Monday, June 28, 2010

Power of the People

The significant changes being forced and imposed lately have given me great thought. The backdoor deal leading to the passing of the new health reform bill, the inability of a state to defend itself against foreign enemies, companies that are being taken over by the federal government and billions of dollars given to corrupt banks in the name of a economic bailout are just a few. Meanwhile more initiatives to limit a person's right to own and carry a gun, additional financial reform initiatives, blanket amnesty to all illegals, climate and energy bills and the power for the president to have a kill switch to the internet are being considered. Are you starting to see the trend? The power and arm of government is expanding greater than it ever has before. I am by no means an anarchist; however I am a firm believer in LIMITED POWER. There is a fine line between the power of the people and the obtrusive government. So how far do we allow the government to push before we push back?

"... whenever the Legislators endeavor to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence. ... [Power then] devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end for which they are in Society." John Locke

I don't know if we are there yet, but we are on a fast track to somewhere we have never been. I think it is a place where we do not want to go, but at this point in time it is inevitable. There are not enough that are willing to take notice and speak up and the ones that are willing to make a stand are not loud enough. The most common response is "Well it doesn't make a difference to me" or my favorite "It doesn't have anything to do with me". It makes a big difference and it matters to everyone. So what are YOU going to do?


Second Treatise of Civil Government [1690], #222 (Lasslet Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1960), p. 460-461; French translation by David Mazel (1691): Traité de gouvernement civil (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1984), pp. 348-349

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What is a “City upon a Hill”

If I am going to name this blog City upon a Hill, I need to explain where it comes from and the significance of it. The concept of a "City upon a Hill" comes from John Winthrop, who led the English Puritans to the New World in 1630. He was the first Governor of Massachusetts and is well known for his literary writings. What is so interesting that at the time this speech was originally given it was not thought much of. The reason being is because the ideas and concepts were widely held and recognized by the community of that time and place, which leads me to another thought of how far we have gone from there to here. Anyways, the concept that we are raised as an example to others of what should be in words, actions and deeds. That we "rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together". We, being our beloved nation, is set apart as something that is peculiar, distinct and exempt from simple mediocrity. However, there comes caution and warnings if that responsibility is not to be taken seriously or guarded against all that would seek to destroy it. " for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for Gods sake; we shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into Curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going".

My question is this, are we still standing as the City upon a Hill or have we open the "mouths of enemies" and caused "their prayers to be turned to Curses"? I think that significant changes do not happen overnight. I think that our standards, morals and values erode slowly over a long period of time. That is obvious as you compare and contrast the generation of our grandparents to the generation of our children. What I think is that there are currently more people out there that have hope in what once was will one day be again. I sincerely believe that the principles and foundations of this country were not built upon the strength of man alone. Outside of the world of manufactured news and media, I still think that the greater part of our society believes that too. The time will come when the generation of our children forget the generation of their grandparents, and no one will be left to remember what it once meant to be a City upon a Hill.

And that is why this blog is called a City upon a Hill, so that we can learn and remember what it means to be a City upon a Hill. So that we can recognize the inherent greatness of our nation and take an active part in making it better. To make a conscientious decision about what you believe and stand on the line.

Source: John Winthrop, City Upon a Hill, 1630

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Standing on the Line

There have been multitudes of thoughts pressing upon my mind. As I watch, listen and read about the drastic changes that have transpired over the last few years, I start to wonder when it will end and where will we be when it does. However, it is not the drastic changes that worry me as much as the subtle changes. The changes in attitudes and perceptions of people are so subtle they go unnoticed by many. Public discussion of topics like the economy, government and foreign relations can be social suicide. No one or very few are willing to form an opinion and stand on the line. The few that do are considered extremists, from the right or the left. My biggest issue is with those that fail to pick a side. It is those that do not understand the urgency in educating themselves and realizing that this has everything to do with them. There will come a time when the choice will be made for them.

The following is an excerpt from the farewell speech given by Ronald Reagan. It pinpoints the ideas and thoughts of a time not long ago, but how far away have we strayed?

"I've been reflecting on what the past eight years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one - a small story about a big ship, and a refugee and a sailor. It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck and stood up and called out to him. He yelled, "Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man."

"A small moment with a big meaning, a moment the sailor, who wrote it in a letter, couldn't get out of his mind. And when I saw it, neither could I. Because that's what it was to be an American in the 1980s. We stood, again, for freedom. I know we always have, but in the past few years the world again, and in a way, we ourselves - rediscovered it."

"When you've got to the point when you can celebrate the anniversaries of your thirty-ninth birthday, you can sit back sometimes, review your life, and see it flowing before you. For me there was a fork in the river, and it was right in the middle of my life. I never meant to go into politics. It wasn't my intention when I was young. But I was raised to believe you had to pay your way for the blessings bestowed on you. I was happy with my career in the entertainment world, but I ultimately went into politics because I wanted to protect something precious."

"Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: "We the people." "We the people" tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. "We the people" are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which "We the people" tell the government what it is allowed to do. "We the people" are fee. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I've tried to do these past eight years."

"Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in presidential farewells, and I've got one that's been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I'm proudest of in the past eight years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge."

"An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over thirty-five or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea of the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the midsixties."

"And that's about all I have to say tonight. Except for one thing. The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free."

"I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still."

"And how stand the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home."

Again this was just an excerpt. The entire speech is amazing and worth reading.

The purpose in this blog is to invigorate and light a fire within. It is done in the hopes of bringing back the pride in where we belong instead of excuses for our actions. Educate yourself of our history so you understand where we come from. Inform yourself of current policies and issues to make educated decisions and have a judicious opinion. Think for yourself and stand on the line, be someone that represents something that is of intrinsic worth and value.