The Heritage Foundation’s Matt Spalding had a great post over the holidays at the Heritage blog. The title: “Remembering the Providential Gift of America.” Below I quote it at length because it doesn’t need to be improved upon.
In it he notes the revolutionary founding of the United States and its monumental success since then. He writes that this nation’s beginning was not about –
– replacing one set of rulers with another, or overthrowing the institutions of society. John Adams queried:
‘What do we mean by the American Revolution? The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. . . . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.’
Our revolution was about the ideas upon which a new nation was to be established. Permanent truths ‘applicable to all men and all times,’ as Abraham Lincoln later said, proclaimed that principle rather than will would be the ultimate ground of government.
What is truly revolutionary about America is that, for the first time in history, these universal ideas became the foundation of a system of government and its political culture. Because of these principles, rather than despite them, the American Revolution culminated not in tyranny but a constitutional government that has long endured.
The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson later recorded, was ‘neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, [but] was intended to be an expression of the American mind.
As Americans, our aim must be a clear expression and forthright defense of the nation’s principles in the public square so that they become, once again, an expression of the American mind. Despite constant scorn by academic elites, political leaders and the popular media, most Americans still believe in the uniqueness of this country and respect the Founders’ noble ideas…
We must give voice to all those who have not given up on their country’s experiment in self-government, have not concluded the cause of liberty and limited constitutional government is lost and have not accepted America’s decline as inevitable.
The goal must be to restore the liberating principles of the American Founding as the defining public philosophy of our nation. As it was for most of American history, so it can be again.
A huge failure of the Republican Party during the past few decades has been that those liberating principles have not been restored.
Most local Republican Party organizations resemble social clubs. When visitors leave their meetings, their reaction is often puzzlement as to the point of the group. There’s little outreach to the voting public, if any. Robert’s Rules of Order are followed, but little common sense.
“Old business” and “new business” are dutifully reported, but at the end, it’s all “old business” that doesn’t advance the ball.
At the state level, the party exists mostly as a motley crew of politically clueless individuals clinging to a title for purposes of personal enjoyment, power, or how it aids in their own financial bottom line.
If you’re a GOP official, chances are your ability to earn money as lawyer, for example, are greatly enhanced. If rank and file Republican voters wonder why certain high level party leaders hold onto power despite little political ability or accomplishment, they now have their answer.
There’s good news for those who realize that status quo must be ended by force: breaking with a failed past is an American tradition. Citizens who are inspired and rallied by movements like the TEA parties and 9/12 Project need only exert their power and move to capture the Republican Party’s ballot line. It’s theirs for the taking.