What would Jefferson think?

Dan Bare
Independence Day, the Fourth of July, recently came and went and as with most of the national holidays more attention and interest was given to the benefits of a three-day weekend than for what it truly means.

While I love fireworks and cookouts as much as the next person, I also believe it’s extremely important for all citizens, especially the youngsters, to understand what makes our country exceptional. Having a basic knowledge of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution should be the responsibility of all citizens.

Anything less fosters the continued lack of appreciation and humility for our country. For much of the younger crowd its continued evidence of the lack of American history that is being taught in our schools or for that matter in our homes.

Our founders got it right the first time but as time passes the importance of those founding principles are getting lost in the “what about me-me-me society” and less about the overall good of our country. While our country clearly has its problems, The United States of America is still the single greatest and blessed country in the world. Many of our problems are self inflicted because of poor judgment and lack of courage from leadership. My concern, which was the same concern of our founding fathers, is that our government should never dominate the citizenry but should be “by the people and for the people” not “by the politician and for the politician.”

As individuals the men that wrote these documents were far from perfect but without question they did have amazing vision and courage associated with the critical importance of freedom and liberties. One of the most quoted and recognizable parts of the Declaration of Independence is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Let’s say a well intended mother and father never cut the proverbial apron strings with their child As a result it’s highly likely the child may not become an independent and free thinking person or reach his/her God given potential. In my judgment a very important part of life’s experience is based on the school of hard knocks or tough love and not always relying on mom and dad. Now replace mom and dad with big government and the child with citizens. Get the picture? There is a reason July 4th is called Independence Day and not Big Government Dependence Day.

You may think this analogy is ridiculous and over simplified but I beg to differ. I believe a large part of our problem is that we as citizens rely far too much on our government or more specifically the politicians. We would be much better served by exhibiting greater independence while demanding that our politicians do the right thing and quit acting like a mother hen protecting her chicks. We must and should cut the apron strings and get back to a form of government that is truly by the people and for the people.

Show me any leader that promises all things to all people and I’ll show you a leader that does not have a clue of what the Declaration of Independence is about. Many if not most elected officials in Washington spend far more time protecting their elected seat than truly doing what is right for the common good.

There is a deep-seated, politically correct cancer in our leadership that must be stopped. The ironic twist to this problem is that we as citizens have become enablers while embracing a victim mentality. Our forefathers, even with their many personal warts, had a true love and appreciation for our country that is sorely lacking today.

As I have stated in many of my previous articles this is not solely a Democrat problem or a Republican problem but an American problem. We are an exceptional country with high and honorable ideals. As with any company or organization, lowering the bar is never the answer for success so we should not allow the bar to be lowered for our country. If we stand by and do nothing other than watch the “mother hens” in Washington continue with their nonsense our great country will change for the worse and become something we will not recognize.

I believe I know what Thomas Jefferson would think if he saw the present state of the country. He would be greatly alarmed as to how dependent we have become on big government and how we have been lulled into a false sense of security. Let’s also remember the many Americans that have made the ultimate sacrifice for those freedoms and liberties. Freedom is not free and that does not apply only to our fighting men and women but also for those of us on the home front.

We must always be diligent and fully engaged while taking a stand for what is right. Remember, men and women in Washington may be well intended but after all they are mere mortals. They possess many God given strengths but also face many temptations and self serving opportunities. As individuals, Thomas Jefferson and the others that wrote the Declaration of Independence had the same flaws as do our current day politicians. With that said this is all about love of God and country and not about hero worshiping of our elected officials. Our priorities are greatly distorted, misrepresented and out of sync and must be put back into proper order. The very fiber of our country is being ripped apart before our very eyes.

Tough choices require courageous leadership from all in Washington. Many of the present actions or lack thereof, is disgraceful, disingenuous and cowardly. Imagine if our fighting men and women, past and present, behaved in the same manner. I personally knew military warriors that were my friends that gave all and I’m fed up with the pathetic games that continue to be played. Get over yourself and tend to the people’s business now.

Finally and most importantly, America is in trouble for one reason. We have failed to remain humble while not always put God first. Man is not the answer, God is!

God Bless our men and women in uniform. I pray our country wakes up.

Danny D. Bare is the Executive Director of the Clermont County Veterans Commission and a Vietnam combat veteran.