Americanism — Who are We?

America’s progress and continued success depends upon an unshakable defense of personal freedom. Freedom that ends if we stop understanding its origins. Government is far to eager to seize these liberties and to make them a ruling power.  We the people must never forget that we have been given equal and unalienable rights that can’t be taken away by government because government is far lesser than the power granting them to us.  If we lose sight of this and grow complacent, we will very likely repeat our past histories, turning inward on ourselves only to destroy ourselves.

America is the greatest experiment of self-government because it recognized that progress meant trusting and protecting the power and ingenuity of the free individual. Free to be, free to think, to speak, to be critical, to reason and to write. Progress comes from the power of the individual and not any forceful government, marauding factions of singularly minded extremists, emotional majorities, siloed academics or preachy elitists. In the United States of America, power comes from the bottom up. That is, power comes equally and unalienably from each one of us. But, competing interests make compromise impossible without dialogue and debate.  There has got to remain some willingness to seek the legitimacy in the opposing views. Demonizing rhetoric only hardens and entrenches your adversaries, it changes no hearts and no minds. Best outcomes require an intellectually diverse melting pot where all views are given a seat at the table. The truth, warts and all, is imperative for a society to grow and to advance.

Our founders recognized that success required a central government that could restrain itself, so they limited the federal authority, reserving specific powers to the states, to the individual and to an unchanging human nature. These powerful rights are so important and irrefutably understood that they were spelled out for all eternity in our declaration of independence and the first ten amendments to our constitution, our beloved individual Bill of Rights. “Manifest Destiny” forever enshrines the secret to our success, a rugged and pioneering American spirit full of fierce and self-determined independence and a devoted love of liberty. If we lose this, we lose ourselves.

We are not free if we live to censor thought or speech or when we are unduly shaming others to force a preferred response or if we are too sensitive to tolerate views which we don’t share. We are not free if we think human progress means taking from others and violating their liberties because we envy their successes, qualities, or possessions. If we are having to create unfair, unjust, and totally distorted contempt’s against anyone, just because we don’t think and live as they do, then we are no longer living free.

Force, control, and compulsion will only bring less peace, more division, less freedom, and more inequality.  We are still Americans, citizens of the most exceptional experiment of self-government and we still hold these truths about humankind and its humanity to be self-evident. But, if we lose the courage to stand up and to defend our liberty than we have surrendered, closed our minds, and lost our country.

Bob Chester
Somers, CT

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