Author Steve Canyon
Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): A youthfully powerful nation stands at a crossroads. Will it turn its back on family values?
There is a parallel between our current state of affairs and that of an adolescent dealing with the confusing temptations of near adulthood. As a nation, we were instilled with “family values” in the form of our Constitutional system of governance and a recognition of the importance of preserving the rights of the individual. As discussed in Part 1, there are serious violations of these family norms that threaten our youthful republic. Where do we go from here?
Fortunately, nearly all teenagers find a way to grow out of these rebellious years safely and reinforce their moral foundation. Developing that adult sense of self is borne out of those formative years and the nurturing of their parents, but also from the self confidence that inevitably comes from accepting oneself as they are.
Too often, we hear some whine that the United States should be more like Europe[i] [ii] or otherwise embrace a more global citizen view.[iii] [iv] Again, this displays an adolescent penchant for self-doubt and wanting to conform to others’ vision of what you should be.
Perhaps there is an undercurrent of inferiority that our nation, our culture comprises a metaphorical blink of an eye in human history compared to many countries in Europe who trace lineages back 1,000 years or more, or China whose history stretches over 4,000 years. Perhaps these cultures, indignant that the new kid on the block has suddenly and visibly supplanted their primacy, have used their established status to instill apprehension in their new rival.
Like a teenager fraught with self-doubt, the way out of this tunnel rests on the strength of character instilled in our formative years, and a realization that the trials and tribulations we’ve experienced have made us stronger as a result.
Contrary to the messaging from Leftists and their media allies, America has much of which to be proud, and the world is indeed a better place for its ascendance. We are not perfect, the Founders acknowledged that, but because we are unique, because we have experienced internal strife, because we value the individual, and because we have a Constitutional order rooted in truth, we are exceptional.
Hopefully, America will grow out of this turbulent pubescent phase. However, as previously mentioned, we do presently stand at the edge of a very dark chasm. What can we do here and now to prevent a fall?
First, a return to those family values is in order. Collectively, we Americans must rediscover our Constitution and the brilliance of the Framers’ masterpiece of self-governance. We must acknowledge our forefathers and all humans are fallible beings, prone to self-interest and desires.
As a result, we commit to living knowing that no one person or group can possibly have the answer to every issue, but together, as a nation of equals under the aegis of Constitutional governance, we will address those issues honestly and forthrightly.
Second, we must recognize this is not an issue of who occupies what elected office for the next couple of years. This is an issue that transcends partisan politics; it’s about maintaining the apparatus, the framework of our system.
Question any measure that contradicts our Constitutional order. Think of the second and third order effects of what politicians are proposing. Demand politicians (regardless of the letter, or no letter after their name) follow Constitutional norms. Support politicians who demonstrate an understanding of their role in our system. They derive their power from us, not the other way around.
Third, we have to reinvigorate our educational efforts to build citizens versed in what it means to be an American in a constitutional republic. This is a long game and a polity that does not understand from where it came and for what it stands is doomed to oblivion. The Left knows this, that’s why they’ve hollowed out the system like termites for decades.
Finally, we must stand up to the illiberal mob. Push back on the panoply of ridiculous ideas, proposals, legislation, and orders with reasoned facts and Constitutional alternatives. For lack of a better analogy, we must conduct an intervention with our adolescent republic.
I can only imagine our Founders looking at the current state of affairs like parents watching their teenager flirt with disaster. The question is whether we have absorbed enough of our family values, internalized enough of our founding “parents’” warnings, and have developed enough of a cultural self-identity to mature out of this tempestuous phase.
Steve Canyon is a retired military officer.
The Language of Liberty series is an outreach project of the Center for Self Governance, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in principles of liberty. The views expressed by the authors are their own and may not reflect the views of CSG. CenterForSelfGovernance.com
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