Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

October 30, 2010

 

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

–James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877

James Garfield

James Garfield was not one of our more distinguished presidents.  But then he didn’t have time to be: he was assassinated by a deranged individual in 1881, after serving only 200 days in office.  It would seem, however, that Garfield at least had a clear understanding of what was required of the nation if it were to continue to exist as a constitutional republic.

With that in mind, and with this all important mid-term election finally upon us, I thought it might be worth looking at some of the devious (not to say illegal) things our opponents have been up to lately.  And for those of you who might be first time readers to this blog, our opponents are the Democrats, the Liberals, the Progressives, or whatever the hell they choose to call themselves these days.  Let’s take a look at some key races.

In Nevada’s hotly contested Senate race, where Republican challenger Sharron Angle currently holds onto a slim lead over Democratic incumbent Harry Reid, otherwise known as the Progressive Prig of the Senate, the following chicanery has occurred:

  • Reid’s supporters have propped up a fake Tea Party candidate, Scott Ashjian, to siphon off votes that would otherwise go to Angle.  Of course Harry Reid himself denies all knowledge of any such thing. 1
  • Reid’s union thugs and other supporters are giving away free food and gift cards at early voting rallies, despite the fact that Nevada law expressly forbids such bribery.
  • The polls of at least one county in Nevada are controlled by Reid’s union supporters—the SEIU (Service Employees International Union)—and, not surprisingly, voters there have discovered that Reid’s name was automatically checked off on their ballots when they went to vote.  3

In Pennsylvania, where Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak are locked in a close Senate race, Democratic officials in the City of Philadelphia are literally handing out cash, otherwise known as “walking around money” or “street money” in order to buy votes.  Oh but don’t worry, it is a time-honored practice with roots in the corrupt politics of the nation’s inner-cities and involves campaigns actually making cash payouts to local political hacks and “community organizers” who then spread that money around to anyone who is willing to knock on doors and ratchet up voter turnout for Democratic candidates. 4

Turning to Arizona, the left-wing Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled against the state, striking down its law requiring proof of citizenship identification when residents are registering to vote thus making it much easier for illegal aliens, felons and others to fraudulently register and vote as though they were Arizona citizens. 5

Finally in Maryland, a state currently run by some of the most disgusting politicians in the country, Democratic officials are actually considering appealing a federal judge’s ruling that would extend the deadline for allowing absentee ballots for military personnel, currently serving on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be counted—a situation that was created by that state’s failure to timely comply with the law in the first place. 6

Now call me a rube, but it would seem to me that safeguarding the right to vote should be among the most basic, if not sacred, of duties for any who would involve themselves in the politics of this nation.  Without the integrity of that process—one so fundamental to any political system that purports to abide by democratic principles—the entire foundation upon which government rests must ultimately fragment and fall apart.

This country’s founders, like President James Garfield after them, understood that the nation they had formed would last only if its people were morally good and decent, and if those same qualities were reflected in the individuals the people chose to represent them.  As John Adams, considering the fragility of the newly created government, once wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Perhaps even more to the point was Benjamin Franklin.  Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him what kind of government they had given the country.  Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Can we indeed.

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Notes:

Fn. 1: http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/10/sharron-angle-builds-lead-on-harry-reid-in-nevada-race/

Fn. 2: http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=7539

Fn. 3: http://biggovernment.com/publius/2010/10/26/the-seiu-harry-reid-and-voting-problems/

Fn. 4: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/28/walking-money-alive-election/

Fn. 5: http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/arizona-looses-9th-circuit-court-voter-identification-requirement

Fn. 6: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/29/maryland-weighs-appeal-military-voters-win-extension-absentee-ballots/

_____________________

Related Posts:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/decision-time/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/to-be-american/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/coming-undone/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

To Be American

July 4, 2010

I. What is it to be American?

What is it to be an American?  Is it to live at certain points on a map?  Is it to have the right to vote?  Is it to have the right to free speech?  Is it to have the strongest military?  Is it capitalism?  Is it George Washington?  Norman Rockwell?  William Faulkner?  Aaron Copland?  John Wayne?  Baseball?  Apple pie?  All of the above?  None of the above?  Or is it something much more?

II. America is an Idea

America is really an idea: an idea of liberty, or freedom.  It is an idea that recognizes man is born with certain rights which are inseparable from him.  It is an idea of a new nation.  A nation based on a form of government by the consent of the governed, founded on certain principles, and granted certain powers organized in such a way as to best secure those rights and liberties for the people it governs.  This idea of a new American nation is set out in two separate but interconnected documents: The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.  The Constitution flows from and is a natural outgrowth of the principles of the Declaration. 

III. The Vision of the Founders

The men who created and shaped these two documents, America’s founding fathers, were men of great vision but also men of practical common sense.  They truly believed they were putting forth self-evident truths, but they knew full well the radical departure they were taking from what must have seemed, at the time, the destined march of human history.  So when Thomas Jefferson put ink-dipped quill to paper, the Declaration of Independence, he knew, would be a fundamental rejection of all other forms of government extant at that time.  Most especially, the Founders of the new American nation were intent on differentiating and separating themselves (or dissolving all political bands) from the country that was their progenitor turned antagonist: Great Britain.

In taking this upon themselves, the Founders relied on the protection of Divine Providence and pledged to one another their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  If they failed, they knew that their lives would be over, and that no future history would remember them for long.  Indeed, they and their cause would be a mere footnote to history: rebels who dared challenge the might of the British Empire and who were justly crushed by it.  But they did not fail.  Miraculously, they succeeded in their cause.  They prevailed, even though at times all seemed lost. 

The Founders knew, however, that it would not be enough to merely win.  They knew that if they were victorious over the British they could not simply substitute one kind of tyranny for another: one despotic ruler for another despotic ruler.  No, the form of government which they would need to create and put in place would have to be something quite different from the European model of a supreme centralized state authority as embodied in the personage of a king.  Indeed, so worried were they about this, that the first form of government they ratified, the Articles of Confederation, was hardly a government at all.  It was so removed from any central form of government that it resulted in near anarchy and was an utter failure.  So they tried again.  And this time they got the balance right.

The Founders envisioned and created a new and unique form of government.  They foresaw that if they put in place only that government which was absolutely necessary, such conditions would allow the maximum amount of liberty for the people.  They knew government could never deliver happiness to people and, if it ever tried, it would only create the opposite result.  Rather, they understood that if people were merely allowed to pursue their own happiness, that they would, and that in their own way they would find it.

They also foresaw that power in such a system of government would need to be diffuse.  They understood all too well that men were not to be trusted with power: that they were easily corrupted by it.  Hence, the form of government they would establish would have power so balanced and so spread throughout its various layers that no one individual or group of individuals could credibly accumulate and concentrate power and so pervert the system into tyranny. 

And so, the formulation of a system of government was created based on certain guaranteed liberties and certain checks and balances on power.  It was to be one that would be a bulwark against those unscrupulous individuals who crave power and would seek to use power to subvert liberty.

IV. American Exceptionalism

Alexis de Tocqueville

So unique was this new system of American government that people began to talk about it, and the concept of “American Exceptionalism” arose.  American Exceptionalism is something I have touched on several times before in these writings.  It is a philosophy that can be traced back to Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian who in the 1830s travelled throughout the young American nation and was quite impressed by what he saw.  And no wonder. Coming from Europe where despotism was still entrenched, American democracy was a refreshing and remarkable experiment.  So inspired was he that he wrote about it.  His treatise, Democracy in America, is a major work on the early American nation, its government and society.  In it, he depicted America as having established a form of government that created a remarkable balance between individual liberty and the needs of the community.  In this, he saw the young American nation as truly unique in the world.  Indeed, it was exceptional.

V.  Abraham Lincoln and American Liberty

Abraham Lincoln also knew that America was a unique and exceptional nation.  Delivered in the midst of the Civil War, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a kind of testament and prayer in recognition of America’s unique position in the world.  At the time, the fate of this nation “conceived in liberty” must have seemed very much in doubt, and Lincoln obviously feared that this, the only beacon of liberty on earth, could very well be snuffed out.  On this July 4th, it is worth remembering his stirring and enduring words:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. –Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863.

The nation survived that ordeal, but both Lincoln, and the Founders before him, knew that this unique concept, this idea of liberty embodied in a nation, would be tested throughout its existence, as it had been during the Civil War.  And they knew it would be tested from without and from within.  The year following his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln made the following statement on liberty:

We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.  –Abraham Lincoln, 1864

VI. Liberty and Tyranny Today

Lincoln’s quote on liberty and tyranny seems most prescient.  For in America today there are those who would call a thing liberty when it is really tyranny.  They are Americans who would do with other Americans and the product of other Americans’ labors as they please and all the while call that liberty.  Or compassion.  Or spreading the wealth.  Or social justice.  Or socialism.  But by whatever words they may call it, it has but one name: tyranny.

They are the ones Lincoln and the Founders forewarned us against.  They are the ones who would test liberty again and again and, if they could, take America away from what it was and remake her into something else.  They would use the power of the government as a tool to compel Americans to do what they think Americans should be doing with their lives.  They would use the power of government to compel Americans to embrace certain things and give up other things; to compel Americans to obey certain rules but dispense with other rules.  And they would call these actions the granting of “rights” and they would do so operating under the banner of liberty.  They would change, if they succeed, the very idea of America.  

And they are succeeding.  They are doing these things right now, and they are doing them from within.  There are leaders in America today who think it is government’s role and function to change people’s inclinations: to get them to do what they think they should do.  They seek to enact laws that purport to make certain groups or classes of people healthier and happier; or laws that are intended to make things more affordable, or safer, or cleaner, or easier, or more efficient; or laws designed to advance a particular cause or industry or private—but politically connected—entity within an industry.  In essence doling out happiness, to some.  And all at the expense of other people.  This stands diametrically against everything the Founders envisioned for this country.  And it is an anathema to the very idea of America.  Charity and compassion when compelled by governments, are neither charity nor compassion.  They are hoped-for handouts, that in turn become expected welfare, and that in turn become entitlements.

Most Americans today don’t think or probably even care much about all this stuff.  For them, it is just a bunch of politicians bickering, as usual.  But make no mistake: there is a war going on right now and right here in America.  Not a war fought with guns and bullets (at least not yet) but with ideas.  And the victor will determine the kind of nation we will be.  On the one side are those who believe the Founders got it right from the beginning.  That their formulation is one that works better than any other system ever has or ever could.  On the other side are those who think that the Founders’ views, while perhaps historically interesting, are to be seen as quaint and misguided, and in these modern times, certainly outdated.  They see the Founders as just a bunch of decrepit old white men who dressed funny and wore funny wigs and who just “wouldn’t get” what America is all about today.  They see America as having run its course, as being on the wrong side of history, as needing to be more like modern Europe or other nations of the world.  They see America as a country in desperate need of change, or even “fundamental transformation.”  There is no single idea or viewpoint that could be more wrong or more dangerous to this country’s existence than this one, for it takes aim at the very heart of what we are.

VII. Conclusion

What makes us exceptional, unique and unlike the other nations of the world, both past and present, is an idea.  An idea of liberty that binds us together as Americans.  We, as a nation, took a divergent path off of the historical road towards strong centralized government.  Yet, there are those who would have us return to that road and become more like other nations.  If we do, we will move further away from what we are meant to be: further away from what it means to be American.

The Founders bequeathed to us and made us stewards of a simple and elegant formula.  A way for a self-governing and self-reliant people to pursue happiness on earth.  For the Founders, it was their vision, their dream.  And to be American today is to have the great privilege to actually live this beautiful dream as a reality.  Now, why on earth would we ever want to change that?

Related posts on this topic:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/coming-undone/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/america-r-i-p/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/glenn-beck%e2%80%99s-cpac-speech-tiger-woods-and-toilet-bowls-a-blackboard-and-brilliance/

Communist Leader Castro Applauds Obamacare: Oh Gee, What a Surprise!

March 27, 2010

Fidel Castro is a very happy man.  The Communist revolutionary leader of Cuba declared the passage of healthcare reform in America as “a miracle” and a major victory for President Obama.  However, he went on to say that something this basic was really way overdue.  In a statement, Castro said, “It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence…  the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago.” (Emphasis added.)  Indeed, it took the Communist Castro government about ten minutes after they assumed power in Cuba to “approve” healthcare along with other “rights” for their fellow comrades. 1

The key words in Castro’s statement are “government” and “approve.”  Government decides when and what rights to approve or grant its citizenry.  As I explain in a prior post our rights in America do not derive from the government but from our own individual humanity, and they are guaranteed to us under the United States Constitution.

See: https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

Therefore, universal healthcare is not a right.  Or at least that was the case up until now.  According to the Communist-Socialist-Progressive way, your rights do in fact emanate from the government – in particular from elites within the government who know what’s best for the country and for you.  In their philosophy, the government is the mechanism through which all societal ills and problems are solved and all wrongs are righted, and thereby “social justice” is accomplished.  Under their rule, government goes from the protector of our rights under the Constitution, to the provider of rights independent of the Constitution.  Government goes from guardian to grantor, and that which the government giveth, it can also taketh away.

But this Progressive victory notwithstanding, the Cuban leader wasn’t all sunshine and kisses for Mr. Obama.  He criticized the President for his lack of leadership in other areas like immigration reform and climate change.

Oh, don’t you worry Fidel, those things are coming soon.  Let’s take it one right at a time.

_________________________________

Fn. 1: Among these “rights” were also the right of the government to expropriate private property, do away with a free press, and imprison, torture and execute any and all dissenters.

For more on this topic, click to the links below:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/fortune-favors-the-brave/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/america-r-i-p/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/inconvenient-history-3/

Gem of the Week: Porn Exchange

March 6, 2010

As a publicity stunt, it seems a cabal of Godless young enterprisers at the University of Texas at San Antonio are offering their fellow students porn in exchange for their bibles.  According to the student atheist group, pornography is no worse than the text of the Bible, so why not do a fair exchange?  Well, not to get too technical, but the standard dictionary definition of pornography is: “films, magazines, writings, photographs, or other materials that are sexually explicit and intended to cause sexual arousal.” (Emphasis added.)  While there appear to be arguments out there (way out there) that the Bible contains some passages that could be interpreted as slightly suggestive (eg., The Old Testament’s Song of Solomon), one can hardly seriously argue that these rise to the level of sexual explicitness intending to cause arousal.  Or to put it another way, if you’re reaching for the Bible to get your jollies, you’re pretty pathetic.

At any rate, there is nothing novel about yet another group of self-important college students employing sophomoric shock tactics to seek attention.  However, what is news is the school’s reaction to the event.  When asked for comment, school officials mildly replied that the atheist group is perfectly within its legal rights to conduct the swap.  According to University Spokesman David Gabler: “As long as students are not violating laws or violating the Constitution, they have the freedom of speech and assembly.”  He elaborated, “We are a marketplace of free ideas here at UTSA, and our students have all constitutional rights afforded to all individuals in the United States.”

Well isn’t that nice.  Apparently, the school is not the least bit scandalized by any of this.    At a time when colleges seem to think of every reason under the sun why a conservative group cannot have this or that speaker appear on campus, how refreshing it is to see the open-minded University of Texas officials suddenly standing up for free speech and assembly in the marketplace of ideas.  Given this new laissez-faire approach, one wonders if they would be quite so accommodating of other groups employing similarly obscene tactics.  Suppose a Christian student group decided to do a Bible for Quran exchange?  What if a white supremacist student group offered an exchange of Hitler’s Mein Kampf for copies of the Torah?  Or an even greater sacrilege: an exchange of Mein Kampf for Barrack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope.  Would the liberal thinking administrators of the University of Texas still be so tepidly neutral?

Our rights are guaranteed under the Constitution and are there for our protection, not for our abuse.  On the spectrum of bad examples the school could set for its students, the only thing worse than condoning the abuse of a right (in this case free speech), is the picking and choosing of when and for whom a right applies, and when and for whom it does not.  And that is nothing short of obscene.

For a related post, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/gem-of-the-week-oh-canada-what-a-houles-you-are/

The Arrogance of Hope

March 4, 2010

He is the distinguished college professor seated at the head of his class.  Today’s subject: universal healthcare.  He calls on his students one by one.  Have they done their homework?  Have they completed the assignment to his satisfaction?  Did they come to class prepared with the answers that he wants to hear?  He calls on Johnny McCain who inappropriately raises the issue of unequal treatment of citizens under the proposed law.  The professor summarily scolds him, reminding him that the campaign is now over.  As an upperclassman, Johnny should know better than to revert to mere talking points!  Then there is little Eric Cantor who had the temerity to bring the 2700 page assignment with him to class.  He needs to be scolded too.  Ostentatious props like that are uncalled for and serve only to distract from the intellectual discussion.  Then there is naughty Paul Ryan who just didn’t have his facts right. The professor will need to speak with him after class.  Alas, it would appear that at least some of his students are very delinquent indeed!  But then there are his honor students: Joey Biden, Harry Reid, and of course teacher’s pet Nancy Pelosi.  They all followed the professor’s instructions implicitly and so get to go to the head of the class.  Well if there is nothing further, class dismissed!  Now the professor, with the able help of his honor students, can return to his treatise on universal healthcare and the reshaping of American culture and society.

The arrogance is nothing new; only it was on full display at last week’s healthcare summit.  Americans who had the weekday leisure hours (and infinite patience) to tune in saw in microcosm the raw conceit that is the defining quality of this administration’s approach, not just to the healthcare, but every policy debate.  Perhaps the campaign trail is where he first learned he could get away with it, and indeed he did.  Being derisive of conservatives and conservative ideas will always win you points with the broad-minded liberal media. 

But it is much more than that.  Arrogance towards opposing ideas and derision towards those who stand in opposition is really what Progressive Liberalism is all about.  “If you disagree with me, it is because you are stupid.” That is the basic mindset.  “And because you are stupid, I don’t need to listen to you, you need only do as I say.”  When his healthcare plan is rejected by two-thirds of the American public, it is not because it is a bad idea, but because the ignorant masses are just too dumb to understand it.  So he will try to explain it in simpler terms so that they can understand it.  And if they still don’t get it, then tough sh*t!  Elections have consequences. The last election was about “hope and change”, but did anyone stop to ask what that really means.  Now that the campaign is over (as we are constantly reminded) apparently hope and change really mean entitlement and transformation: the entitlement of the governing elite to transform the society of the governed.

... or else!

This is the nature of Progressivism and, historically, has been the political approach of Progressives in America since the beginning of the twentieth century.  The governed are not to be listened to, but instead instructed by the governing elite in matters of health, wealth and general welfare.  Only the governing Progressive elites, having superior education and understanding, are qualified to fathom the multifarious aspects of daily life in an increasingly complex society.  It is they, therefore, who are best suited to make decisions for the average American citizen, who will only screw things up for himself.  Only the Progressives are capable of brininging about much needed change through the implementation of a whole raft of government programs.  And yet, none of the programs of the Progressives are based on any grasp of reality, but rather on an imagined vision of the future.  It is a vision of how to change reality.  A vision of a society reshaped and reordered in their image.  And once power is gained, that hoped for vision becomes expectation.  And the nearer the goal of the vision’s realization, the more expectation grows into entitlement.  Healthcare for all is now something to which we are entitled.  Healthcare is now a right.  In an America where rights are still defined under the Constitution and are God-given, this line of thinking is nothing short of arrogance: the arrogance of hope.

But the approach of the Progressives is not without its consequences, at least as long as we still live in a Democratic Republic.  Last week, average Americans finally got a long look at their methods and, in that sense at least, the healthcare summit did some good.  Regardless of how things play out over the coming weeks and months, there is always the ballot box, where Americans as voters will at last be able to send arrogance back from whence it came: the world of academia, where it doesn’t matter much.

Glenn Beck’s CPAC Speech: Tiger Woods and Toilet bowls, a Blackboard and Brilliance

February 27, 2010
 
Glenn Beck at CPAC

In an America that has grown up in a hurry – some might say too much of a hurry – Glenn Beck is someone saying “hold on just a minute.”  In Beck’s stirring speech before CPAC this past weekend (he was last Saturday’s keynote speaker) the conservative political commentator showcased his brilliance not merely as an orator but as the maestro of a mass movement disaffected toward the present state of American politics and big government.  In his delivery, Beck is at turns funny, flamboyant, histrionic, sarcastic and just plain brilliant.  In an age of teleprompters and cunningly crafted sound bites, Beck at all times speaks from the heart.

Beck is a Constitutional purist: a true believer in the great men who founded this country.  He believes that those men of genius got it right from the start and still have it right today: that America is an idea—an idea that sets people free.  And so Beck is a believer in all the greatness that was and still can be America.  His speech begins with a fond remembrance of Ronald Reagan (himself a former and frequent keynote speaker at CPAC) and the conservative President’s “Morning in America” slogan.  As bad as things seem, Beck assures us that it is still morning in America, albeit one where we are all hung-over and gripping the toilet bowl after the excesses of the previous night’s binge.

Beck is a self-taught student of history and a believer in the lessons it has to teach those who would only seek to learn from it.  In particular, Beck warns time and again about the unfortunate history of Progressives and the Progressive movement in America.  At CPAC, he actually had his trusty blackboard hauled out onto the stage so he could write out the word: Progressives.  “This is the disease!” Beck exclaims.  Progressives and Progressivism are the cancer that is eating away at America and the American Constitution.  It is a big government socialist utopia that must be eradicated.  The two (the Constitution and Progressivism), says Beck, cannot coexist, and the country needs big thinkers and brave people “with spines” to combat the Progressive disease.  But Beck, speaking to his conservative and pro-Republican audience, is not convinced that the Republican Party is even up to that challenge.  Drawing parallels to Tiger Woods, he says he still hasn’t seen a sincere “come to Jesus” style mea culpa from Republican leaders who, like a recovering alcoholic (which Beck himself is), need to admit that they have a problem too (with too much government spending and too little integrity).  It’s not enough, Beck says, “just to not suck as much” as the Democrats.  Beck speaks often and passionately about the need to have leaders who won’t “check their souls at the door” when they take on the privilege and responsibilities of elected office.  In this respect, one could say Beck has taken on the mantle of a modern John the Baptist in search of his country’s messiah, and one wonders if he would ever consider the lead role for himself.

Beck concludes his CPAC speech with a brilliant exposition on the little known back-story connected to the Statue of Liberty.  He explains that the French didn’t simply gift it to the United States as a mere gesture of goodwill between nations.  But rather it was given with the ulterior motive of mocking their fellow Europeans at a time when Europe was in the midst of its own upheavals and soul searching.  Further, it was a statement of admiration, not to say envy, toward a new and dynamic nation that, after its first one-hundred years, was beginning to come into its own.  This is a strong message and counterpoint for today when our own leaders seem to be saying we should become more like Europe!

The true intent and meaning behind the Statue of Liberty becomes evident when one reads (as Beck does) the entire poem that is engraved within the pedestal on which the statue stands.  The full poem reads thus:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

—Emma Lazarus, 1883

The poet and critic James Russell Lowell wrote that the poem gave the Statue of Liberty its “raison d’être.”  Beck would undoubtedly agree, but would add that the poem transforms the statue from a fancy welcome mat for immigrants into a testament to the world of indelible hope and endless possibilities for all who might yearn to breathe free, including even those that the storied nations of Europe, with their old systems and internecine struggles, would discard.

As Glenn Beck and many others would see it, the Statue of Liberty is really what America is all about.  And America is an idea that sets people free.