I believe that America is a unique and exceptional place, and that you have an equally unique and exceptional role to play in it.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute blog/podcas
The Declaration of Independence in 1776 (Revolution 1.0) was the Founders’ Love Letter to America. Revolution 2.0™ is mine.
Dr. Martin Luther King called the Declaration’s breakthrough vision for a new nation “a promissory note”. I have called that vision a “statement of direction.” Whatever the descriptor, let these words sink in: “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 Constitution took the promises of the Declaration and gave us a set of rules, a path, to becoming a constitutional republic, with government having limited, enumerated powers. This path has led to the US being the world’s oldest free nation.
We are called to continue along this path. With all that has been done to continuously fulfill the promise of the Declaration, much has been left to us. So, with this calling, what should we do? “How then shall we live?” (Luke 22:31-38)
Today’s Action Item: Start with changing ourselves. Specifically, always think in terms of common goals when talking to yourself. No more who’s right and who’s wrong, winning or losing, this political label vs. that label. Common goals. Always and only. We change everything by–and only by–changing ourselves.
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”
Written by an unknown Monk around 1100 A.D.
The calling is not as much to rid the nation of vestigial prejudices or evening things out with more income redistribution as it is to not return to the days when we were ruled by King George III. No, today’s threat is not a one-person monarchy; it is something much worse. An entrenched, career-based, ruling-class government, surrounded and defended by millions of bureaucrats whose very livelihoods depend upon a government growing in size, scope and power. All bought and paid for with taxpayer dollars; dollars exchanged for the promise of riskless ease. We will be more comfortable than King George’s subjects, but we will be subjects nonetheless.
Let’s hear a voice from Revolution 1.0 in 1776. “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” –Patrick Henry in his famous “Give me liberty or give me death.” Revolution speech.
Paraphrasing, are ease and lack of risk “so dear” as to be purchased at the cost of increasingly limited freedoms, including mounting restrictions on what we can do and say–perhaps even think–without being subject to embarrassment, censure or worse? Ask anyone in a once-free, but no longer free country. Pick one. Italy under Mussolini? Spain under Franco? Then listen to this Q. and A. Q. “How did you lose your freedoms?” A. “Slowly at first, then all of a sudden.”
Along the way, America has, at terrible cost, remedied the major–and necessary flaws–imbedded in our founding society and laws. Slavery, women’s rights, the right of those without property to vote. Women could not vote until 1920. The military was not integrated until 1948. Brown v. the school Board of Topeka Kansas came in 1954. The Civil Rights Act came in 1964. And progress clearly continues. But we need to arrest the us vs. them path we are heading down now. Unless we do that, we will have won all of those battles, only to lose the war.
The founding documents created a country that was entirely unheard of at the time. France and Spain were divine-right monarchies; England, even with the House of Commons in Parliament, was little better. The Russian revolution did not come until 1917, and has not created a free nation. China has traded an hereditary monarchy for one-party rule.
Our revolution of 1776, Revolution 1.0, by all rights should have been squashed like a bug. An impoverished, mainly backwater country, took on the greatest financial and military power the world had ever seen. And won. Here’s a quick summary of the Revolution: We lost and we lost and we lost, then we won.
Returning briefly to today’s Action Item, let’s hear from Walk Kelly via Pogo, a swamp possum. “We have met the enemy and he is us.” –Walk Kelly, creator of Pogo comic strip. Let’s start by changing us. Change ourselves, change the world.
Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:
- Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.
If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.
The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.
Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”
- Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
- Comment in the blogs. Let others know what you are thinking.
- Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
- Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
- From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.
Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.
Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.
And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.
Links and References
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.
Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.