Senator John McCain said that after 9-11, he would have called upon Americans to serve. He said, “What has been missing is a president in the White House that taps into that yearning (for service) in a serious way.” The senator extolled service: “Finding new ways to serve - that’s what these next few years should be all about.” “It’s not about the individual, it’s about the cause we serve.” “It makes us exceptional in the kind of citizenry we have and the kind of service and sacrifice that we are capable of.”
Had Senator Barack Obama been president at the time of 9-11, rather than tell the American people to shop, he would have done this, among others: “I would have asked very explicitly for young people to engage in community service and military service.” The senator also extolled service: “The next president is going to have to actively pursue these issues of service.” “… a president who is willing to inspire people to get involved and get outside of themselves.” “What it means to be an American (is) to serve and to sacrifice.”
The US presidential candidates spoke not only of service to the nation, but to the world.
Senator Barack Obama’s national service plan has a price tag of around $3.5 billion, while Senator John McCain would sign the bipartisan bill on national service tripling the size of AmeriCorps.
The Declaration of Independence does not include the words “serve”, “service”, or “sacrifice”. It mentions “Happiness” twice and “Rights” thrice. It does not speak of a cause greater than oneself, but of the “Right of the People”:
“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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”The Gettysburg Address does not include the words “serve”, “service”, or “sacrifice” either:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.President Abraham Lincoln also said this: "We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny."
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
Americans who, like President Lincoln and President Jefferson, think of liberty as: “each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor”, find that the legacy of the Founding Fathers and the brave men President Lincoln honored in his Gettysburg Address, is not represented by any presidential candidate.
President Lincoln said that he had an oath registered in heaven, the most solemn one: to preserve, protect, and defend the government of the people, by the people, for the people -- to preserve, protect, and defend the nation conceived in Liberty -- liberty, which means: “each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor.”
On January 20th, 2009, the United States of America will have a president who will take the same solemn oath that President George Washington, President Thomas Jefferson, and President Abraham Lincoln took. But this president will preserve, protect, and defend “liberty” which means the opposite of “each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor.”
On January 20th, 2009, the President of the United States of America will extol service and sacrifice, not individual rights and happiness. He will glorify a cause greater than oneself, instead of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” - Liberty as “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”
The next President of the United States thinks sacrifice is noble. He speaks not only of service to the nation, but to the world. The next President of the US will do what he thinks is noble. Will he sacrifice his countrymen and his country for a cause greater than an American, greater than the Declaration of Independence?
The person who serves and the one being served are both dependents, just like the sacrificer and the sacrifice-profiteer. The presidential candidates glorify dependence and sacrifice, and thus dishonor the Declaration of Independence.
After 9-11, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama would have called upon Americans to serve. The senators fault President George W. Bush for not tapping into the Americans’ “yearning for service”, and for asking them to shop.
After 9-11, President George W. Bush assured Americans that their government would protect them, that they could travel and go about their normal lives. He did not ask them to sacrifice nor do their government’s responsibility -- he urged Americans to honor what they are: brave and strong. He threw a ceremonial baseball pitch at the Yankee stadium -- he glorified what is mentioned twice in the Declaration of Independence: Happiness!
I thank President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and nameless courageous heroes, for successfully thwarting another 9-11 for seven years.
Fellow Americans, let us demand that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, honor George Washington, the glorious 56, the sons and daughters of Liberty, and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence -- that Individual Rights, that the pursuit of happiness and of one’s own personal interests, shall not perish from the Earth!