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...
That is called “The American Creed” because that is the idea of America. America is often called the only nation not based on a people, race, culture, or even geography – but that it is a nation based on an idea. And of all the passages in America's founding documents that creed is the undisputed embodiment of that idea. With those ideas as a foundation a country like ours can emerge. And we, over two centuries later, can look back on what our founders have done with a feeling of immense gratitude.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
That quote is commonly attributed to Issac Newton, the famous 17th century scientist. The meaning is generally understood that we, in the present generation, see further because we have benefited from the efforts of those of previous generations. It has an all-encompassing scope in that practically everything we enjoy is because somebody before us has discovered, invented, or prepared the way. No generation begins from scratch. We, those of us in the present, did not discover fire, invent the wheel, or blaze the routes that eventually became our highways. Somebody else did that.
Civilization, technology, and this country are all gifts that we received when we were born into this nation. We have always understood the need to build on this legacy and to pass it on to those that follow. But now, just how that is accomplished is being called into question.
This didn't happen overnight, and it wasn't a plot foisted on us by some shadowy group. We have done it to ourselves. People can't even agree when it started. Some will say the 60's, others go back a hundred years, and still others say it's the inexorable decline that happens whenever any society grows lax in safeguarding itself. I'm talking about bankruptcy – fiscal, moral, and social bankruptcy. Forty cents of every dollar our government spends is borrowed money. An unsustainable practice that can best be described as a crime against the next generation. And the “American Creed” - the idea that governments are instituted to secure our rights, not the materialism of entitlements – has not been successfully taught and passed on.
“What do you have that you did not receive?”
You may have recognized that the title of this piece is a Bible verse (1st Corinthians 4:7) or you may have thought it was a reference to some current political campaign silliness (“You didn't build that!") The ambiguity is the point and selling government as the source of your blessings is the sin, so to speak. And it's nothing new, or particular to one administration or party. Before this we had something called “compassionate conservatism” and “faith based” initiatives. A competition between politicians to see who is the best “brother's keeper” is leaving us broke and far from the American Creed. That is what is happening. The previous administration gave us “Medicare Part D”, the current tops that with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Government becomes the Good Samaritan and we all get to cross to the other side of the street in good conscience (Luke 10:25-37)
Being grateful for the freedoms (and roads, teachers, firemen, police) we enjoy in this country was always expressed in patriotism - stepping up to defend your country, volunteering, charity, community pride and functions. Now it's been reduced class envy and paying your taxes. This has to be done because more money is needed to provide for the ever growing list of entitled benefits. The latest is free cell phones and cell service for anyone already on assistance.
It is just a continual grab for money - there is only one reason to soak the rich, and it's the same reason thieves rob banks - because that is where the money is. Money that is being deemed better spent by the government than by the people who earned it. It is as simple as that, there's no fairness or morality behind it. Even middle class homes have been targeted by some local governments, transferred to large corporations for the promise of higher tax revenues with the court's blessing. It's just a constant greedy grubbing for money by the government class (R's and D's) that thinks it's their job to spend it. Those who rail against corporations for unfair practices often fail to realize that government itself has been becoming the most corrupt and greedy of all corporations, handing out loan guarantees and out-right grants to favored businesses. A government constrained to the limits of the “American Creed” could not grant favored status on others.
We need the return of "The American Creed".