Renewing the American Spirit

Patriot Week begins on 9/11 and ends on 9/17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (Constitution Day)) and renews America’s spirit by celebrating the First Principles, Founding Fathers and other Patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags that make America the greatest nation in world history. Many of current holidays have become overly commercialized or have lost their deeper meaning. We need to invigorate our appreciation and understanding of America’s spirit. This blog is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Patriot Week - and America - alive all year long.....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Washington - A True Profile in Courage & Deserving of His Own Holiday

Although recounting all the reasons we should celebrate Washington would take several books, one striking instance was a battle early in his career.  On July 9, 1755, he was accompanying British General Braddock and his expeditionary forces, and they were ambushed by French and Indian troops.  Braddock did not survive the encounter, and many other British officers were slain. Washington gained famed for establishing an orderly retreat and preventing the potential annihilation of the entire force.  

He wrote to Governor Dinwiddle that "I luckily escap'd with't a wound, tho's I had four Bullets through my Coat and two horses shot under me."   He explained to his relative Augustine Washington, that he survived by "the miraculous care of Providence, that protected me beyond all human expectation." 

The courage Washington mustered in that encountered presaged his entire life. Time after time he stood up to hostile forces which were expected to defeat him, albeit a rain of bullets or political challenges, and prevailed.  America owes her independence, and freedom, to Washington's tremendous courage - and the miraculous care of Providence that protected him.

Although generally recognized by the culture as "Presidents' Day," the actual federal holiday (if you noticed it) today is Washington's birthday.  It has been destroyed by fixing the holiday to a Monday, as opposed to Washington's true birthday of February 22.  There was a reason that Washington received his own holiday, and its time we remember it.

For more on Washington and other great patriots, visit and

Saturday, February 16, 2013

God Given Rights - But for Us to Protect

President Barack Obama echoed the Declaration of Independence at the State of the Union Address earlier this week when he stated, "Defending our freedom, though is not the just the job of our military alone.  We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home." 

This is a particularly American sentiment in more than one way.  First, our rights are "God-given."  This is something almost forgotten in today's political discourse.  The Declaration of Independence refers to our rights as being "endowed by the Creator" and that they are unalienable.  This First Principle of unalienable rights must form the core of our understanding of rights - not a sideshow.  Most people live in countries where the government rejects the idea of unalienable rights - they live where the government bestows the rights.  Well, then they are not rights at all, but privileges, subject to the whims of the master.  Not in America.  Not yet.

Second, "We must all do our part" to protect those rights.  In most countries, the government has the responsibility to protect privileges.  Here in the People have the responsibility.  That is why we cherish the rights of free speech, free press, the right to assemble, the right to petition, and right to vote.  We must keep this freedom.  Depending on the government to do it for you will ensure you lose it.  

In our sharply divided country, many passionately disagree with President Obama on many issues.  Hopefully we can all unite on these precious advice.

For more on our First Principles, visit and

Friday, February 15, 2013

Religious Liberty Secured in 313 AD: Alas, 1700 years later and what have we learned?

Western Roman Emperor Constantine the Great entered the Edict of Milan with Eastern Roman Emperor Licinius Augustus in 313 A.D.  The great Edict required Constantine to protect Christians and other religious minorities from persecution.  Christians, of course, had literally been thrown to the lions, and now they and others were safe to worship.  The unalienable right of the free exercise of religion was secured for citizens of the Roman Empire.

But not for long.  In 391 A.D., Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the state church, and the persecution of other religions started in full force.  Christians, who were once the persecuted, became the persecutors.  For thousands of years church and state were intermingled - and Christianity often warred among itself.  Religiously inspired insurrections, oppressions, and purges were the dominant reality.

Then something remarkable happened.  America's independence allowed a new thinking to take hold.  Led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Virginia protected the free exercise of religion by eliminating its state support of an established religion.  Soon, with Madison's prodding, the federal government (and most states quickly fell in line) embedded in the First Amendment the protection of religious worship and the prohibition of a government church.

Unfortunately, that lesson is still not yet learned across the globe.  Iran, as just one example, is a theocracy of the most brutal order.

When you attend your next religious service (or choose not to do so), remember that the legacy of the Edict of Milan was short-lived, and so may be the First Amendment.  History ebbs and flows - just because we have the freedom today does not mean it shall always be so.  Work to preserve your liberty everyday.

For more about the First Principle of unalienable rights and the free exercise of religion, visit and

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Citizen" - Our Highest Calling

"We may do different jobs, and wear different uniforms, and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title: We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story." Barack Obama, State of the Union Address (2013).

Just a few hours ago, President Obama explained that perhaps our highest calling is that of "citizen."  As citizens, we have certain rights, and certain duties and obligations.  We have a Constitution we are sworn to uphold, a country to protect, and liberty to defend.  The First Principle of the Social Compact requires that we take these obligations seriously.  When we fail to do so, our social fabric unravels, and we are all at risk.  Far too many fail to vote, fail to become educated in the issues of the day, and trample on the law without even thinking about it.  Take your responsibilities as citizen seriously, and encourage others to do the same.  Freedom depends on it.

To learn about the Social Compact and citizenship, visit and

Monday, February 11, 2013

Safely Unpopular - Test of Freedom

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular." Adlai Stevenson (October 7, 1952 (Detroit)).

Presidential candidate Stevenson's concise definition may be incomplete, but it is essential.  In too many ages, in too many societies, to be unpopular was - and is - a ticket to the dungeon or execution.

Yet, the unpopular position often becomes the all but unchallenged  position generations later.  Women's suffrage, abolitionism, and civil rights were all unpopular in large segments of America at its founding, and now it is difficult to imagine how that could be.  Yesterday's heresy is tomorrow's orthodoxy.  That is how a free society grows.

The failure to allow the unpopular view - witness the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Syria - creates pressure that ensures unrest - and often the demise of the oppressive government - but not without terrible costs.

Just as important, the right to speak and print one's mind - no matter how unpopular - is an unalienable right given to us by Nature and Nature's God, and is protected our Bill of Rights.  Attempts to censor us results not only in bad policy, but is the very definition of tyranny.  That is why its so important to protect all opinions - regardless of their popularity.  After all, it wouldn't be much of a free society if all that was protected was the popular speech - it doesn't need the protection, its the heresy and sacrilege  that needs it.

For more about our unalienable rights, visit and

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Integrity First, Intelligence Second, Settle for Nothing Less - Teddy Roosevelt’s Old Adage is Today’s Cure

In a letter to Jonas Van Duzer written in 1883, Teddy Roosevelt wrote, “In making up committees I should pay attention, first, to the absolute integrity of the men, second to their capacity to deal intelligently with the matters likely to come before them - for in our present anything but ideal condition of public affairs, honesty and common sense are the two prime requisites for a legislator.”  

Roosevelt’s observation is timeless.  As we suffer (especially in Southeast Michigan) with scandal upon scandal, Roosevelt's advice apparently has been ignored by much of the electorate and political class.  Scoundrels and corrupt officials seem to hover about the entire machinery of the republic.  

Thoughtful, cool and courageous consideration of issues is a rarity - poisonous vindictive, politics of personal destruction hold much greater sway.

As a republic, our future rests in the voting public.  For us to move forward in a productive way, true to our founding First Principles, we need our voters to start electing  officials of integrity and intelligence, and hold them accountable to the First Principles of our Declaration of Independence - the rule of law, unalienable rights, equality, the Social Compact, and limited government.   And that starts now, by learning what those principles are and casting informed votes.

To learn more, visit and

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Learn History & Grow Up

Roman statesman and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero declared that “Not to know what happened before you were born, that is to be always a boy, to be forever a child.”  

Not much has changed in the last couple of thousand years.  If you act like nothing is important except what has happened since you were born, you will be both enormously ignorant and incapable of making mature and wise decisions.  All the more so for our public servants - who too often don't even bother to consult our founding documents like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence when making public policy. Our media, cultural, and educational classes often treat our history with ignorance or purposeful disdain. Is it in any wonder that many of social institutions are imploding, there is a crisis in leadership, and that many problems are so vexing and intractable that gridlock and paralysis has become the norm?  

Not that our Founding Fathers were perfect - far from it.  Not that all of today's problems can be solved by looking to the past - many of today's problems were inconceivable generations ago.  But we disarm ourselves when we refuse - or simply forget about - the lessons of history.  Often what is new really is old.  History provides a vast resource by which to learn from the mistakes and successes over the ages - including that failing to heed to historical lessons means you are often condemned to learn them anew - at a terrible price.  Time to grow up.