Rick Santorum’s stirring speech, invoking the Founders’ pledge of “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to the cause of liberty, neatly encapsulates the problems of the Republican primary field: Romney has no life, Santorum no fortune, and Gingrich no sacred honor. (Kevin D. Williamson)
Honor is a word we don’t hear too much about any more. A shame. It is not just an interesting concept, but it is a powerful character attribute that has all but disappeared in today’s America. “We need to be the voice for freedom. And that founding document, the Declaration of Independence, at the end of that document, those founders signed their names. But the last clause of that document said we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. [...] America’s honor, your honor is at stake. Go out and preserve the greatest country in the history of the world.” Said Santorum.
Santorum is correct when he says America’s honor is at stake. But what exactly is honor?“While most of us think of honor as title, prestige or fame, I think the Marines have the best grasp of the concept: “honor guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking. It is not only a duty, but a distinction, as those who possess honor are held in honor. It’s found in one’s beliefs, but exhibited through one’s actions.”
“America leads best when she leads by example. This means we need leaders who have the humility to keep our country a nation of laws – not of strongmen – and restore honor to our government institutions. We need to be consistent and live by the rule of law, even when it’s inconvenient to personal or passionate mob agendas.
“Before we can protect America’s borders or overseas interests, we first have to protect America’s heart, and honor needs to once more be our breastplate of righteousness.
“We need to honor life, liberty and private property and make our nation worthy of the manifold sacrifices that have been poured out on the altar of freedom. We need to do unto others as we would have them do unto us and keep our country’s policies above reproach.
“Our honor rests on what we do or fail to do in this election, starting now. Remember this: no foreign enemy can defeat, humiliate or dishonor the United States – only Americans can do that.” (Full Article here)
General MacArthur put it as well as anybody ever has, “Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.
The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.”
The concept in our culture originated, like so many things, with the early residents, both those Native Americans and those newly arrived Americans who sought to live “honorably.” Of course, it meant two different things to the two different cultures, and it is a sad commentary on the European settlers that they soon learned that honor didn’t earn them as much green as trickery. Many of these Europeans thought they were more intelligent because they chose wealth over honor. Many Americans today make that same assumption when they choose their careers, or their wealth over honor.
The Founders did not merely want to be independent of England. It was about more than import duties and having a voice in the British parliament. Christian Patriots caught fire. They realized that America, a land set apart, could be a society set apart too: the world’s first experiment in self-government, a Republic (not a democracy, which is a subject for a thousand posts), and, when we read the documents of the time, a civil society built along biblical principles. Even “deists” – fewer in number than modern textbooks claim – looked to the Bible for blueprints.
What might it mean when people take an Oath, a sacred Oath, a Holy Oath to serve America and their American peers or later generations desecrate that Oath and by doing so the “sacred Honor” of our collective ancestors? Contrary to today’s mindset, America has for generations actually served as the “light on the hill” for multitudes of immigrants. It is not a new idea. But past generations understood there was a code – an “honor code” within the American culture. There have always been criminals and bullies, but they were and are a distinct minority easily overcome by the goodness, the generosity, the kindness of most Americans because we had an understanding America didn’t belong to us alone. It belonged to our parents and grandparents, it belonged to the Pilgrims, the merchants, the farmers that first settled this land.
It also belonged to the Native Americans that were so dishonored by those among us who lacked honor, almost to the destruction of the nation. Likewise with slavery, even within a culture that proclaimed honor, the dishonor to fellow humans nearly destroyed us.
Today, once again, there has arisen in our midst, a number of Americans without any sense of honor, and they threaten to destroy our nation’s very foundation. A multitude of tools and ploys have been released in our midst to distract us, confuse us, and dissuade us they even exist. But let me ask you this, friends: Is America better off today than it was a decade ago? Two decades ago? Two years ago?
Though there is corruption in Washington DC, is there not also corruption in your town, your neighborhood? Is there more or less strife within your home now than 5 years ago? What is the source?
I propose, it is further evidence of the moral decay in our nation in the guise of political correctness. (Political Correctness is merely the resentment of spoilt children directed against their parent’s values.) We must look within ourselves. Does any trace of sacred honor dwell in me, in my life? Do my words and actions resonate with echos of sacred honor sufficient to match those who preceeded me or enough to carry forward to my children and grandchildren?
President Lincoln once said, “You can please (or fool) some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please (or fool) all of the people all of the time.” In the effort to avoid offending one, we offend another, yet we’ve accepted this as freedom. It is not! It is a far cry from freedom. It is mob tyranny – might makes right – which is a poor relative of personal freedom as put forth in our Declaration of Independence.
I challenge you to read this beloved Founding document again, and think about the sacred oath these men (and the women beside them) made to this infant nation, to each other, and to God. We are not in this freedom fight alone! We are joined by the honor of those who loved Freedom before us, and we are accountable to our children and our grandchildren and countless generations yet to come to stand fast, there, in the liberty foreseen by those who came before us and dreamed about by those who will follow us.