by Renee Metcalf
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
One striking observation about the Founding Fathers is their selfless concern for future generations. They were long-sighted. They knew the gravity of what they were doing when they declared independence from the mighty nation of Great Britain. They understood the monumental task ahead of them in creating a new government and the dangers of power. They gathered their vast knowledge of the Bible, history, government, economics, and the nature of mankind to construct a free and united country.
Imperfect men created an imperfect country, yet one that still stands and still has more freedom and opportunity today than any place on earth. What are we doing now to guard this treasure? Would the Founders be proud of us for what we have done with their legacy?
Many complain about the sorry situation the U.S. is in. At the same time, few know what to do about it, and worse, others won’t trouble themselves with doing anything. A good place to start is close to home. We must become involved in local affairs. But a common expression reveals a problem, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” When we conduct business the same way with the same people, it is unrealistic to expect different results. In Floyd, “outsiders” are not welcome to participate in local politics. However, that is exactly what hinders Floyd. Locals are limited by a nearsightedness that “outsiders” do not suffer from. They have fresh ideas, but if only locals conduct business, positive changes will be stymied. This is why executives often bring in fresh blood. They know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut. Working together with open minds, locals, and “outsiders” could make Floyd an even better place than it is. Trying days are ahead, and such a partnership could make Floyd better able to weather it. Will Floyd ever join hands in this way?
I have been to numerous school board meetings and a few Board of Supervisors meetings in Floyd County, and fewer than a dozen people show up. Typically, it is the same few people. How many people even know what is being discussed? To remain so disengaged with local affairs is to have no voice. In conversations with others, I know that many feel demoralized because when they have voiced their concerns, they have been ignored. I suggest that if an issue matters to you, never give up. If it is important, it needs to be discussed and defended. If your concerns are ignored, it is a clear sign that better people need to be found for these local offices. It will take your time and effort. It will take persistence. Why not you? If our Founders were like people today, who give up so easily, we would not be living in the United States of America. Be like the Founders.
If we hope to turn this country around so that our children and grandchildren can live a more peaceable life, we will have to do three things: 1) study the Founders and adopt their ways, 2) teach our children to adopt a better set of values and 3) develop our character. First, the Founding Fathers believed in God. That may be unpopular to some today, but that is a historical fact. Our country was founded upon Biblical Christian values. For example, our legal system is not a set of arbitrary laws but is based upon the standard of God’s Word. Indeed, it is a flawed system because it was created by flawed human beings, but more importantly, because we have strayed from our Christian foundation. It is up to us to do something about it because it is these Christian values that give strength to our country. Our enemies know this. They have been busy attacking and dismantling these values because they know that is where the strength of America lies. When Americans attack these Christian values, they are destroying their own house with their own hands. Although some in the early days of America were not Christians, they still adopted the Christian values of their society, which has had a long-lasting impact.
Next, we must teach our children to return to these time-tested values. It begins with knowledge, of which the Bible has this to say: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Although this has a spiritual application and context, it has relevance to this topic. However, knowledge alone will not help turn America on a different path. We can teach our children our system of government, but without understanding why it matters, they will not work to preserve freedom. Knowledge, in this passage, implies more than a cerebral understanding but regard for it. For a short and easy-to-read book on ten values that are a vanishing part of American heritage, read The Spirits of ’76 by Eric Sloane. He wrote this to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. in 1976. He shares his insights on the “spirits” of respect, hard work, frugality, Godliness, and patriotism. These are the values that we must teach our children to esteem. For a book on the American government, I recommend The 5,000 Year Leap by Cleon Skousen.
Lastly, we must develop our own character. The Founding Fathers knew what it meant to sacrifice everything. What are we willing to sacrifice for freedom? They sacrificed their good name as they were regarded as rebels. Many lost their fortunes, their family, and their home. That is a huge price to pay! Why would they do that? They had a way of life that they treasured above all. We cannot hope someone else will “do something” because “someone else” is us. We must read and learn. We must teach our children what to value and why. We must work on our own character and find our courage again.
We have enemies today that are working overtime to tear us apart. If we will set aside our differences and work together, there is nothing we can’t do. Fifty-five delegates (with all of their differences) came together to create a Constitution that protects our God-given freedoms. But it is up to us in our generation to safeguard them. Without knowledge, the values, and the character that undergirds these freedoms, we will soon see our country become another casualty of history. Our last Independence Day celebration is only one generation away. Is that how you want to live in America? I don’t think so.