I am America.
You are my people. In a way, you are my children.
I’d like to have a talk with you.
I’ve been rather quiet lately, but I’ve noticed that there are a more than a few of you who don’t have a very good opinion of me. Some of you have been misinformed. You don’t seem to be aware of history.
I’d like to set the record straight, if I may.
I’m the world’s oldest standing government. My constitution hasn’t been substantially changed in over two hundred years. I have some authority from which to speak.
Before I was born, governments operated from a simple premise: people needed the permission of their leaders before they were allowed to do anything. There was no standard the people could rely on when it came to conducting their lives. Their monarch was the law. Whatever he or she felt like doing, no matter how outrageous, was the law of the land, usually under the penalty of death.
I was different. The people who built me had a new idea about government. They were the first in the world to wonder if mankind could rule himself. Power, which is what government is all about, would belong to the people. They would gather and agree on the rules they wanted to live by, and hold elections to appoint someone who would guarantee their rules were made into law and that those laws were enforced.
What made me special was that I would be small. Although I had power, I used it sparingly and only with great trepidation. I was made not to interfere with the lives of my people, as all before me had done. I was designed to leave people alone and let them live as they saw fit. I was to be a silent guardian of rights, used only when necessary, and with the approval of all.
My laws were basic. They were drawn from mankind’s observation that there is a way of life that is decent and good, one that leads to peace if those laws of life are followed. My laws were constructed around the Ten Commandments of Judaism, for these were found to be the best yardsticks by which to live. They were administered with the compassion that marks the Christian faith.
Yes, I am a Christian country. The men who built me were men of God. They didn’t try to hide their faith. Instead, the sought to codify the good things they found in it. They wanted their faith in God to be the foundation of a government that would let people be truly free. The men who built me would never live to see their labors come to fruition, but the tree of liberty which they planted would become great with time, and bear much fruit for the whole earth, the fruit of freedom. Sweet if eaten with humility, bitter if eaten to excess. Always to be tended by a Master Gardener and held fast in the belly of Man.
My people had freedom enshrined in their government for the first time in history. And they made the best of it, both for themselves and for others.
This made me unpopular with those who had become accustomed to power. From my birth, I was criticized. They said I could never work. They said that man was far too flawed, that he needed the firm hand of a ruler in order to thrive.
I proved them wrong.
I showed the rest of the world what man could do when he was free to follow his conscience.
I attracted the best and the brightest people from around the world. Many people came to me penniless, and I filled their purse with freedom. Many came to me destitute; I filled their cupboards abundantly, asking nothing in return except that they preserve the foundation upon which I was built.
As time passed, I gave more of myself than anyone who came before me. From me came a new way of life and many blessings.
My scientists gave the world new medicines. Plagues became a thing of the past. Water became clean. Mankind began living longer, better lives.
My engineers gave the world new technology. From me came modernity. I gave you automobiles, airplanes and washing machines, computers, television and radio. I gave you the best products at the lowest cost.
Travel to other lands that once took months can now happen in one day. You are better clothed and fed than anyone in history. You know more than anyone who came before you. I did this to show you the lessons of history, so that you wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.
I gave you more time to spend with the ones you love. I gave you a prosperity that no one on Earth had known before. The world is better off because of me.
Even in war, I was different. Many times, I’ve been called upon to right wrongs and to stop the advance of evil. I could have done what others had done, and remained as a conqueror in those foreign lands, but I did not. Many times, I have rebuilt those whom I have warred against. I always returned to my home and left other countries better than I found them. If I chose, I could claim far more land as my own.
My blood has been spilled all over the world for the cause of freedom. But I value freedom above power.
I thought I had proven myself.
I see I was wrong.
Instead of adopting my ways and imitating my success, others continued on the path of power, not freedom. With a loud voice, they continued to condemn me. They act as if I have done nothing to improve the lot of man.
I’ve had my faults. No country is perfect. But because of the way I was made, I can correct those faults. And I have done so many times.
But that’s not enough for those who claim false things against me. Although I am still a beacon of freedom for the world as evidenced by the many waiting to become Americans, there are those who live within me who say I am not what I have proven myself to be.
They say that I oppress, that I stifle, and that I smother. They say that my foundation is no longer strong. It’s outdated and not modern enough for the times.
The world has changed, they say, and I haven’t kept up with it. I find that somewhat amusing, for it was I who changed the world.
My enemies are determined to transform me into something that I was never intended to become. My enemies want me to become like the rest of the world. They want my people to be far less free than I want them to be.
My enemies are those who seek their power over my people.
They have managed to poison the tree of liberty with lies and deceit. They have twisted the minds of my children and taught them that I am somehow wrong. They call me a thief. They say I stole land from my neighbors. They act as though treaties I signed in good faith were no longer valid.
Not content with that, my enemies have posed as my people and taken up residence within my halls, scheming and planning my demise from the very ground upon which I was born. In the same place where I once was praised, I am now condemned. Where once I was defended, I am now given over to my enemy, tyranny, and its handmaiden, misery.
Those who claim to do my work and continue my legacy are busy making more and more laws every day with which to restrict the freedom of my people. Those who truly loved me would never want to bind my people, for they are their neighbors. They would act with restraint, loathe to enact another law.
To them I ask…
How many laws are enough?
How much tax is enough?
How much power is enough?
I fear. I fear for my liberty. I fear for my life.
I fear that I am no longer loved by my own children to whom I have given so much. They were born in my land, nurtured from my bosom and given opportunities they now take for granted, smug in the belief that those rights of freedom and liberty can never be taken away. They think they are superior to me because they believe what the rest of the world believes.
I was never like the rest of the world. I don’t wish to become like it now, nor ever.
To my enemies, I say leave me, and my people, in peace.
I ask no more than that.
If you are discontent with the blessings I’ve bestowed upon you, you are free to go live in a place more suited to your values. I’ve opened up the world to you. I won’t force you to stay with me as others do.
See how the rest of the world lives and ask yourself who has the better life. Open your eyes to the wonder of the world I’ve done so much to fashion in the mold of freedom.
See for yourself what I have done.
Decide for yourself.
You are free.