Every February we celebrate the birthdays of two of our former presidents: Lincoln the great emancipator and Washington our first president and a key member of the Founding Fathers. Much can be said of them and those who have followed. It is good to reflect on the people who shaped America, including the people who sacrificed for our independence and gave us our Constitution.
The Founding Fathers, our presidents, our representatives were not, are not, perfect people, each with flaws as we all have. But it is important to remember those who stood in the gap, who sacrificed, and fought for the liberties and freedoms that we so abundantly enjoy today. Proclaiming and often dying for the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rights given not by government but by one far greater. A radical idea at the time and an idea that many forget or dismiss today.
Just before Presidents’ Day, a piece in the New York Post stated that Washington was a liar and a cheat. This is just the latest attempt by some to undermine our shared history, to raise doubts about the men who proclaimed independence and fought to achieve it. History can be written, and re-written, but the sacrifice of the founders was very real. It should be remembered.
It is easy sitting in the comfort of our country today to criticize those who came before us, passing judgement under today’s “standards” and ignoring the circumstances at the time. Do we take a blind eye to the flaws? No, but we must recognize the good as well. Recognize the cost and the sacrifice and recognize the results as well.
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence pledging “to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” More than words on a page, many sacrificed greatly, some sacrificed all. Today, again, many attempt to belittle and question that sacrifice, so easy to do from a distance of over 200 years.
Today we are at a crossroads in our nation. We face challenges and tough decisions ahead. Are we going to continue the American experiment or throw it away? Are we even prepared to make that choice?
Collectively our understanding of history and civics is lacking. We are flooded with information, but we lack context. We are told that young people today are looking to socialism as the answer. But, we do not even understand what that means, and we ignore the lessons of history.
Another Presidents’ Day has come and gone. Truths that were once self-evident are twisted or lost. But we are blessed to live in a nation with a Constitution that is designed to protect our individual rights, the right to worship, the right to speak, to protect our property, to peaceably assemble, to petition our grievances.