Today I am feeling a little sense of loss. All around me people are celebrating the 4th of July… but are they? My family is scattered, all doing their own thing. My own traditions out the window. Some people “hate” the festivities and do their best to get away from all the celebrations. I read on Facebook how some people are looking forward to “getting drunk like a real American.” I sense we, as a nation, has lost perspective.
America’s Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the cause of freedom. To those of us who are 236 years removed from the American Revolution that may sound like nothing more than idealism. But it wasn’t. Not then. It was realism. It was necessity. It was what they had to do to survive and prevail. Frankly, the same is true today. It is realism.
And on this 4th of July, it is what we as patriotic Americans must do again. Not should do – must do. We must do more than wave small American flags as the parade float pass by or cheer the fireworks display or smear sweet, sticky watermelon juice from ear to ear.
You know what is going on in this country, from City Hall to the County Courthouse; from the State Capitol to the U.S. Capitol to the White House. And you may have come to the realization that despite all of the promises politicians make to restore America to greatness, that restoration will never be accomplished through politics. It is accomplished be individuals.
Someone has said that culture always defines politics. And if you look at America’s culture and how it has devolved over the past 100 years, you can see why America’s politics are such a mess. It will take true multi-generational cultural change, not just electing more of one political party or another to local, state and national office. But the simple fact is – you can change the culture. Yes, you are just one person. But you are all it takes. You, changing your life from the inside out and influencing the life of your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your siblings, your neighbors, your friends. And they likewise in their circle of influence.
The world has changed immensely since I was born in the 60's. Advances in technology have accounted for some of it, but the changes that trouble me have to do with our forgetting our spiritual roots. The tares were planted among the wheat early on, but it seems they have begun to ripen exponentially in the last century. Wives and mothers left the home to work, in support of the war effort. Many stayed because they liked the work, or the extra money. Now it takes two or more incomes in most cases to support a family. Prayer was banned from Public schools. Bible reading was removed soon after. The Ten Commandments are being removed from some government buildings. This seems to be happening in spite of public opinion to the contrary. This "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" is getting out of control of the people.
We all cannot put on our armor and prepare to do battle in the sense that Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon did, at least not physically, for this is also a spiritual battle, one of ideas and principles, not of metal weaponry. The situation is just as serious, for destruction will come as surely if we do not alert ourselves to the danger. We must put on the whole armor of God, and rouse our neighbors to do the same. It is a battle that will be won only by exercising our faith in God, and loving our neighbors, even those who do not believe the same as we.
What else can you do?
In his remarks to the Militia of Massachusetts, Founding Father John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” What is rarely quoted is what Adams said just before he uttered those now-famous words: “…we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.” And in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Adams said, “Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism and all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society.”
Thus, today as I watch the floats pass by I will declare, as Moroni, In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children. I am thankful to live in a land that God preserved for a people whom love freedom, choice and honor Him. I am thankful for those who put their lives on the line in order for me to have choices. No government can truly offer freedom. I am grateful for the opportunity to choose those individuals who will allow the people to choose and to flourish.
God bless America and save us despite ourselves.