Back in 1831, a young French aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville, was curious about our new, developing government here in the colonies. After a lengthy visit, he wrote a mammoth volume of his observations in a book called, “Democracy in America”. He concluded that, “America is great because she is good; when America ceases to be good, then she will cease to be great.”
However, the freedom and prosperity we enjoy here are fragile things. President Calvin Coolidge said that, “Freedom is not only bought with a great price; it is maintained by unremitting effort.”
Our system of government and economics is good, but just the system by itself is insufficient to bring about the continued order, prosperity and progress we so richly enjoy.
Our Founding Fathers understood a key principle—that government is incapable of coercing good behavior. They realized that good behavior was a result of training in religious and moral principles. John Adams explained it this way. He said, “Our Constitution was made ONLY for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Noah Webster, in a textbook that he wrote for public schools, told students, “All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
George Washington, in his farewell address said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity—religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
Washington was so strongly convinced of this truth that he believed and stated that no man could be called an American patriot if that man tried to weaken religion or morality in the public arena.
Are we hearing many community and national leaders saying this today?
I firmly believe that the domestic problems and the foreign dangers, which disturb our nation today, are due to the crumbling of the moral and spiritual foundations upon which this great nation was founded. Without moral and spiritual absolutes, our country is doomed to further decay and destruction.
We need to be instrumental in building the future with strong morally excellent families, churches, businesses and schools.
I LOVE this country and am a passionate patriot. I have come to conclude that what is so good about America is its people. And when its people cease to be great so will our nation.
America’s moral decline has occurred, not because those who hate God have done so much, but rather that those who love God have done so little! Unbelief, corrupted church doctrine, secularization of our educational system and the decline of active citizen participation in the political process have all sorely contributed to our nation’s moral decline.
Young people, I share these thoughts and comments with you, not to stir up fear or debate, but rather to stir up action.
Our government – of, for, and by the people – will be strengthened only as our people are morally strengthened; and that starts in the home, not in the community. If we continue to hold on to political correctness, instead of moral correctness, our nation shall perish.
I mentioned previously that what is so good about America is its people. However, its people are often naïve and uninformed, relying too heavily on our secularly saturated media reports which tend to be skewed to a liberal, socialist, humanist worldview.
In the past few years, I have had many occasions to visit our local high schools to speak to them about our people and our America. I also have had the opportunity to share some of my experiences I had while serving as a nurse in Vietnam and have been pleasantly surprised to find that many of these classes are full of great kids, just like you guys. They are full of energy and a vibrant, wholesome outlook, much different from that which is often portrayed in the news. I share with them that in Vietnam I had the privilege of working with and trying to help some of the men whom I call the finest threads of America’s cloth.
This is the example of the kind of young people America has at its heart. I believe that there are many more of our youth with this kind of bravery, moral code, sense of duty and love of country who are willing to work hard for a good future. I think the voice of truth is going to get louder and louder because it is YOU who must speak. Our country is full of Americans who look upon work as a blessing, who deeply appreciate a free enterprise system, which helps us maintain our privately owned, for-profit production and distribution systems.
Our great country is a unique blend (that I believe has been orchestrated by God). We have many people of high moral character with a will to work; we have the greatest degree of individual responsibility and freedom the world has ever seen. We have an abundance of capital, natural resources, a labor supply and good transportation. The blessings of capitalism are most abundant in America. That is why I urge us all to make sure the “curses” of capitalism are held at bay ... the curses of greed, bribery, sensuality, thievery, lies and immorality of all kinds. I do not want that part of the free enterprise system to reign. We cannot just do as we please. We cannot have freedom just for the sake of freedom, to say and do ANYTHING! That’s not freedom … that’s a “free for all!” General Eisenhower, from WWII, so aptly said, “A country that values its privileges more than its principles shall soon lose both.”
We as a nation have been a good nation. We have not always done it right but we strive to. Our Democratic Republic form of government is “messy” sometimes, but it works. This country has produced the greatest industrial, agricultural, financial, scientific and medical progress and educational advances in the world.
I urge YOU to keep it that way. But my eye sees some decline creeping into its fiber and that frightens me because a country not worth living in, is a country not worth dying for.
We need to have a love for our lives, our families, our church, our community and our wonderful country.
We are a nation who has gone to the defense of many other nations, seeking their freedom, not just our own personal defense. We were instrumental in liberating nations such as Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, a valiant attempt in South Vietnam, and the liberation of Kuwait. (Have we received the thank you card for that yet? Hm-m.)
Unfortunately, many of these same nations have quickly forgotten our generosity and sacrifice. We often stand alone to face a complicated and almost impossible task to resolve the battle with worldwide terrorism and the fight for Iraq and Afghanistan’s rescue from its long history of pain, torture, despotism and the loss of its people’s fundamental rights and comforts.
We are a nation that does not revel in the spoils of war. We do not rule over the conquered. We have destroyed cities in war, but we are the only nation to work so diligently to rebuild them! We give billions of dollars to poor nations (which is often stolen by the their rulers for their own riches). We bring free medical care, food, agricultural assistance, transportation, tools and a mountain of other helps to those who are suffering in other nations, often the same nations who despise and hate us. That is what is so good about America, not just what we do, but why we do it – because it is RIGHT TO HELP OTHERS and because we value the importance of the individual and let our deepest convictions be carried out in the kindnesses of our people.
In closing, I would like to share some remarks made by a young, Vietnamese woman named Huong Le. Her comments stress how very different our country and people are from most of the world’s people and governments of the past or present.
Huong Le was one of the 123,000 Vietnamese refugees airlifted to the U.S. just before Saigon fell. She was just a kid then and spoke little English. Yet in this great country, she finished her studies and delivered the valedictory address at her graduation from Forest High School in Ocala, Florida.
The following is an excerpt from her speech in which she said, in clear English, “I owe my very presence on this stage tonight to you and this wonderful nation. When we could no longer prevail against our enemies, you accepted over 100,000 of us to your shores, gave us freedom, gave us a new start, and gave us a new nation.” She said she had yearned for peace because she had only known war. She said, “I know there are some things worth dying for. The freedom you have here is one of those things.” She continued and said, “I have come to appreciate the United States as the greatest nation on earth. This nation is worthy of your fullest loyalty and greatest sacrifice. Treasure her. Love her. Defend her.” She went on to say, “I treasure the things you have done to give us freedom. You helped us find a home, provided food, found us jobs, helped us learn the language and provided us an education…”
“Thank you, America, for standing as a nation of freedom in a world of oppression. Thank You God, for giving me the opportunity to live in a free country which You have so richly blessed…may God richly bless you for being the warm, kind and generous peoples you are.”
WHAT A TESTAMENT TO OUR PEOPLE!
So, I too, with a soaring heart and a happy expectation of good know that we can look forward to these challenging days that face us and our nation. We can look forward to teaching strong family values and the precepts of life that come from God.
I am not talking pie in the sky here! There are many problems that assail our nation. As rich and great as we are, we face pockets of poverty, despair, poor educational performance, teen pregnancies, racial discrimination, drug abuse, sexual perversions, and corruption in all levels of our society. However, by returning to the Godly, moral principles that developed this great nation, YOU can stem the downward spiral.
Organizations such as U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol are instruments of this change. There are dedicated cadets and seniors to teach, lead, inform and lobby for keeping our country on track on its appointed journey. Get down to business with moral excellence; get involved in your families, businesses, churches and schools.
And may we not only proudly wave our nation’s flag, but also valiantly wave the banner of excellence so that we will also be “what is good about America”.
God bless us all.