Yes, Women Will Vote For…

In the early 70s, I attended an international conference on women in Mexico City. It was a learning experience for a lifetime. I was with a different woman or group of women at every meal, every session, every break. I took every opportunity I had to be in touch with women of different nations and different cultures. It was a chance to peek into the depth of our beings. They were women just like me and totally different from me. But the differences lay mostly in where we were born. That fact governed most of our experiences. But even poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of freedom, or severe hardship could not totally erase our dreams and visions as women. At the depth of our beings, we all wanted and needed the same things: food: shelter; clothing and necessities for our families or the children around us; opportunities for our children to be all they could be; a safe place for our families; opportunities to provide for family and community needs; and to live in peace and freedom with equal opportunity for ourselves and, more intensely, for our children.

And now it’s 2012.

It’s that time again. The political commentary and political diatribe about how women will vote is at a fever pitch. The gender gap discussion is with us again.  Many seem to think they know what makes us tick. Others seem to think that if they just say the magic words, we will think the way they do.

I am really tired of the constant barrage about reproductive rights. Is that all there is in the minds of those who continue to argue about who women are? Our reproductive life is not all that we are about. For every decision about our reproductvie life that we make in a day, we make hundreds of decisions about other things.

We go about our days thinking about food, what to wear, where we work, where we go to school, about transportation, about life decisions,  our recreation,  church or the library, the store or the theater. We think about the sunrise, the sunset, the clouds, the rain, the beach, the mountains, and the beauty of the landscape. Add the museum, the trip abroad, or no money for a trip, new curtains or blinds, hunger, thirst, not enough food to feed our children, the dentist, the doctor, the sport practices, music lessons of our kids, the meetings of the week, the apartment, the house, the hungry children, war and peace.

We could fill several pages! Our years, our months, our days, our minutes, and our seconds are filled with all kinds of decisions–decisions dependent upon how old we are, who we are, where we are, what our visions are, where we live, and where and who our parents are or were.

Why then, do all of you folks arguing about how we will vote think our major interest is our reproductive rights? Why do you think that you; have such a hot political issue?

Speak to us about our future and the future of our children, whether we have enough to eat, what the price of gas is, whether or not we will have an America where our young can dream, whether we have schools that allow our learners to develop to the top of their God-given talents. Speak to us about the choices available to us and our neighbors because we have good jobs, and because our schools and universities are places that prepare our people for jobs and professions that are viable for this day and the future.

Speak to us. Let us know that you think we are more than our reproductive organs and our reproductive rights. We are whole. We are women. We have talents and wisdom and energy and courage and compassion and humanity. Yes, and when you check out my record, you will see that I have spent much time and energy promoting the status of women, energizing education for equality of opportunity for boys and girls, speaking and consulting on limiters placed on boys and girls,  and on men and women. When you minimize one sex, you minimize the other. Speak to us about our humanness, our wholeness.

Yes, you can convince some that a major issue in this campaign is the war on women relative to reproductive rights. I say to you that the real war on women is about the millions of women who live in poverty. It’s on the families that have been destroyed because the single mom can get more welfare money without the husband in the house. It’s on all the moms filling up their gas tanks this morning. It’s about all the young women who graduated from college last year who can’t find jobs. It’s on the girls and young women in a failed educational system.

We have the right to choose what we do with our reproductive systems. It is the rights for all the other important things that I am thinking about when I cast my vote. Because it’s the great freedoms in my country that guarantee all the things I make choices about each day, I will vote for those who understand the exceptionality of my country. I will vote for those who want to make America First, Again. It is those candidates who will preserve my freedom, my rights, and yes, my reproductive rights.

 

 

College–Necessary, Irrelevant, an Entitlement, or a Vote?

Today as I sat at the end of my driveway after the first leg of my grateful walk, I sat in the cool air and looked across the countryside. I marveled at the beauty. How could a country girl from Iowa be so fortunate? Somehow my mind went back to the first school I attended on the Sand Cove, a country school near New Albin,Iowa. I was just four, but I didn’t know I was too young for the first grade. I loved it. I found a gold mine. I had a teacher and big kids to answer my many questions about my world.

I rather quickly traversed my early school experiences; my teacher’s faces had the same smiles; the wonder of the books and maps and the globe was still vivid; I could place my finger on the globe and dream. All held memories of excitement. High school in Lansing, Iowa, where my coach, Eddie Albertson, and the other wonderful teachers worked their magic, was small. The superintendent had a sign in his small office that read: There is always room at the top. It just added confirmation to what I already knew. I wasn’t staying on the bottom rung of any ladder–my own or any ladder placed in front of me.

And then I went to college. What an opportunity. I had no money; I had no job. I certainly did not have a college wardrobe. I didn’t have any idea what that might even be. But I never allowed those facts to cloud my screen of opportunity. I had the most important ingredient. I had faith. I did not have to see the entire path before I took the fist step. And my experience and heritage taught me that hard work produced answers to dreams.

My mental journey stopped. I was back in the reality of today. I listened to the news while I was eating my breakfast. There were the college audiences gathered to hear the campaign rhetoric. These young voters are being trained better each year to believe that a college education is their right. But that’s not where the entitlement stops. They want grants. When there are no grants available, they are convinced that they are entitled to loans. They are convinced that the money they borrow is a good investment for their future. They get deeper and deeper in debt. Each loan, they think, will get them closer to the pay-off of their investment.

Colleges set a great table of choices; students can feast at the table no matter the cost since most are not spending their money. Tuition costs have risen sharply. College debt of students has become enormous. Young people finish a degree or two or even the terminal degree for a profession, and find themselves with staggering debt. They remove their cap and gown, say goodbye to their college buddies, and head out to collect on their investment. They have the piece of paper that says they’re ready. And maybe they are, but for what decade.

Educators have a thing about relevancy. We spend vast sums of money to make curriculum relevant for our students. But somehow while we fiddle with the same set of stuff, we haven’t noticed that the music is the same. We have the same disciplines in our colleges, the same teaching methods, the same kinds of classroom, and professors with tenure and their disciplines to protect to keep it that way. I hate to say this, because I love books and I have a lot of them, but our libraries are filled with books that will never be used again. Even my granddaughter in the sixth grade needlessly carries heavy books around her campus all day when really all she would need with current technology, is one small electronic tablet in her backpack.

But back to our college students who are campaign targets. So far what I have heard is what they are entitled to have, including current talk of forgiving student loans. They are being trained to become permanent members of the culture of entitlement.

I want to hear some talk about students being responsible for their choices. I want to hear some straight talk about jobs. Tell them to be careful about their choices; check the economy. Tell them to ask the professor or advisor who is recommending  college majors to them, to give them the name of 5 recent grads of the program so they can check out where they work and what their pay is. Tell them to keep track of technology. Ask the young people who graduated in the last couple of years what the future holds for them. Ask them if the field they chose has any relevancy in this decade. Ask them if they need the expensive degree they have to do the job they are doing. And what about parents who held two jobs so their kids could get not only an irrelevant education but also were probably taught values that are contrary to parental values and to our founding principles. ,

In the past couple of years, I have talked with so many of my friends who have children or grandchildren with expensive college educations who are working for minimum wages in retail or fast food places. They have no chance to pay off their debt  with minimum wage.They feel cheated, deceived, and discouraged. Their hope is for change.

Don’t misunderstand me. I still believe in the value of a college education. And I have respect for the degrees people earn; I am proud of my doctorate from UCLA.  And if someone wants to study one of the great disciplines for enjoyment and knowledge, that’s great  But if they hope that their education is directly job-related, there needs to be more “truth in lending,” and colleges and universities need to have more job=relevant majors. If colleges and universities are to exist in the future, they must serve this generation and the generations of the future rather than the tenured professors who occupy their hallowed halls. I mean no disrespect for those many great and noble professors at our universities; I was a tenured professor at major universities. But I truly believe that our colleges and universities must become relevant, and they must be totally honest about how they fit into the future of this great republic.

A Little Obscurity or A Foggy Constitution

A little obscurity elicits interesting behaviors and observations.

As I sat at the end of the driveway this morning, I could still see the hills in the distance. But they were far from chiseled images against a clear blue sky. They were still very visible, but the details were a little obscure. Didn’t seem to be a problem in my mind. They were still there. Not to worry. They’re still in my landscape.

Wow! Kind of like my nation and my church. One practices situational constitutionality and the other practices situational Biblliocity. I don’t even know if there is such a word; there is now. Oh, Yes! These times require an update on two timeless documents, the Bible and the Constitution, say the pundits. You have to consider the time in which they were written. You have to consider the culture at the time, they preach. How could you possibly impose the same standards, values, and ideas of those times on us in these modern times?

In many ways the Constitution is very much like my hills across the valley. I don’t always see them when I look across the valley. Today when I looked, I was not able to distinguish the details; the little obscurity that clouded the twin peaks didn’t bother me. I think I’ll take another look in the sunlight later.

Then it hit me. How could the discussions about the health care bill possibly be taking place? How could there be a discussion about whether or not the mandate is a tax or is relative to the commerce clause? My copy of the Constitution says today what it said yesterday and the day before and all the days before since its signing with the exception of the amendments. And each of them still says the same thing as it did when it was added to our governing document.

How could a constitutional scholar, my president, in speech after speech when promoting the Affordable Health Care Act, declare with certainty that this bill mandate was not a tax, was not a tax, was not a tax? How could a Supreme Court Chief Justice under the mandates of the same Constitution and reading the health care bill declare the mandate a tax?

What are these political obscurity blankets being thrown over our Constitution to create such different legal opinions?

As my mind wanders through the past many years, and I recognize in the annals of my memory of political and legal debate here and there, the foggy “modernizing” of our precious founding documents. A little fog here, a little fog there. Here a little fog, there a little fog, and everywhere a little fog.  The fog comes generally in the form of subtle attacks on the great freedoms built into our founding documents. The hope and change artists can’t change the words so they change the perceptions of the words. They put words into the mouths of our founders. The fog of perception is easy to add a little at a time. A drop at a time works. A constant drip can ultimately erode cement.

The Weeds in the Garden of Freedom

When I took my grateful walk this morning, the  palms lining the driveway stood tall between me and the early morning sun. It was shady and cool. It was clear, and I could see the entitlement culture of the weeds. I have never had so many weeds among my flowers gracing my driveway. More and more of the weeds grow tall and impinge on the space of my flowers. They hurry to flower and spread their seeds; they seem to understand that my driveway has been lacking the attention that it needs. Yes. We have been busy doing other things; fruit needs to be picked and flowers need to be cut. Time and attention have not been given to the ever-growing entitlement culture of the weeds. My neglect has given the weeds time and space to spread and thrive. They grow tall and cast shadow on my flowers. The strength of their roots will make them difficult to deal with. They are established and now almost own the space. and the weeds are multiplying.

As I sat at the end of the driveway, I contemplated the state of my beloved republic, this great country, the place of my birth, the one-of-a-kind experiment in defining the rights and responsibilities of its people. Even the Mayflower Compact, a document written before the Pilgrims came ashore, was based on the rule of law, the consent of the governed, and Divine guidance. The documents that governed the various colonies and entities were based on insuring religious freedom and guaranteeing the rights of a self-governed people. But we haven’t been vigilant; we have been paying attention to other things. Distractions and distortions have filled our senses.

So it is, I fear, with our governing documents. The principles of our Constitution have been distorted. The establishment clause has been used promiscuously to remove our Christian heritage from our schools, our public places, and anywhere possible to rewrite history. The true history is no longer being told of the exceptionality of our republic, of the men who wrote our governing documents, of the role of the Black Regiment (clergy who fought), and of the men and women who were willing to risk all that they had fo procure and secure freedom.

Those who wish to transform our country would have us believe that the Constitution is an out-dated document, that it doesn’t fit the times. They would have us believe that our modern culture requires interpretation of this great timeless document to fit our current times. They want us to practice situational Constitutionality.  Remember, it is this very document that guarantees our freedom. It is this document that established the government that created this republic–an exceptional nation like none other before or since. It created the flowers for our democratic living. It spells out the guiding principles for those flowers of freedoms to grow and flourish. And grow and flourish we did. We have become a strong, charitable, welcoming, successful, proud, and prosperous country. We have been the place where people want to come to be free.

Our people have been free to become all they were created to be–until lately. The weeds are taking root in our great nation. The weeds growing rapidly in our land are those of entitlement, of rights without responsibilities, of the  “social justice” mask of equality rather than equality of opportunity, of greed and envy,  of you make–I take, of distortion of our foundations, and assassination of our heroes.

We are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are not entitled to a home, a college education, two cars in our garage, two weeks vacation, multiple television sets, cell phones, computers, each new technology, or a plot of land.  We should, however, be entitled to keep what we earn or what our families have earned. We have the opportunity in this free nation to earn, to achieve, to build, to develop our talents, to dream and reach for the stars.

Unfortunately, the weeds of entitlement have been growing. To gain political favor and power, many have been given many things, many perks, and been told they are entitled to these gifts. They have been convinced the entitlement is their right. They have been taught to look to their benefactors as their saviours. They have been   brainwashed; they don’t even know they are being enslaved. They are numb to the yoke of their power-hungry, controlling masters.

Time to go gardening with vigor and purpose. Time to re-plant the flowers of self-reliance, personal responsibility, integrity, honesty, hard work, humility, sacrifice, trust, compassion, and personal ethics. Let’s feed our flowers with acknowledgment of Divine Guidance, concern for the next generation, truth about our history, national pride, a heralding of our exceptionality, a belief in our future, and fiscal discipline. Let us chart a course course for the future where all citizens can become all they were created to be. We need our garden of freedom free of its weeds.

 

AMERICA TRANSFORMED OR RESTORED–YOUR CHOICE

We have had the eyes of the world upon us from the inception of our country. There were more abroad, I believe, who understood the special nature of our great land than perhaps there were among us who grew up with liberty and assumed that it would always be with us. I am keenly aware that my liberty as I’ve been privileged to live it for the 91 years I have been given, is very much in jeopardy.

It is the eye that I have upon myself that compels me to write this document. I have given my life to serving in a profession for which I still have great passion. As an educator, I wonder what I could have done earlier, what I could have contributed to the minds of our new generations to preserve the tenets of our founders. All know that to transform a country you must control the minds of the young. You must erode the values that stand in the way of the transformation. You must change education.

You You must count on the respect that students have for their teachers. You gradually replace the facts about our great nation with other  ‘facts.”  You use the establishment clause to take away, to make illegal any mention of God or the “faith of our founders.”

Those of us who refuse to allow the transformers to have their way know, too, that we have allowed others to re-write our history books. We have allowed multicultural ideas and activities to become the god of plurality and diversity. No people could possibly be more diverse than the multitudes from around the world that came to our shores. But they did not carry the flags of their nation on our holidays; they proudly carried the American flag as they sang our national songs. Yes, they added the richness of their culture to blend into the culture of this new, great land. From their easel of experiences and varied backgrounds, they painted the great portrait that became America.

They taught their children English; they kept their unique language words and accents and honored each other. Boston folks don’t sound like Brooklynites.Texas has its bigness, Montana has its big sky country; California has lost its unique golden images of the past. You recognize the language variables of the Southern states, and the unique “o” sounds of several of the Midwestern.states. But all spoke English as quickly as they could.

We have forgotten to tell those who come to our shores that citizenship of any great state requires a single language, a simple form of bonding. What have we wrought when we have students who graduate from our schools who still speak a “native language” other than English, for their first language? Why have we been so tolerant that we forgot that we needed to have a single language for our culture and for those to understand fully that they are in the United States?

We have become afraid to be proud of our country, the country that millions have sought to call their own. We have taught our young to apologize for being American rather than teaching them to understand and respect the cultures of other lands without diminishing their own. They can show this respect  while still demonstrating their love, respect, pride, and gratitude for being an inhabitant of the “Shining Cityon the Hill.”

Don’t talk to me about discrimination; I know it exists because I have experienced it   Don’t talk to me about being poor; I know poverty exists because I have experienced it. Don’t talk to me about any of the negative things that many have used to put down my country and to minimize the greatness and most of all the uniqueness of my great land. Talk to me about the opportunities that the teeming throngs have found in this great land. Talk to me about the goodness and charity of our nation. Talk to me about the things that people have done to escape tyranny and risk all including their lives to come toward the light of freedom.

It has been the shining city on the hill, the light of reason and liberty. But I see the light dimming, I see the efforts to make me believe that the light can be made brighter by taking away my freedoms, my independence, my ability to keep what I am willing to labor for, and my understanding of what made our country great.

I do not want my great nation transformed. I want it restored to  greatness, greatness achieved by its citizens who followed the founding principles. I want my grandchildren to understand and feel that pride. I never want them to apologize for being a citizen of the United States of America.

 

Freedom’s Sources

Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and Nature.    

Benjamin Franklin

I have freedom from two great sources—my God and the Founders of my great country. They have granted me the gift of freedom born of faith. I will live knowing that:

When I come to the edge of all light I know, faith is knowing one of two things will happen—there will be something to land on or I will learn how to fly.   

 My life is the story of learning and flying and landing.

It is the story of living to serve, of listening to the voices of freedom, the freedom granted to me by my Creator, and the  freedom secured by the Founders of the great nation in which I was privileged to be born. The founding documents for both freedoms are like a boom-box that loudly declares my freedom. These great documents recognized and declared forever the exceptionality of this great land.

But I know that freedom must continually be practiced and earned. Dwight D Eisenhower said it well: Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men (women) and so it must be daily earned and refreshed–else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.

Mine is the story of curiosity and imagination. It is the account of the new trails and the risking that followed the light of my 91 candles. It is the tale of each candle lighting the way for new dreams and visions in the ever-changing landscape of one life. It is the story of  never living anyone else’s life, always my own.

The freedom sources run freely as rivers of hope for everyone when not clogged with the garbage of distortion or deception, the redirection of the flow, or the remaking of history. We must keep these rivers of hope running freely with the truth for each generation to come.

The Right to Work

I sat at the end of my driveway this morning watching the marvels of nature before me. I wondered if the birds had a meeting this morning to discuss whether or not they would fly today. I wondered if the palm fronds had to get permission from the supreme frond to sway in the breeze. It seemed they were pretty free to pursue their destiny.

There’s always a lesson to be learned. The universe is orderly and yet at the edge of chaos. My great nation is mostly orderly, but I believe it is also at the edge of chaos. How can you miss the signs: the students who think their loans should be forgiven; the people who occupy our streets and desecrate our parks in the name of whatever is handy; the fight over whether the American flag flying over the graves of our service dead are a nuisance. The list is long and the list grow each day.

Yes, as I sat at the end of my driveway, I knew I not only had the right to work, I had an overwhelming responsibility to work to  help restore this nation to its original exceptionality. It is that exceptionality that has done so much for so many in so many places at so many times.

There is no light to shine in the dark places when “A Shining City on a Hill” has its lights turned off. Yes, I have the right to work to make the dimness bright again.

To Olympians–You Did Do It  

You won the medals!! You stood on the medal stands.  You did it!

The Olympic athletes always amaze me. The commitment to excellence that shines through their performances is so obvious. I was struck as I watched the first few events. I wondered if  anyone would suggest that they were not responsible for their success?  I wondered if anyone would even hint that someone else was responsible for their hours of commitment to their sport over the many, many, years that it takes to become an Olympic athlete? I wondered if anyone would say that someone else was responsible for the outcomes of our incredible athletes.  Would anyone dare suggest that those who built the great swimming complexes, the gyms, the fields, or any of the great venues the athletes used, were responsible for their successes?

The great sport complexes would be empty without committed athletes to  use them for the hours, days, and years that they  give to their sport. Unless there were men and women, most of whom started as children, who were willing to spend the endless hours before most of us arise in the morning or after we go to bed at night, the complexes would lie empty except for the occasional recreational user. Many work through pain and serious injury to endure the paths that lead to the Olympics.  Maybe they didn’t build the paths, but most of the endless hours they travel on them, they travel because of their commitment to their vision of who they want to be and what they wan to do.

So it is with our visionaries in technology, those who start small or large businesses, those who are successful professionals, or those who are our artists or children who dream. Yes, there were those who helped them, but those who helped did not risk all they had for an idea. Those who helped did not spend long hours without overtime, nor did they spend the sleepless nights wondering how to meet the payroll the next day. The long hours fixing something that didn’t work, or thinking differently about a different way to make something more successful, were generally spent alone.

In 1977, I was asked to be a member of a four-person team for the United States State Department to visit the Soviet Unionto study Vocational Education. The same year I was privileged to receive an Alumni Achievement Award from my undergraduate university, the University of Northern Iowa. Both of these honors were scheduled for the same period of time. I made the choice to go to the Soviet Union and to send my mother to the university to accept my award. In my letter to the President of the university, I explained my dilemma and my proposal for the universiy to present the award to her in my absence. I suggested that she had earned the award, also. I was proud to share this honor with her.

I was expressing gratefulness to her for her contribution to my college days. I was suggesting that often others should share in our honors and awards. I was not, however, suggesting that she spent the long hours over the books or in the library. I was not suggesting that she took the tests, or spent the time in the labs for my science work, or in the gym or on the fields for my physical education major. She could not know when I was hungry or when I fell asleep over my books because I was so tired.

I would be totally insulted, Mr. President, if you or anyone else told me I did not earn my degree. My family helped me tremendously when I was working on my doctorate at UCLA.  But at no time did any member of my family say I didn’t do it. They watched the long hours I spent. They were part of taking more responsibility so I could finish my degree. Yes, they were definitely a part of it, but they did not do it. I did. My professors and others helped me tremendously/ They congratulated me, but they never said they did it. They knew I earned that degree.

 

 

The Deadly “Ds”

The Deadly “Ds”

Sometimes you can make friends of your enemies. But sometimes you better get to know your enemies better than you know yourself  when you  know that their main goal, their purpose is to destroy you.

I have such faith in the goodness, compassion and integrity of people that I may seem gullible,  like a person easy to deceive. When I was teaching at the high school level, I recall teachers telling me that they didn’t trust students until they proved their trustworthiness; my philosophy and behavior were witness to students that I trusted them until they proved otherwise. I knew in my heart that when I distrusted every teenager I met because some had caused me great distress  anxiety and thoughtful introspection, I no longer could serve students or for that matter, anyone else in any category. I had to believe in a sane world.

Back to friends and enemies. I was in Jerusalemimmediately prior to the six-day war. Our group was evacuated fromAmman, Jordon. We had not yet gone toIsraelbecause we could not go toIsraeland then to Jordon, so our plan was to go toIsraelafter our stay in Jordon was finished.  I stopped in Greece and continued on to Germany. By the time I reached Germany where my brother was stationed, the war was over.Israel had won a decisive victory. How?

When you can’t make friends with your neighbors and you’re quite certain that they mean to diminish or worse destroy you, you better find out more about them than you know about yourself. Yes, I said that before.

And Israel did. They knew the numbers and the conditions. They had to know everything about their enemies to the minute details of their eating, sleeping, coming, and going.

So it is in our lives. We do not want enemies; we do not need enemies. And we are stunned when they appear in our lives. It seems to be when we are filled with joy, with anticipation for the future, busy with good and useful tasks, and, as we say, when things are going swimmingly well.

Up crops the devil. Yes!  Literally. It happens in families; it happens in organizations; it happens in schools; it happens in churches. And so it is in my church as it has been in other places I have been. But it hurts the most when it happens in the place where you expect integrity, truth, kindness, compassion, joy, humility, friendship, and faith.

When you see pride and power replace humility, joy and laughter leave with the children and young families who leave, and the energy around you feels palpably negative, you are stunned and saddened. The positive energy that you expect in the house of God that feeds you spiritually has turned sour. You are confused and discouraged. You want to fix it, but those in positions who could aid, won’t. You just want to get away.

It is classic evil at work. It is harder to recognize in the sanctuary because we have come to believe that place is immune to such behavior.

We don’t want to see, hear, or believe that it could happen in our church when we are doing so well. Evil doesn’t have to work in evil places; it just sends a maintenance team.

But happy, successful, honest, and compassionate places require the big guns–the big “D’s”– DIVISION. DECEPTION. DESTRUCTION. DENIAL.    DISCOURAGEMENT. All are DEADLY potions for trust, togetherness, friendship, faith, family, spirituality, and growth. All are a slippery slope to DISASTER and DESPAIR.

 

A Seed and the Tree of Liberty

As I sat at the end of my driveway this morning, I contemplated the beauty of the scene before me. I take this grateful walk each morning to make certain that I am grateful for the blessing that I have before I ask for any more. It helps me to remember that I have seen given another day to make a difference because I have that day to serve.

But as I thought about the beauty and blessing of my surroundings, I found my thoughts mingled with the happenings of yesterday. My day was mixed with Scripture, Olympic games, and political rallies and announcements.  Hope and faith were prevalent and prominent. I always find hope, faith and joy in the Scriptures. Certainly hope, faith, and joy were prominent in the faces and beings of the athletes of the world in the closing ceremonies. And I heard a political candidate or two say that this great country, my republic, was built on an idea: our rights come from our Creator, not the government.

When we relate the true history of our beginning, we find this truth in our founding documents. Our Founders were very clear about the government they created. The Liberty Tree that this idea created is filled with the shining ornaments of freedom. These are not ornaments or adornments that lose their luster with time. The more we practice freedom and the liberties given to us in our founding documents, the more precious and priceless they become.

Their was purpose and meaning in every word in our Constitution. That great document is not just language that does not fit with the times. Our Founders chose and fought for every word. Every phrase was purposeful. Every sentence was meant to secure and guarantee these freedoms for the future.  We do not have a situational constitution. We have a Constitution of theUnited States of America. We are the lucky ones born in the country of this noble experiment in government, an experiment that was never tried before nor since our founding anywhere else in the world.

Take the time today to read this great document. Then say no to those who believe that it is a “living document” that should be changed to ”fit our modern times.”  Don’t let anyone tarnish the ornaments on the liberty tree created for you and your posterity. I intend to polish those ornaments every day that I am given, so that my childdren and  my grandchildren may enjoy  the fruit of the liberty tree created by our Founders.