It's been a tad longer than usual since my last post. I have been working on an essay about the furor over the new Arizona illegal immigration law. It's a difficult essay because it's a difficult problem. The debate is long on emotion and short on logic. It is for subjects like this that I posted the quote at the bottom of this blog, "Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood."
To some, it may have been only a song title from the era of my youth, but to me, it is an earnest prayer. I have spent my life trying to express myself clearly, mostly to no avail. I tend to ramble on until I have lost my train of thought, or my perspective, or my regard for the opinions and feelings of others. It is the main reason for this blog. It's the reason I write, so I can be thoughtful and reflective instead of reactive and argumentative when I express myself. That goal has been only partially achieved.
And so I am still editing the piece. I'm OK with that, the topic deserves the time and thought. In the meantime, I stumbled across a quote, mainly by accident, (or maybe it was serendipity).
And it caused me to write this piece instead.
Today we had a most welcome and unexpected guest at our home. A very dear friend of ours came to town and we were excited to hear she could visit us. Of course, she brought us gifts. Unnecessary gifts are the very best kind. The gifts were a pizza and a book. Both were fabulous. The pizza is gone. The book will last for a lifetime.
As some of you know, I'm a history buff. I'm not really good at it, but I enjoy it more than almost anything else I do. The book is titled "The Civil War" by author Geoffrey C. Ward. It's an illustrated history of that conflict. I already own it, so I plan on re-gifting it. The one I already have was a gift from someone who loved me, on some occasion, many years ago. But since my memory is poor nowadays, I cannot remember the last time I looked at it or who gave it to me. (I'd bet plenty it was my wife, she knows me the best and loves me the most.)
As I welcomed the book like an old friend I was trying to catch up with, the first page I turned had a quote on it. It might have been written yesterday. It concerns a concept which I have always held true, but one that is met with incredulous stares when expressed publicly.
Many people think you are crazy when you express it as an opinion. Left wing writers go bonkers when they hear it. (As far as I am concerned, they were bonkers before, but let's just say the reaction is not the same as when they get that "tingle going up their leg" like they do when Obama speaks.)
The concept is simply, no other country, or group of countries on this earth can ever take our freedom by force. Only we can do that.
We can cede our rights and freedoms to ourselves in an act of personal and national suicide, but no Hitler or Tojo or Osama can take it from us by force. True Americans will never allow it.
As one of my most important childhood mentors, Ralph Rose, told me on several occasions when I was a high school kid, "Better dead than red." And as someone who fought in "the forgotten war", Korea, he meant it. Literally.
The quote is as follows;
"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? 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...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...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."
Abraham Lincoln, 1838.
Lincoln knew, and he wasn't afraid to say, that the dangers to our freedoms and rights was/is from within. And although he wrote those words 172 years ago, the steady erosion of our rights has always been perpetrated by our own governments. From slavery to "Jim Crow", from internment camps of our own citizens during WWII to property takings in a perversion of eminent domain, we have always lost our rights primarily to ourselves via government. And the pace of such losses has recently increased more than uncomfortably. Our government should be our servant to defend our rights. Instead, it has become an enemy to our fundamental freedoms.
So who now to be our savior? The only people saving anything around here lately are Jesus of Nazareth and Antti Niemi of the Chicago Black Hawks.
That leaves us. To defend ourselves at the ballot box in November or finish the job of self annihilation by staying on what Friedrich von Hayek called "the road to serfdom."
Somehow, I don't think Barak Obama had this Lincolnian concept in mind when he claimed Ole Abe as his political idol back in 2008.