Friday, September 24, 2010

Someone to Watch Over Me

Some three hundred years ago, the British Empire colonized North America, extending its control beyond its shores over the pilgrims who fled to ours. The Kingdom insisted that its subjects needed to be ruled lest they dissolve into anarchy and lawlessness. It is arguable as to what the true intent may have been, whether genuine concern for the well being of the citizenry, or fear of a diminished reign.

What the Founders proved was that men did not require the laws of other men to forge a successful nation so long as they followed the one shepherd who provided all the guidance they would ever need. These truths, self evident as they may have been to the Founders, had to be forcibly proved to an angry kingdom.

The odds that the Revolutionary Army surmounted to ultimately triumph over a vastly superior force were significant, and the victory must be considered as that of Providence. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that the same men who exhibited not only a fortitude well beyond ordinary human expectations - and a strategic acumen that confounded the most brilliant generals of the British Army - were also the same men who crafted the most successful and prosperous society the world has ever known.

Some would argue that ancient Rome was the model for the United States, but even Rome, despite its legislative body, was subjugated by a Caesar, or King. Further, no country has ever risen to the heights of the United States so quickly.

A reader recently posed a two-part question to me in the comments section regarding the Tea Party and its purpose. Jennifer of Finding My Way wrote:
What exactly does the Tea Party think makes this country great?


How will they set the course towards that goal?
I will answer as best I can, though I am not the spokesperson for the Tea Party, as the Tea Party has no official spokesperson. However, my understanding of the movement is that it was self governance and self sufficiency that made America great. The Founders proved that ordinary men could create a society devoid of a ruler so long as God - or the Creator, if one would prefer - is the One we strive to please. They demonstrated that free men governed only by virtue and honor could not only survive, but thrive and prosper.

Despite the brilliance of the genesis of America, a simple truth cannot be denied, and that is this; no matter the best intentions of Man, the heart is easily corrupted by riches. What the Left has done in the last century is to capitalize on this unfortunate truth in an attempt to blame not the heart, but the system, for it is much easier to change the system than the heart. All that is required is the vilification of the system to a populace eager to deflect personal culpability, and there is a clamoring for change.

So, to address part two of Jennifer's question, vague as it may have been, I can only say this; assuming that "that goal" is the restoration of virtue and personal responsibility, the Tea Party is striving to remove from office any so-called "representative" who has accomplished nothing more than personal wealth and the propagation of what ails this great nation. The goal is to reinstate the sense that we are each responsible for our own success while merely being encouraged to aid the less fortunate, not expected to do so.

What made this country great, then? It was the idea that men could live in liberty using nothing but their own faith and morality to guide them, trusting in the will of the Creator as justification for their deeds. The blessings we have enjoyed should be proof enough that we had managed to please Him by those deeds. By the same token, our current ills - while easily blamed on the wicked - can be directly connected to His displeasure.

If all of this is too cryptic, let me sum it up more succinctly. When we were still in our infancy as a nation, we enjoyed the liberation from the Crown of England. We got as rambunctious as teens left to their own devices for a few hours on a Friday night, but we learned quickly. Then the nefarious amongst us noticed that there were some who needed to be led, and they quickly stepped in to fill the void, though not out of a benevolent love for their fellow man, but out of a narcissistic need for power.

My assertion is that the Tea Party has finally witnessed this travesty long enough, and has said, "enough!" We believe that we have Someone to watch over us, and that we can manage our own affairs quite nicely. Washington DC has its purpose, but it is most assuredly not that of King.

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The Skip Bureau said...

I would argue, rather, that the point of the founding fathers was that the average person could be trusted, regardless of what he or she believed, that men had certain inalienable rights, arrived naturally or gifted by the creator, it did not matter, and that governments that violated those rights did so at their own peril.

One of the concerns I have with the tea party is its need to be overly religious. As a confirmed atheist, I believe sincerely in most of what the tea party advocates, including personal responsibility and holding elected officials to ethical standards. However, I believe the rights of man arise from a study of man, rather than as gifts of the creator.

You will find many of the founding fathers agree with me, as opposed to the standard religious right position that they were all practicing evangelical christians. One important lesson to come away with here is that they enshrined the right to practice any religion (or lack thereof) as the first of the bill of rights, showing how important this natural right was.

There are a lot of people like me, highly sympathetic to the movement, who have donated to candidates labeled as tea partiers.

So, to me, tea partiers are largely a heterogenous group of people from all different religions and political philosophies who have united behind the idea that government is too large, too invasive and too expensive, and that it has violated those natural rights this nation was built on, whether such rights are a gift of the creator or a result of observing humanity.

Woody said...

Points well noted. I realize the risk of opening a debate on the belief structure of atheists, but I feel that it is incumbent on me to point out that natural rights, by their very definition, cannot be anthropogenic.

Further, I cannot think of one founding father, much less many, who could be considered an atheist. Jefferson is routinely held up by the Left as one example, but that is a fallacious notion as demonstrated in Mr. Jefferson, Tear Down This Wall.

I agree with your assessment of the founders' intent, however, regarding religion and the practice thereof in America. You are free to be an atheist just as I am free to be a tepid follower of Jesus. We may not understand one another's beliefs, but we can respect them equally.

Thank you for a well thought out response.

naomi said...

Your writing is poetic and thoughtful. Nice style! I found you on blogiche and took the time to review; a great compliment since time is more precious than gold these days.

It is clear you are a person of high ideals and for that you have my respect and appreciation: we are all in this together, and only together can we restore sanity to government and bring founding principles back into our lives.

What constitutes founding principles is, unfortunately, often a matter of argument. As an author and one dedicated to bringing unity and sane discourse into a volatile and dangerous period in our history, I am interested in helping others understand that bringing one's religious convictions into the political forum is not the answer.

Surely, one's faith as applied in personal life is to be unconditionally supported. Where we are getting snagged is in our polarized and even fanatical positions about Christianity as the basis of this country and that a Christian philosophy is the only thing that will redeem government.

My friend, Christians have held positions in government since its inception and still, we have arrived at the present state. Christian philosophy running government has not prevented one error in our history and it is not the answer to saving this democratic republic. How can we bring all of our citizens together to change this nation when the message has become, essentially, one of conversion to a Christian theology instead of simple personal enlightenment--the message of each person using their personal power to reclaim our government? Most people understand that Christians are taught to witness, but when we truly understand the meaning of freedom we will respect that freedom of others by not striving to convert or turn the political forum into a religious cause.

I wrote the Ten Commandments of Political Office, which I hope you will read, for while it uses Biblical language to drive home very contemporary demands, it also invites us to set aside our religious fixations and become all-inclusive in our approach to freedom.

In addition, while many people so strongly identify Conservatives as being more righteous than liberals, may I suggest that by pointing fingers and centering our ideas around labels and talking points, we are unwittingly serving the political controllers who work very hard to keep us all divided.

I respectfully invite you to step back and, using your beautiful ideals to inspire you to embrace the concepts of "brotherly affection" that inspired our forefathers, take a look at the bigger picture. God does not need us to witness to save this nation, nor does God need this nation, but we need to come together as one force for liberty for all...the rights we were born with...whatever our religion.

Let no one forget that it was the Conservative agenda that set the stage for present events. Let no one ignore that both parties are one body with two heads. They entice us with different platforms but the end results are the same. Indeed, by their fruits ye shall know them, so let us realize that if we will know the truth that sets us free, the truth is that there is no government of the people because the people stopped governing themselves.

Very best wishes to you, and thank you.

Woody said...

Naomi, thank you for the very kind words. Before responding to them, I thought it wise to peruse your site, Naomi's Almanac ( for others who wish to read Naomi's work). I must admit that I have not seen it on the traffic exchanges, but having read I will be happy to add your site to my link roll.

I have not yet read the Ten Commandments of Political Office, but I definitely plan to do so.

As you have done, I thought that if I was going to present my thoughts to an audience, the least I could do was to put some effort into them.

To the heart of your comments, it is Man who has perverted the relationship of religion to politics, some out of a misconstrued concern and some for more nefarious purpose.

My points about the relationship to proper governance lies in the most broad of generalities. Our founders specifically named only three activities as inalienable. The key is that they qualified those as rights endowed by their Creator; Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.

Despite most of them being devoutly religious men, they never intended a theocracy, but rather a vivid distinction between God and Man as the arbiter of those rights.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond to you, after answering my questions. I'm surprised and pleased that you took the time to devote a post to them. Thank You!

I did read the post and your exchange with Naomi within a few days of it being published. Your post, Naomi's comment and your reply to her comment were thoughtful and a delight to read.

You have a huge body of work here and in terms of reading it, I haven't scratched the surface. Yet, that post and exchange with a reader inspired me to take a closer look at what exactly separates our country's political thought processes.

In times like this, it's easy to see only the opposite poles, the extremes. If I use our planet as an analogy, there are vast spaces covering the area between the poles and mingling all more moderate thought.

There is not all that much separating us. All sides believe in freedom and equality within a strong framework of morality and justice. All sides want the future to hold promise for ourselves and our children. All sides believe in the notion that, the lowest of us can do anything. We differ in how we scale personal liberty, morality and justice with the responsibilities and obligations we have to those same ideas as a society.

Perhaps, we should look at this and future election cycles not as a contest between sides, but as the best way to move our country forward in these times of great change. Then, we could have the open and honest debate that I and the rest of us that land in between the poles wants, needs and deserves.

Woody said...

I'm glad you came back to comment, Jennifer, and I appreciate the sentiments. Yes, we all want a brighter future for our children and grandchildren, but we differ on the methods to achieve that goal.

How I wish that politics were more civil, but that is not the nature of the beast. Politics is a blood sport, one that has - up until very recently - been played principally by our representatives, and regarded as a spectator sport by the people.

I am chagrined by the fact that the left has had a decade's worth of head start on the right in the engagement department, but heartened by the recent surge of the Tea Party.

That being said, it is still quite disappointing that that group is largely portrayed successfully by a media - shocked by its popularity yet unchallenged to defend its criticisms - as extremist. Virtually accusation against the Tea Party has been unsubstantiated, yet allowed to stand.

The Democrats claim to be fighting for the middle class, all the while tearing them down at every turn. The Tea Party, for example, is comprised of the middle class. Warren Buffett nor Bill Gates are members, and I doubt you'll see many Hollywood actors signing up and rubbing shoulders.

It may be impossible to think of election cycles as anything but contests between sides, at least until we begin to reverse the growth rate of the federal government. It is the sad truth in which we find ourselves.

And don't feel bad about taking so long to respond. As Naomi said, time is more precious than gold these days.