Let me preface this by stating that neither this post nor this blog is an endorsement for any political candidate or party nor will it ever be.
I started out this morning with an appointment for breakfast and conversation. Unfortunately there were some last minute cancellations and neither the breakfast nor the conversation happened. Since I’m primed for conversation and never really short of something to say, let me share my thoughts with you. We can still have a conversation. Reply to the post and leave your thoughts.
Simon Sinek has a well known speech about knowing your “Why”. It is a thought provoking talk that I recommend you watch. I was watching again recently and began wondering about the Founding Fathers and their “Why” behind the Declaration of Independence. Given the current political unrest in our country and the divide between what people believe America represents, I wondered if our Founding Fathers would even recognize their beloved land anymore.
When Barack Obama ran for President, his campaign slogan was simply “Change”. When Donald Trump ran for President his campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again”. Both slogans were simple and served to simultaneously galvanize one group while alienating another. Both caused us as a country to consider what we believed America meant to us. It should have been an opportunity for us as a nation to come together and discuss our beliefs. Instead, of opening our minds for discussion, we drew our swords and started to fight. We chose sides. We chose champions for our cause. We abolished all dignified conversation and replaced it with repeated rhetoric and narratives that rival the best conspiracy theories. Our founding Fathers turned in their graves.
Many have said over the years that our nation was founded on Christian beliefs, and that somehow that meant our founding Fathers were Christians. I would agree with the first statement. When you read the Declaration of Independence, you can not read the words “created equal” or “endowed by their Creator” and not draw a direct line to the Christian belief of creation by God. That however does not mean the authors were Christians. It simply means they agreed with certain doctrinal Christian beliefs. In fact, Thomas Jefferson had his own version of the Bible where he omitted the parts of it that he didn’t agree with. They claimed that all men were created equal but yet many owned slaves. These were flawed men who like many people today, live their lives in agreement with certain Christian principles but are not themselves Christian. Even the “unalienable rights” they claim all men are endowed by their Creator are not Christian beliefs. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are not what Christ points us to. The Christian belief is that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In Jesus, the Christian has life, liberty, and peace that surpasses comprehension (Philippians 4:7). Founded on Christian values, partially. Founded by Christian men, only God knows for sure.
When this group of men got together to write the Declaration of Independence and subsequently the Constitution, I don’t believe they were setting out to establish America as a nation to be an industrial and economical world leader. They didn’t have in mind that America would be the most educated nation in the world or have the most sophisticated health care system. They did not imagine America as the world’s military enforcer of democracy. I don’t believe this was their intention at all. They were standing, uniting, against Tyranny and a government where they not only did not have a voice but the attempts they made to speak were silenced. They believed it was not only their right, but their duty to throw off the government that had reduced them under absolute Despotism.
Duty is a word that has been removed from the current political parties and their supporters. Duty is a word that signifies responsibility and service to others. Service to others has been replaced by how can others serve me. We have moved from a people united in principles to a people divided by prerogatives. Instead of celebrating the things that make us unique individuals as a blended nation, we use those differences to separate us into special interest groups divorced from the unity that is needed for community.
The original “Why” for our Founding Fathers can be found in the name they gave our nation; the “UNITED States of America”, “these UNITED Colonies”. America was not founded to be Great. America was founded with a view and a purpose of Unity between a people that “…mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”. We lost that unity along the way. There have been great men over the years that have tried to bring us back to this unity, this mindset of honor, duty, and service to others. Sadly I do not see this type of leadership in those whom we would call our leaders today. Our nation doesn’t need change, it needs to be reminded of our “Why”. Our nation doesn’t need to be great again, we need to once again be UNITED.