A couple of weeks ago I listened to the live feed coming from the wildlife refuge in Oregon. The remaining protesters where surrounded by the FBI and they were arranging to give themselves up. I have been following the Oregon refuge story for several weeks and up until now I have struggled trying to write my thoughts on it. The death of LaVoy Finicum was tragic. Watching the story unfold I was angry, scared, and disappointed. Angry that he was shot though he posed no threat. Scared that we have gotten to the point where occupying a wildlife refuge qualifies as terrorism. And disappointed that most American's don't know or care about what happened.
I have to say that I don't agree with what the protesters did. I believe this was a story of correct principles but wrong approach. But to be fair, I am not a rancher and I have no clue what it is like to depend on the land. I don't know what they are dealing with and I have never had to deal personally with the BLM. What I do understand is their love of freedom and their desire to stand up for their God given rights. Throughout the refuge situation I have been asking myself what can we do to stop government overreach? How can we preserve the legacy of liberty for our children? The answer isn't easy. We like to blame the government and the politicians for everything. But the truth is we have no one to blame but ourselves. We are where we are because of who we are. We are lazy and afraid. Afraid of being labeled as passionate or radical. We are so afraid of offending that we stopped defending what is right. We accept everything and stand for nothing.
Watching the elections unfold this year I am more discouraged than ever. The democrats are deciding between a criminal or a socialist and the republicans are deciding if they want to stick with the Constitution or throw it out the window and go with the playboy dictator. I am genuinely scared for my kids' future. Will they be free? Or we have gone so far that we have given away their rights for our own financial security?
As a parent I want the best for my kids. I realize that a lot has to change if we are going to secure the blessings of liberty for the next generation. The good news is the system isn't broken, the people are. Which means if we want it bad enough we can correct our mistakes. Though we have a long ways to go here are some good places to start.
Accept the responsibility that comes with freedom.
One of the first principles of freedom is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Yes you are responsible for your freedom. In order to preserve a high level of personal freedoms we have to willingly give up a small measure of freedom. This is why we submit to laws. The laws are in place to protect our freedom from others. A good example of this is traffic laws. You are free to drive and travel where you want. The only problem is that everyone has that same freedom. So to ensure that we are all able to exercise this freedom without causing harm to others we agree to follow the laws of the road. Yes we are surrendering our freedom to drive as we please but ultimately it is allowing us to exercise a more vital freedom. But there is a delicate balance here. The government is always willing to take control of any of our personals freedoms that we do not want to be responsible for. And lately we are all too willing to trade more and more or our freedom for government support. If we are to be a free people we have to be willing to be responsible for ourselves. That means we are responsible for our health care, our retirement, our education , our families, our employment, our everyday needs. If we do not take responsibility for ourselves the government will.
Learn and defend the Constitution
Why do we always talk about the Constitution and why does it matter if we elect politicians who uphold the Constitution? What does it say? The Constitution says that one person does not and should not have the power to control the lives of others. It says that those who govern should be accountable by the governed. The Constitution is a testament to the frailty of human nature. People cannot and should not be trusted with power. It must be kept in check which is why we have the three branches of government. Each has a specific job and each keeps watch on the other. The Constitution also acknowledges the rights of the States. There is a delicate balance of power between the federal government and state governments. That balance effects everything from your individual freedoms to our national security. The Constitution also includes the bill of rights. The Constitution acknowledges our God given rights and the responsibility a government has to protect those rights. It is important to understand that the Constitution does not grant us rights, the Constitution protects rights that God has given us. Many believe that the Constitution is adaptive to our ever changing and evolving society. One of the biggest flaws with that way of thinking is that if any of it is adaptable and susceptible to change than all of it is. Which means our rights, as laid out in the bill of rights, are susceptible and at any time can be altered or changed.
The American people should know what the Constitution says and what it means. If the people understood the Constitution they would understand the responsibility they hold and the role they play in the American political process. All Americans should study and defend the Constitution.
Return to virtue.
Just as a reminder, virtue is defined as behavior that shows high moral standards. Yes, there is a clear definition of right and wrong in this world. We are so scared that we might be telling people how to live their lives that we have painted everything a dull grey and slowly backed off. It is clear by the elections that the morality of our candidates is no longer a deciding factor. For example Donald Trump has had multiple wives and multiple affairs and yet he is one of the most popular. If a person cannot control themselves in their personal life they will not be able to control themselves in public office. If he could not be faithful and honor a vow he made to his wife how can we expect him to be faithful to the oath he makes as president? Our personal lives are a reflection of our true selves. Virtue should be the first quality of any public leader. If we were a virtuous people we would seek that same kind of leadership. If we continue to loose our moral standards we will never be able to maintain our liberty. Moral relativism is an extremely popular way of thinking. To sum it up in one phrase "hey whatever floats your boat". Basically right and wrong are all subjective. This way of thinking is dangerous and wrong. Without morality we will have no ground to make a stand on.
Like I said, I don't believe that occupying the wildlife refuge was the right thing to do. But they were right about making a stand. Its time we made a stand. What I have mentioned will take time. Our public schools will not teach any of this in so it must be taught in the home. A lot of this requires a change of attitude, of our understanding, and in some cases our very way of life. So yes this will take time and to be honest it is just a start. There are a lot more changes that we the people need to make. But its a good start. In the upcoming months we will all have the opportunity to make a change. This election is one way we take personal responsibility for our freedom. Making the appropriate changes in leadership will be a big help in getting us back to where we should be. No it wont solve all our problems overnight. We will have a lot of work to do after this election. This is just the beginning. One thing is for sure, it's time the real Americans made a stand.