Why I Keep Fighting for America
The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Romans 2:4
For over a year now this website has been a voice calling America back to the “old paths”—to her biblical and constitutional foundations. Judging from the numerous emails I receive from readers who think I’m a bit around the bend, it might be a good time for some sober reflection.
Although I have received a great deal of support and encouragement from people, I have also been attacked from both the right and the left. The message from the left is simple: We are happy with America just the way she is, and you’re living a pipe dream if you think she will ever return to the federal republic she was founded as. From the right the message is more opaque, but many people are convinced that the nation is beyond hope and must simply await God’s righteous judgment because of departing from her theological and constitutional moorings. These readers ask, Why waste your time, Dave, seeking to bind our corrupt politicians by the chains of the Constitution? Don’t you realize that the major result of Lincoln’s War was to foist upon our nation a consolidated national government that its Founders had originally rejected? You are deluded if you think that appeals to the Constitution will provide our people with protection from an absolute federal government. Our reckless empire building demonstrates just how useless the claim of constitutional rights are when opposed by men in possession of unlimited power and the lust to force their views upon a free people.
In view of our all-powerful federal bureaucracy, these readers have a valid point. Our centralized, tyrannical government is hell-bent on maintaining empire at the expense of liberty, and few there are who think that the tide can be turned.
Yet, as the verse quoted above says, God’s goodness was never meant to lead us to complacency. In fact, my involvement in “stirring up the pot” for constitutional reform in America has developed in direct proportion to my own deepening appreciation of the liberties vouchsafed to me by men of a far nobler generation than my own, liberties I had taken for granted in the past. Have you ever noticed how the blessings of our Heavenly Father are not appreciated until we lose them? We take the air we breathe for granted, but a few seconds without it leave us dead. We never give thought to the blessing of sleep until we experience a bout with insomnia. No one thinks much about the sunshine, but when it is absent for several days we long for it.
How we take for granted our liberties and forget the God who granted them to us! Not only should we be stirred up to thankfulness but to repentance. Why are we so dull that we must learn by affliction what we should have discovered in the day of plenty? In the end, I write these columns because I believe I have a stewardship responsibility, both to God and to the nation, to defend and promote these precious liberties, regardless of the outcome. Call this a hopeless enterprise if you will, but in my opinion duty demands no less.
Permit me, if you will, a rather lengthy illustration. On May 10, 1861, the legislature of Maryland passed a resolution while that peaceful state was being occupied by United States troops. The resolution passed the Maryland Senate by a vote of 11 ayes and 3 nays. Although the state opposed secession, it nonetheless agreed with the basic American principle of self-determination, of government by the consent of the governed. Invaded and occupied, here is what the brave citizens of Maryland resolved:
Whereas, in the judgment of the General Assembly of Maryland, the war now waged by the government of the United States upon the people of the Confederate States is unconstitutional in its origin, purpose and conduct; repugnant to civilization and sound policy; subversive of the free principles upon which the Federal Union was founded, and certain to result in the hopeless and bloody overthrow of our existing institutions; and,
Whereas, the people of Maryland, while recognizing the obligations of their State, as a member of the Union, to submit in good faith to the exercise of all the legal and constitutional powers of the general government, and to join as one man in fighting its authorized battles, do reverence, nonetheless, the great American principle of self-government, and sympathize deeply with their Southern brethren in their noble and manly determination to uphold and defend the same; and,
Whereas, not merely on their own account, and to turn from their own soil the calamities of civil war, but for the blessed sake of humanity and to arrest the wanton shedding of fraternal blood in a miserable contest which can bring nothing with it but sorrow, shame and desolation, the people of Maryland are enlisted with their whole hearts on the side of reconciliation and peace;
Now, therefore, it is hereby resolved by the General Assembly of Maryland, that the State of Maryland owes it to her own self-respect and her respect for the Constitution, not less than her deepest and most honorable sympathies, to register this, her solemn protest, against a war which the Federal government has declared against the Confederate States of the South and our sister and neighbor, Virginia, and to announce her resolute determination to have no part or lot, directly or indirectly, in its prosecution.
Resolved, That the State of Maryland earnestly and anxiously desires the restoration of peace between the belligerent sections of the country; and the President, authorities and people of the Confederate States having over and over, officially and unofficially, declared that they seek only peace and self-defense, and to be let alone, and that they are willing to throw down the sword the instant the sword now drawn against them shall be sheathed—The senators and delegates of Maryland do beseech and implore the President of the United States to accept the love branch which is thus held out to him, and in the name of God and humanity to cease this unholy and most wretched and unprofitable strife, at least until the assembling of the Congress at Washington shall have given time for the prevalence of cool and better counsels.
Resolved, That the State of Maryland desires the peaceful and immediate recognition of the independence of the Confederate States, and hereby gives her cordial consent thereto, as a member of the Union, entertaining the profound conviction that the willing return of the Southern people to their former Federal relations is a thing beyond hope, and that the attempt to coerce them will only add slaughter and hate to impossibility.
Resolved, That the present military occupation of Maryland being for purposes which in the opinion of the legislature are in flagrant violation of the Constitution, the General Assembly of the State in the name of her people does hereby protest against the same and against the arbitrary restrictions and illegalities with which it is attended, calling upon all good citizens at the same time, in the most earnest and authoritative manner, to abstain from all violent and unlawful interference of every sort with the troops in transit through our territory, or quartered among us, and patiently and peacefully leave to time and reason the ultimate and certain re-establishment and vindication of the right.
Resolved, That under existing circumstances it is inexpedient to call a Sovereign Convention of the State at this time, or to take any measures for the immediate organization or arming of the militia.
This is my view in a nutshell. Though the cause may be utterly hopeless from man’s perspective, I owe it to my own self-respect and my respect for the God-given liberties enshrined in the Constitution, not less than my deepest and most honorable sympathies, to register my solemn protest against a federal government that has declared itself against the sacred law of the land. My supreme business in life is not survival or success or self-satisfaction. What matters is stewardship, and it is required of stewards that they be found faithful, not only until death but unto death if necessary. A man far better than I once put it this way: “All that the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved; and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth” (Robert E. Lee). That is no less my deep desire as well.
Our survival as a free nation depends on how patriotic Americans rise to today’s challenges. For over 200 years, our federal Constitution has challenged government intrusions into our lives, our religious establishments, and our free press. Maintaining the protections guaranteed by the Constitution is the responsibility of every American.
May the goodness of God lead us to repentance!
February 9, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon, will be released this year.