Up out of the Bunker Archives – true in 2004 true now
…every form of government has a single characteristic which forms the basis for its power; if that is lost the government falls. … In a Democracy, the underlying principle is virtue, when that is lost the Democracy fails and ceases to exist. – Ronald Reagan, from Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America (Biography)
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. The Declaration of Independence
Have you ever thought yourself awake? Su and I attend Prayer Meetings on Wednesday nights if I’m not working late. Following our time of prayer, the Pastor leads a Bible study. We discussed John 3 this week. The discussion centered on the “born again” part of the scripture. Born again is a term derisively used to describe Christians, by those who fear or do not understand the religion. The rebirth, which Jesus describes to Nicodemus in this passage, is spiritual not physical. I hope that you comprehend the meaning of a spiritual rebirth. I’ll leave deeper thoughts of it to your own meditations and get on with what woke me during the night.
I read every night. I read scripture to calm the end of my days and after contemplating it, I select a book from the stack I keep by the bed. Last night, I read some passages from Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America (Biography), which is a collection of writings from President Ronald Reagan, written as the title implies, in his own hand. I recommend it. It gives you great insight into a man who changed the world in his time. The subject of our Bible lesson and the quoted excerpt from President Reagan’s writings were colliding in my mind when I awoke at 1:30 AM. My mind wrestled with both until it jolted me awake with a question. What represents the spirit of our country? Is it the principle of virtue, defined as conforming to a standard of what is right or of particular moral excellence, which President Reagan describes? If it is, can we define that virtue with the words that begin The Declaration of Independence? The thought that woke me is that our country’s virtue is to uphold the words in the bold declaration that began our trek toward being the world’s freest nation. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness is our spirit – our vital principle, which gives life to our democracy and guides us in our relations with other nations.
Are we at the point of rebirth of our nation’s spirit? If we are, then conversely are we at the point of the death of it? Contemplating that is what kept me awake until the 5 AM news on the radio alarm reminded me that it was time to get up. Examine our history and you’ll see that the pursuit of that virtue – our nation’s spirit – has freed millions of oppressed humans on this earth. It confronted and destroyed the evil of the Nazis and turned back the Imperial Japanese forces. It ejected Red Chinese and North Korean communists from South Korea. The American Spirit, alive and well, made the world better giving millions their unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It was President Reagan’s understanding of the spirit of our nation that brought down the Soviet Union, ended the cold war and gave those cherished and unalienable rights to millions more. Where are we now? How did we get there?
In the unforgiving jungles of Vietnam, young Americans filled with American Spirit went off to offer Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness to those who sought it. Bumbling politicians hampered their spirit, but being soldiers, they endured the politics of war because the objective to bring the spirit to those seeking it did not change. As vital principles do, it never changes. Tragically, the spirit was stolen from them. Deserters, draft dodgers and a collection of celebrities and politicians robbed an entire generation of young Americans and our nation of its spirit. Having fought and died to free a people searching for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, they came home to disdain not victory parades. Jane and John stole their spirit.
President Jimmy Carter ground their spirit like a cigarette butt beneath a shoe on a dirty sidewalk by granting amnesty to deserters and choosing inaction and appeasement as the method to deal with Iranian Islamic terrorists. President Reagan brought back our American Spirit. He described us as the City on the Hill – one that stands as a beacon of hope for the un-free world. His unwavering drive to fulfill our virtue represented the rebirth of our national spirit and destruction of the “Evil Empire” opposing our free exercise of it. Those who stole our spirit during Vietnam called this bright light in our nation’s history a dark period and consistently opposed the exercise of our virtue.
American Spirit led the world to eject the Army of a ruthless dictator from Kuwait. Those who stole our spirit during Vietnam and opposed President Reagan’s exercise of it in the confrontation with the Soviet Union also opposed that fundamental fulfillment of our nation’s virtue. The American spirit leads. It does not fall into lockstep with international groupthink. It does not appease. It does not negotiate with evil. It does not view evil as an acceptable nuisance.
We entered a period when the people’s house did not stand as an example of American Spirit. Because it’s integrity and morality were so often in question, we lost focus of our most vital principle. We lost site of our spirit and an ominous threat to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness grew stronger and more dangerous because of it. Fortunately, America rejected the lack of integrity and morality in the people’s house. Integrity and the American Spirit returned to lead our nation. Unfortunately, the period of lost focus culminated in a murderous attack on our country. Exercising our American Spirit, we again confronted the evil. Millions, of oppressed people, now openly seek Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Confronting evil in our time and perpetuating the American spirit is our national destiny. The only route to a peaceful world is to spread across it Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Soon, we must all choose. We can choose the continuing rebirth of our American Spirit or we can hand it back to those who stole it from us before. Now is the time to look in the mirror of self and of nation. Do you see a reflection of our virtue – the unending drive for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for all people? Alternatively, do you see a reflection that steals our spirit?
This we must ask ourselves. We must also look other Americans in the eye and ask them. When we elect a leader of the free world on November 2, 2004, we send a message to the world that will reverberate for decades. The American Spirit lives. The American Spirit is dead. For the sake of the world, choose wisely.
Copyright © 2004 J.D. Pendry