“Give America Back” is the common slogan of most conservative Republicans running for President. They never spell out what that it means to give America back, but I take it to mean that we must go back to the past—but what past do they have in mind? Having lived 80 years and having taught U.,S. History for 34 of them, I have reached the conclusion that the past was often not so great. I, myself, have no desire to return to life as it was in my past with no electricity, with no antibiotics, no polio vaccines, no social security, no medicare, etc. What I would like to see—if we are going back to the past— is to go back to the principles on which our nation was founded . Those principles are found in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution and we have lost sight of them.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common defence, promoet the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
By “going back” to these principles America will really be moving forward into the future, for they are principles that communicate the hopes of the “founding fathers’ for the kind of nation they wanted to build. We have a long way to go to return to those principles. More and more I see our country and my state of Kansas not following these principles, and , in fact, going in the opposite direction.. For example:
Instead of “striving for a more perfect Union” we are politically divisive and uncompromising. We are full of mistrust for each other and fear of each other. That leads to disunion rather than perfecting our union. Being politically divisive and uncompromising as several of our G.O.P candidates have been and say they will continue to do led to our Civil War and it can do so again today.
We have only established justice for those who can afford it. We often confuse “justice” with “vengeance” in most cases—-getting even. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth justice. We recoil at the idea of social justice which involves an equal opportunity for all, regardless of color, gender, ethnic characteristics or wealth. Those at the bottom of our society today are disregarded as not important and we say they need to work and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps—-but our laws have taken away the bootstrap, and often the boots themselves. We now value people based on their “market value” in a capitalistic economy that favors the rich and is based on taking away from the poor.
Domestic Tranquility. I’ll ask one question? Has the law that everyone can open carry a gun in Kansas produced safety and domestic tranquility? No it means that every night there is a shooting in Wichita, either accidental or planned. It has resulted not in tranquility but in fear of your life lest you get caught in the crossfire of someone who does not know how to handle a gun. When the Constitution said to “provide for the common defense” do you think they actually meant that everyone should carry a gun to protect us from each other? No—they were talking about the defense of a nation, not personal defense against our fellow Americans.
Finally, “promote the general welfare” is the last principle I’ll discuss. We have lost two things that would do this: (1)compassion for the poor and those at the bottom of the society who are struggling to survive; and (2) putting aside our selfish wishes for the good of the nation. We see the lack of this principle in a Congress that tries to repeal Obamacare instead of improve it so that all can have health insurance. . We see that in the state of Kansas state in favoring the rich at the expense of the middle class—raising taxes to pay for a tax cut for businesses. Somehow it doesn’t see that anyone is interested in my general welfare when my Kansas income taxes and sales taxes both go up! Political advantage gets in the way of promoting the general welfare—-providing what is good for all of our citizens, not just the rich and the powerful who finance the politicians who pass the laws.
Our founding fathers had a deep belief in a Supreme Being—the one that Jesus revealed to us
Some of the things that Jesus emphasized as most important when he revealed the heart of God are found in his inaugural sermon given in the synagogue at Nazareth, his home town: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your midst”. As Jesus expanded on the meaning of this message, those in the synagogue tried to take him and throw him over a cliff.
Jesus spent his time healing and recognizing the outcasts of society—the leper, the mentally ill, the poor, the rejected.He was interested in the general welfare of society—-a he showed us all are equal in the eyes of God and all deserve to be treated as God’s children.
America and my state of Kansas are doing the opposite! We are not carrying out the teachings of Jesus even though the governor and legislature say they are Christians. Neither are we fulfilling the dreams of our founding fathers. We who say we are following Jesus are disregarding everything in the message Jesus brought that are reflected in principles of the founding fathers of our nation.
I think if our founding fathers came back to life now they would be appalled and disappointed over the direction of the nation they founded.
I think that if Jesus came again tomorrow, he wouldn’t last a week until we crucified him, because he would stand for all the things that we feel are unimportant—-like feeding the hungry, giving all an equal opportunity. He would stand for fixing the system that causes great poverty—not just throwing the poor an occasional crumb from our table. He would take a stand for mercy and forgiveness in the face of our hatred and desire for vengeance. Yes—I’m sure we would crucify him within the week!