spectrum say they believe in it. But, if anyone actually speaks about it in any detail, it is a sign of imbalance or extremism. After all, isn’t this the day and age when the sole question is often, “What can my government do for me?”
Patrick Henry’s cry of “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”, which pierced American hearts in March, 1775 and established the American creed, has been replaced with equal fervor by, “Give me stuff and I’ll vote for you!” and “Please save us, Oh Great Leader, who will deliver us from all evil.”
What a contrast with the dilemma of our Founders, as evidenced during the Constitutional ratification debates in 1787 and 1788, whose major issue was, “Are we ceding too much power to our federal government?” The Founders had no interest in recreating a tyrant from which they had just separated.
Wow, have we changed.
At inception, the primary role of government was to guarantee unalienable rights and, then, leave us alone. Freedom was paramount in the hearts of Americans because they realized that opportunity occurs when freedom reigns and government stays within proper bounds.
Now, however, we invite to steer our lives an ever-overreaching federal government as long as it provides what we need. Correct, we are relinquishing our birthright, and that of our children, for a bowl of pottage.
Today, government must do us favors, taking from one class to give to another, mine. It’s about overregulating an out-of-favor industry and subsidizing mine. It’s about having the other guy pay a larger burden of taxes than me. It’s about access and cronyism and aligning government, the biggest bully of all, to my side.
When did this happen? When did liberty take a back-seat in our dialog? When did discussion of the proper role of government become passé?
In the rare instance when the subject of liberty is broached, everyone is on-board, of course, as they are for clean water and air. No one in America would say otherwise. But, we don’t even know what it means anymore. Or we don’t care.
Lip service. That’s all liberty gets these days.
Liberty, Freedom. Some say they have different meanings, but let’s stipulate, for the moment, that they are the same. How are they to be defined? If we are in favor of them, but can’t define them, then we have a problem.
Our Founders understood freedom and endlessly discussed and debated it. They also understood and defined tyranny. What do we know about either? As a nation we have forgotten the meaning of both. How can a nation remain free if it doesn’t recognize the difference? In the end, it cannot.
The best-known chronicled definitions of liberty and tyranny is our own Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson. It was then edited by the committee of five and submitted to the entire second Continental Congress for review and critique.
After an excruciating editing for Jefferson, the final draft was at last put to a vote and approved unanimously by the 13 colonies. Therefore, Jefferson’s Declaration was not only reiterated by self but by an overwhelming majority of the delegates from the colonies.
This document has become part of our civil religion and is the foundation of what it is to be an American. It contains beliefs to which all Americans subscribe – or at least, to which we profess to subscribe.
Most Americans know some of what is contained in the Declaration. But, do we apply what we know?
We believe, for example, that “all men are created equal. That alone was a revolution in five 5 words. We have “unalienable” rights derived from our creator and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Governments are formed to secure these rights. Government obtains its powers from the consent of the governed, and when government works at counter-purpose to these ends, it is the right of the people to change government.
Our memories are short; we have much to relearn.
For freedom to exist, I enumerate truths that Jefferson would be happy that we rediscover:
• We have unalienable rights.
• These rights are given to us by our Creator not government.
• All people everywhere have these rights.
• Primary role of government is to protect our unalienable rights.
• Government’s power is delegated to it by the people.
• People can only delegate what they legitimately possess.
• Powers delegated to the government are limited in scope to fill its primary role.
• Government does not have authority to give itself power outside of delegated power.
• When Government does not fill its primary role or it exceeds its delegated authority, the people have a right to change it.
Wow! According to Jefferson and the Founders, liberty prevailed when a people and their government adhered to the principles above.
The Declaration tells us about the original American creed and what government must do to maintain our freedoms. It includes, too, a virtual concordance of what a government should not do.
Is our government fulfilling its primary role as set forth in this seminal document in which we profess to believe?
Is government’s primary role today to protect our unalienable rights so freedom reigns and opportunity is abundant?
It is no accident that the United States of America has created more wealth and opportunity for more people than any nation over the spectrum of time. This is because of the principle of liberty upon which our nation was founded.
The founders understood the link between freedom and the human potential.
Take a look at what troubles our promised land today. Maybe, we should give freedom another try.
Where’s our next Patrick Henry to stir the hearts of man? I’ll be looking for him.
Quarterbacks are, by definition, team leaders. They set the pace of a game. Their accuracy on reading an opponent’s defense is critical to victory or loss. An errant pass or a fumbled handoff can undo the heroic sacrifice of an entire offensive team.
Much of Americans’ vocabulary is based on our national pastimes. We say things, as second nature, like, “I am going to punt;” “he stiff-armed me;” and, “I fumbled an opportunity.” Who can forget the lyrics from the 1969 Mel & Tim song, “Backfield in motion, yeah, I’m gonna have to penalize you…?”
This symbiotic relationship between language and sport is why it is important to “ground” any athlete who uses his prominence as a bully-pulpit. Recently, that has meant Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers star quarterback. It will invariably include others from across the sports world.
The attention that Kaepernick has brought upon himself by not standing for our national anthem presents an opportunity to discuss why most of us do. Some of us do it from habit. Others from respect. It is a ritual, something we do almost without reflection. For others, it is a moving show of unity, a time for gratitude, thought, introspection and rededication.
Why should we stand?
Because, I submit, we are one in the ideals of America. “What are those ideals?” one might ask. The ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence are those that glue us together as a nation. They became the cornerstone of our civic, religious and cultural ways of life.
The assertion, “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights” started the ball rolling. Yes, the Founders recognized that as truth. It didn’t mean that it was reality in 18th Century America. It did mean that is what we should strive to become.
That short sentence contained a revolution of ideas and a belief system the world had not yet seen on a national level. That phrase alone refuted the divine rights of kings, the caste system, the feudal system and any that placed one above another because of birth, race, position, power or money. This was done at a time when we, as a nation, still allowed slavery.
Many of the Founders, we need to remember, did not own slaves and were staunchly against it. Were the others hypocrites, then? What about Jefferson who penned the words in the Declaration? A pragmatic idealist who would afterward decide his personal policy? Jefferson, in particular, recognized his precarious position as a slave owner. He trembled to know the consequences of holding others in slavery, he wrote a friend, knowing that God is true and just.
Jefferson recognized the truth and wrote to the ideal. He knew the ideal. So did the other Founders and that is why the Declaration of Independence was adopted. One of the many things that have made us a great nation is that we have usually recognized, stretched for and reached for the ideal. It doesn’t mean that we have met the ideal. We are a work in progress. But, to recognize it and strive toward it, is legacy with proof positive of our nation´s greatness. Yes, we have our flaws, profound ones, but our accomplishments and desire to mend those flaws open paths like the best of offensive lines.
Under our flag:
• The battle cry of freedom was shouted for all nations to hear, and many did.
• Religious Liberty became the norm.
• Freedom of the press and of speech is protected.
• We became a nation of law and order with protection of life, liberty and property.
• People are free to reach their full measure and create their own destiny.
• Slaves were set free.
• There has been more opportunity for more people of all backgrounds than any other nation in the history of the world.
• Europe was liberated and rebuilt.
• The crushing yoke of the Soviet Union was broken for millions.
• The people of Asia and the Pacific Islands were rescued from Imperial Japan.
• More wealth has been generated, more advances in technology, more increases in standards of living, more opportunities for minorities, and more hope to the hopeless given than anywhere ever recorded.
I could go on.
I could also list some demerits. There are plenty of moments of shame in our history but when compared to other nations, times and peoples the United States of America has had the best track record of any in the history of the world. This should not be forgotten. On the other hand, how can this be forgotten if they are never taught in the first place?
Any of us could come up with reasons not to stand for the flag. An unjust Supreme Court decision. A corrupt political system. An abuse of executive privilege. A lying President. Crony capitalism. Lawlessness. Maybe, even an unfair video replay system.
I would argue, though, that when things get bad, or the perception is that they are bad, then the need to strive for the ideal is paramount. Standing for the national anthem gives us that opportunity.
This is why we stand tall, proud and with great reverence when the anthem is played. Even though things are not perfect we all have a common bond, not just as Americans but more importantly the ideals that we share in common with our Founders.
Refusing to stand for the national anthem is a refusal of our national ideals and reverence for those who have sacrificed for them.
To me this is akin to rejecting Christ’s teachings because you realized your fellow church goers weren’t perfect or perhaps you saw your pastor do something wrong. None of those acts would change the ideal of Christ’s standard.
Similarly, no act by a single person or group of people or current event or movement within our country can rewrite what the ideals are that set our nation’s course over two centuries ago. Standing and showing respect and reverence during the national anthem is one way to acknowledge and recommit ourselves to these original ideals.
Colin Kaepernick would have done well to heed Davy Crockett’s admonition of “making sure you are correct, then go ahead”. Sure he has the right to sit but he is showing himself ignorant of what standing for the flag is all about. If he did understand it he would be the first up and the most attentive of them all.