This weekend we celebrate 244 years as an independent nation, but the events of the past few months leave us wondering if we will have many more to celebrate. We started as a unique country based on the notion that our rights come from God, not government; that because we recognize God as the creator of us all, we are all equal in intrinsic worth and value; that we would not require a big government because we would mostly self-govern and live with the understanding that the great freedoms we enjoy require great responsibilities. As the scripture teaches, “unto whom much is given, much is required.”
We were never perfect and still aren’t. We’ve had some very ugly chapters in our history, but the brilliance of our Founders was to create a nation that would be governed by law and not by our passions and emotions. We would grant rights even to those accused of awful crimes so that we wouldn’t be ruled by a mob, whose sense of justice would be at best uneven, and at worst, as evil as the crime, it was seeking to avenge. It made our system at times slow, sometimes unfair, and just plain wrong on occasion. But the ideal way to make all of us accountable to the same laws and suffer the same consequences for violating them.
All of that is at risk of going away if we allow people in the highest levels of law enforcement and the intelligence community to get away with trying to stage a coup d’etat against an elected President. A man of color in Minneapolis was murdered by a cop and a video of the murder is seen by the world. While no one defends the cop’s action, some use the tragedy as an excuse to break windows, assault innocent people, loot stores, and burn businesses that were actually owned by people of color. When that happens, we are rewarding anarchy and mob rule.
But while the news reports the worst of our nation’s sins, there are truly outstanding things of love, kindness, and sacrifice that are happening around us every day. We need to hear more of their stories and tonight you will. I hope you’ll celebrate America this weekend. Sure, we aren’t perfect, but we are a better nation than any of the over 70 nations I’ve visited.
244 years ago, some very courageous souls risked their fortunes and their very lives to give us a country unlike any ever created. I don’t want to lose this country by those who would trade liberty for the lunacy of a system that would resemble the government like it was in the time of the Judges of the Old Testament, where “every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
Let’s celebrate America. But let’s fight to preserve the best of it, and change and reform the worst of it.