“TO PRESERVE OUR LIBERTY”
June 25, 2020
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
The events of the past several weeks make me worry for our great nation.
A remarkable and near-unique American quality has been our ability over the years to abide and engage in harsh self-criticism. From our beginning, we had folks who spoke out, telling truth that slavery was a sin and could not be condoned in a nation founded on Christian virtues. Nonetheless, slavery had always been an integral element in human history (and ingrained in human nature). The great negro spiritual “Let My People Go” was based on the bondage of the Children of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament more than two thousand years earlier. But the words also had a deeper, more personal meaning for those who wrote and sang this hymn.
From the outset, there was a strong abolitionist movement in the Colonies and later, in the United States. The Declaration of Independence resounds with telling sentiments “… 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…” It didn’t differentiate that the Rights were unalienable on the basis of skin color and it was clear that these were not just words on paper. They were a solemn oath. Yet meanwhile, the pull of economic success that supported the fledgling nation required compromise in order to obtain the concurrence of all of the colonies – and later — the new United States. And thus, those good folks postponed dealing with the issue of the slavery that was rampant in the export-dependent, agrarian, Southern states. Moral men knew that slavery was evil, and they also understood that it was scourge on all of humankind – on every continent, among all peoples, and that it had been so throughout history. In the end, they put off coming to terms with this moral dichotomy.
African slave traders ripped human lives from their homes, caged them, and then sold them to the highest bidders, bidders representing all races, religions, and nationalities. (And — by the way — such slave traders are still at it and selling humans at a real-life slave market that thrives in Libya, even as I write this.) In the 1700s and 1800s the Islamist Ottoman Empire was forcibly capturing European men, women and children and selling them at slave markets throughout their empire. Where does one imagine that the blue-eyed concubines in the harems of Muslim overlords came from?
However, despite its ubiquitous nature, no aspect of the long and sordid history of slavery can condone the fact that it was permitted in the New World. Americans raised their voices, from the very beginning, to condemn the evil practice of human bondage. And when, in 1860, further “compromise” became impossible, the situation boiled over, and a civil war was fought that claimed 400,000 lives and ended the scourge of slavery in this country, once and for all. The 1860s were not the 1960s and they are not the 2020s.
The Republican Party was launched in 1860 with the purpose of abolishing slavery in the United States. The Party’s first candidate for president was Abraham Lincoln, who lived up to the party’s standard and, upon election, freed the slaves via the Emancipation Proclamation and ultimately through victory in the great Civil War — even as this great man was denied seeing that outcome to conclusion. Lincoln was murdered by a Democrat Party stalwart at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. A great, war-weary nation mourned the great man’s horrific end … and now, today, there are some among us who wish to expunge the memorials and remembrances of this great hero and true patriot – in the name of ? In the name of all things — Black Lives Matter? The beautiful Lincoln Memorial in our capital city is being defaced by know-nothings aided and abetted by a know-nothing, Black-Lives-Matter-supporting crowd. How can this be? What greater patriot and hero can America have? What greater example of righteous love and honor for all mankind, regardless of color or creed? But, hey, that was then. This is NOW. We are now totally WOKE! (Whatever in the h*** that means!)
History is a teacher, and those who deny or refuse its lessons are predetermined to repeat its follies. There were great Americans in our past whose lives and sacrifices can and should evoke pride and patriotism and love of country in all of us, regardless of color or creed. But, today – any such folks aren’t considered WOKE! (Whatever in h*** that means…)
I worry for our great nation. And so do the vast majority of my fellow veterans who served in harm’s way to preserve our liberty. Exactly, who made “WOKE” (whatever the h*** that is) the sole arbiter of worthiness in measuring our nation’s heroes and our nation’s past? Tear down statues? Wow! How brave — The bronze-cast figures can’t fight back. But try to light up Old Glory in front of me or one of mine, and — it’s on, brother!! And one of us is not leaving the scene upright!
Old, 82-year-old Frank (Don’t try us)