This Time The Americans Were Here

Military history has always been an interest of mine.

Twice I visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, which was the place where Custer and the US Army Seventh Cavalry fought against the Lakota (Sioux) and their allies the Cheyenne. Custer and five companies of cavalry with him were wiped out; though some of the Seventh survived, there were extensive losses on both sides.

The first time I was there, I was traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada, to northern Illinois. I had just graduated what was then known as the US Air Force Fighter Weapons School. It was a day in early May, 1991. It was a beautiful spring day; it was warm and comfortable, sunny, with fluffy white cumulus clouds floating by, so close to the ground I felt I could reach up and touch them.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield was an eerie place. There were few other people there, and a road allowed visitors to drive along the low hill line that served as a defensive position for the Seventh Cavalry troopers. The first stop along that road from the highway was a small, fenced-in place where Custer himself had been found, dead, surrounded by dead cavalrymen.

I could feel their presence, 115 years after the battle.

For me, every man there was a hero, even if all he did was look up at the sky and cry during the battle.

I went back there again several years ago. The place had changed; they had improved the facilities. Along the way, I talked with some of the Lakota people who live in the area.

For me, they were all Americans; it is sad that we all had to fight each other, but I honor the Lakota and Cheyenne every bit as much as the US soldiers.

Since that time, I have begun to try to learn some Lakota. We need to preserve these Native American cultures and languages, because if they die out, it will be a loss for all humanity, and especially for us Americans.

__________

These past few years, it is similar for me traveling around the Deep South. I come across old graveyards where Confederate soldiers are buried. At times, I find the graves of men who served in the Revolutionary War.

I was raised in the North, and grew up thinking that the Confederacy, like the Indians, were an enemy. As I got older, I learned. The Confederate soldiers, too, were Americans. The war had to be fought to keep the Republic together, and to end slavery. But, it is sad: how much more could we have accomplished if there had been no rebellion, and if we could have agreed to end slavery peacefully, years sooner?

__________

In the fall of 1991, a few months after my first visit to Little Bighorn, I went to Germany to visit an old friend from high school.

While there, I of course had to take a trip to Bastogne.

You may remember that tiny town in Belgium. In late 1944, Hitler tried one last gamble to change his fortunes: he collected over twenty divisions of troops and on December 16th launched them against the American lines in the Ardennnes Forest. As all attacks do, this attack caused a bulge in the defending lines; noticing this, war correspondents dubbed it “the Battle of the Bulge”, and that is how it is known to history. The US Army fell back to Bastogne, and rushed in elements of the elite 101st Airborne Division; the Germans couldn’t take the town, and their offensive failed.

I rode a train into the Ardennes Forest that fall. It was a self-propelled passenger car – a one-car train. I got off in Bastogne, found a hotel, and got a room. I walked around a little that rainy autumn night, then bought a bottle of wine and some bread, and went back to my room for the evening.

The next day, I got up and walked around. Exploring, I noticed a place called the “Cafe Le Patton” – the Patton Cafe. Later, I discovered a small museum; it was closed, but there was a phone number to call to make an appointment to have it opened up. I called the number and in my broken-but-not-too-bad French made an appointment for a tour. The curator met me at 2:00 PM. It was strange, because the museum had been broken into, so there was a police officer there with us filling out a report as I got my tour. Occasionally, the curator would explain something in French, but I wouldn’t get it; the policeman would help translate, speaking English that was almost as bad as my French. They were really great people.

As it ended, I thanked the curator for taking the time to give me a personal tour, and he answered “For an American, it’s a pleasure.”

I was touched, but didn’t really understand the gravity of his statement.

That night, I had dinner in a Chinese restaurant… got a little drunk (what the heck, I was on vacation and walking)… went back to my room. You had to be inside the hotel by 10:00 PM, or you were locked out until the next morning.

The next day I got up, had the free continental breakfast in the dining room, carrying on a nice conversation in French with some people – I forget where they were from, but French was a foreign language for them, too – and then went out to explore again.

It was overcast, chilly, rainy…. There was another museum farther out, and I toured it. It was big, and had a lot of stuff dealing with the battle. (The other museum had been small, and had historical information going back to when humans first inhabited the region.)

Walking back late in the afternoon, I stopped in at the Cafe Le Patton.

Understand, this was a neighborhood place. The locals (men) went there in the evening to have a few drinks and catch up on the day’s events. (I didn’t notice what was going on there in the daytime; presumably lunch.) When I walked in, everybody looked at me.

They were quite friendly, and were pleased to find out I could speak passable French.

And then I explained I was an active duty officer in the US Air Force, on vacation. I showed them my green ID card.

At that point, I was ushered to a seat, and an older gentleman came and sat down with me. He spoke fairly good English; he had learned it from the downed US and British aviators that he had helped during the war.

We talked a LOT. There was a younger man named Guy who stood nearby: Guy had studied English in school, and spoke it reasonably well; whenever the man and I had trouble, Guy helped us out with a translation.

We talked and talked.

Finally, toward the end of the evening, as I was getting ready to leave (it was after 9 PM, and I didn’t want to be locked out), the man told me a story.

In a reference to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and the beginning of World War II in 1940, he said that three times before, the Germans had attacked through the Ardennes Forest, and each time, they occupied the region for years. The fourth time, though (in 1944, at the Battle of the Bulge), it was different: this time, the Americans were here, and the Germans were stopped cold.

There was, of course, more to the story than that: in 1870, 1914 and 1940, Germany was an ascendant power; in 1944, Germany was war-weary, scraping the bottom of the barrel for troops and resources, and low on fuel for their panzer divisions. On top of that, in the previous three attacks, the German forces were moving along the roads through the woods in a southwesterly direction toward Paris; this time, they were curving northwest, toward the coast, and the roads didn’t really run in that direction.

That didn’t really matter, though.

What mattered to these people was that the Americans were there, and the Germans got stopped.

It was late, and I had to leave. I asked the bartender how much I owed, as he was keeping a ticket behind the bar. He pulled my tab out, looked it up and down a couple of times, and then looked at me and said “Nothing!”

The free drinks (and they kept my glass full!) and good will were bought and paid for by American soldiers back in December, 1944: those men fought, and died, in the snow stopping the Nazi offensive, and here I was cashing in on free beer.

As I left, my friend from the Resistance asked me if I needed anything… food, wine… a girl, perhaps?

Oh my gosh, I thanked him very profusely, but said no, I’m okay, I just need to get back to my hotel room.

(A girl?! Oh my gosh!!)

__________

God blessed America with great men, wise men, who gained our independence and established a new form of government, an enduring government where people are sovereign, people’s rights are the rule, and government is limited, ruling by consent of the governed.

God blessed America again and again with great people to build and defend not just our country, but other countries as well!

But the forces of evil do not rest; tyrants forever seek to oppress and enslave their fellow humans.

I swore at Little Bighorn, and time and again in the remote cemeteries here in the South over the graves of American soldiers from past centuries, that if America is destroyed, it will be over my dead body. And I asked God to help, and to send me the courage and wisdom of these brave warriors as we fight a new kind of war, a war in cyberspace and in the hearts and minds of people all around the world.

As future histories are being written about tyranny and where it tries to spread, wherever those histories mention Americans, let it be said that the forces of oppression advanced this far, and no farther, because this time the Americans were here.

You Will Struggle – But Why and For What?

Found on social media…

It’s not just the ANC, not just South Africa; this is how government works, and America’s founders understood this fact.

Just think about the absolute monarchy that was France in the mid-Eighteenth Century, at the time of America’s founding. Even if the famous saying of Louis XIV (1638-1715), “L’Etat, c’est moi” (“I am the State”), is apocryphal, the attitude most certainly was both authentic and widely-held among the ruling classes. Even as late as the early Twentieth Century, Russia remained an absolute monarchy.

America’s founders really understood both government and human nature. That’s why they gave us such an inefficient government, with power limited, balanced and checked. That’s why they codified our rights in our Constitution, after having first explained in our Declaration of Independence that these rights are OURS, given to us by our Creator, and that it is WE who give power to the government, not a government who empowers us.

Government power grows at the expense of people.

The English-speaking world struggled over the course of centuries to take power away from monarchs and put it in the hands of people; the American Revolution was a natural consequence of this. Before our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, there had been in the English-speaking world the Magna Carta Libertatum (1215), the Petition of Right (1628) and the English Bill of Rights (1689). The American Revolution happened exactly because the colonies were English-speaking, and there had been this centuries-old tradition of people fighting to be treated as citizens, and not as subjects or serfs: the American Revolution did not happen in the Spanish-speaking world; it came before and was very different from the French Revolution.

And after America was established, it wasn’t finished; we still had to fight to end slavery, enfranchise women….

Bear in mind, the fight to end slavery almost destroyed our nation, and in the event, keeping the country together while ending slavery cost America very dearly. When is America going to pay reparations for slavery? We already did: well over half a million men died in combat to end that terrible institution, not to mention all those wounded, the families and communities destroyed, lives ruined. But their sacrifice was most certainly not in vain, because since the first shots were fired at Lexington in 1775, Americans have led the way in freeing themselves and each other, and the whole world, from the brutal yoke of the tyrant.

Don’t take my word for it; ask the victims of German Nazi and Japanese Militarist aggression: in just a few short years, just those two countries managed to enslave most of Europe and much of Asia and the Western Pacific. Many, including the English-speaking world, resisted bravely, but it was when Japan foolishly and treacherously motivated the great Bald Eagle to leave her nest that their days truly became numbered. Imperialists took comfort women and destroyed Nanking, Nazis took European capitals and established death camps – and they called this war, celebrating a “victory” at Pearl Harbor. But when we Americans wage war, we wage the real thing: Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan were both left in ruins, while the war finally ended with Japanese officials agreeing to their own unconditional surrender aboard an American battleship at anchor in the bay of their own capital city, which itself was thoroughly bombed-out.

America is not perfect; far from it. Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and people are only human; we are not perfect, and neither is the government we establish.

Far better to live in imperfect freedom, with an imperfect government that we establish to safeguard our rights, than to live in perfect tyranny with promises that a perfect society is just over the horizon.

That’s why, as I write this, there is a caravan of thousands walking toward the American border. They would rather cross over here without our permission and live illegally in this imperfect nation, than to remain where they are, in abject and dismal poverty, oppressed by corrupt governments and criminal gangs – but with their presence under those conditions perfectly lawful.

Make no mistake about it: The struggle for freedom is still not over; liberty in America is not Revolutionary, as much as it is Evolutionary.

But the way human society works is that power gets concentrated in the hands of a controlling few.

People must inform themselves and be actively vigilant to further the evolution of freedom and prevent that from happening.

If you don’t stay abreast of what is going on, if you say and do nothing when you have a concern, then you will naturally gravitate toward oppression – call it socialism, call it slavery, the result is the same: those in power will take charge of housing, feeding, clothing and educating you, and will organize your work; your house will be a prison, even though you may have voted for it and you may even find it comfortable.

To be free, you must struggle every day.

And you will struggle every day; the choice is yours whether you struggle to be free, or whether you struggle under the yoke of socialism, slavery or some other fancy word that still means one thing: tyrannical oppression, the embodiment of Hell manifesting itself in this Earthly realm.

Property and Rights

In America, we make an issue about our rights.

Our Declaration of Independence states:

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.

We do not believe that our rights come from government.

We believe that our rights are something we have, just because we exist, and that the reason we form governments is to protect these rights and ensure we can exercise them.

As such, our First Amendment guarantees some of these rights.

Let this be very clear.

Our First Amendment does not “give” us these rights; they are ours because we exist.

Our First Amendment merely codifies them; it states them as something that we are instructing our government to guarantee and protect.

The First Amendment begins with this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…

Before we go over the rights, let’s consider the phrase “Congress shall make no law”.

Our Constitution divides our government into three branches: 1) a Legislative, “Congress”, that makes laws; 2) an Executive, headed by a President, that enforces or executes the laws; and 3) a Judiciary, headed by a Supreme Court, that interprets the laws.

The logic was simple: If Congress makes no law, then there is no law for the Executive to enforce or for the Judiciary to interpret.

Also, as this was written when America was young, most of the new states already had fundamental laws of their own, and these fundamental laws tended to guarantee the same things that our Bill of Rights was written to guarantee. Thus, the restriction was placed on the federal government, because it was generally accepted that the state governments already had restrictions on their conduct that were adequate in the eyes of their citizens.

So, let’s begin with this first right, “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

We think that this, if properly understood and followed, is adequate to protect our religious rights, so we can practice our religion freely, or not practice a religion; and, not have government force a religion on us.

But, it is not.

Intricately entwined in this are our property rights.

Suppose, for example, you have this First Amendment as a fundamental law (as we in America do), but you have no right to own private property.

With no private property…where’s your church?

If you think the government will provide you a church, does that not mean “establishment of religion”?

Where’s your Bible?

Similarly, if you think the government will provide you a Bible, does that not mean “establishment of religion”?

If you are not allowed to own private property, then you have no place of worship and no holy book, and if the government endeavors to provide you with these things, then the government is in fact telling you what to believe and how to believe it.

Implicit in this freedom of religion is the right to private property: you must be able to have a church, mosque, synagogue, temple or other place of worship; this place must be owned privately, by yourself or a group of people, and not by the government; and, similarly, you must be able to have, possess and enjoy any documents that you find necessary to your belief.

Implicit in this is yet another First Amendment freedom, the right to peaceably assemble. Assembled, you do not have to petition the government for a redress of grievances; but you must be able to assemble a body of people. This right serves not only as a check on government, but as a fundamental part of enjoying your freedom. How can you worship in a community of believers if you cannot peaceably assemble? Or, for that matter, how can you enjoy a day at the beach with your family, or a picnic, or a baseball game, or a show in a theater, if you are not permitted to assemble peaceably in a group?

But, we have gotten away from our property rights.

Or, have we?

How can you enjoy a picnic if there is no private property where you can have it, and if the government decides it will not provide public property for that use?

But, back to our property rights: “or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”

At the time this was written, free speech was not just written; people put their thoughts in writing, and distributed them on handbills – flyers that they could pass around. This allowed contact with people across time and space. Similarly, there was the “press” – newspapers produced on printing presses.

If, at the time, the government did not permit printing presses to be privately owned, would people have had this freedom?

Under such circumstances, would the government be required to print whatever a citizen asked? And, if so, who would pay for it? And, who would guarantee that the bureaucrat running the press didn’t set one order aside and prioritize another, based on personal preference, or based on instructions from a superior? Would you demand another bureaucrat to supervise the guy running the press? You would then need yet another one to supervise that one. And so on. And, all this costs more money.

Fast forward to today: free speech and a free press now basically require access to a computer, a printer, a photocopier, the internet… and if you demand the government provide these things for you, then you incur extra cost and uncertainty in your access, while if you allow the government to restrict private ownership of these things, then you allow government to restrict your exercise of your fundamental rights.

Here’s another look at this.

If you don’t have access to your computer, printer, photocopier… how can you produce and distribute material about your religious beliefs? If you don’t have freedom of speech, how can you discuss, debate and share your religious beliefs? How can you worship if you are not allowed preach or sing the praise of your Creator?

And, if you don’t have freedom of speech and of the press, does it really matter if you have a computer, printer and photocopier?

These rights are all intertwined; they are not mutually exclusive, but rather, they are mutually interdependent.

And the right to private property is fundamental to all of them.

The reality is that there are an infinite number of rights that are all intertwined. To begin to name a few, we immediately leave others out. So, we name the others, but find there are still more we have left out:

I have a right to sit in my car.

Wait a minute; I have a right to own a car!

I have a right to drink a soft drink.

Wait a minute; I have a right to have a soft drink, so I may drink it – or for some other purpose.

I have a right to drink my soft drink while I am sitting in my car.

I also have a right to sit in my car, and NOT drink the soft drink that I have.

There are an infinite number of rights that we have; the more we try to say what they are, the more we leave out.

So, we do not try to say what they all are.

Rather, we have the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

We do not have to justify what right we have or why we want to enjoy it. We have it because our Creator gave it to us, and it is between us and our Creator whether and how we enjoy it.

And, most emphatically, to enjoy these rights, we also have a right to private property: we may accumulate possessions and enjoy them in a peaceful manner, as we see fit.

Government’s job, with our consent, is to secure these rights for ourselves and our posterity; nothing more.

Give Proof Through the Night

The Star-Spangled Banner begins:

“O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming…”

There is, of course, a great deal of bad information being spread around about  the entire song, and this has become a reason for some really dumb protests.

Rather than address all the bad info, I am going to provide you some good info about a certain aspect of the battle that was occurring as this poem was being drafted up.

It was the summer of 1814, and we were at war with the British.  The Royal Navy was very powerful, and provided the British with the ability to move their forces up and down the coast, concentrating their power to hit us, thereby making us react to them.

This was good for them, bad for us.

Specifically, the British had just attacked Washington, DC, and burned the city.  Now, they were closing in on Baltimore.  A main defensive point protecting Baltimore was Fort McHenry.

The fort had been reinforced by sinking a few ships in the waters nearby.  This would help keep the Royal Navy from slipping past.  If the Royal Navy attempted to go past the fort, their ships would come under fire from the fort’s guns, and that would be costly.  The Royal Navy needed to somehow silence Fort McHenry’s guns; essentially, they had to get the garrison to surrender.

At the time, not only did the British warships have cannon, but there was also a ship armed with rockets and several armed with mortars.  They could dish out quite a bit of punishment, but Fort McHenry’s fortifications had also recently been upgraded right prior to the battle, so the fort could take it.

The British got in close, hammered the fort with rockets and mortars, then went back farther out, out of range of the fort’s cannon, and began to bombard the fort for the next 27 hours.

If the American fort surrendered, Baltimore would get burned.  But, the other option was to just sit there and take it – the British ships were too far away for the Americans to effectively fire back.

So, the Americans had to sit there and get blasted.  And, since they did not surrender, the British warships had to eventually sail off, because if they tried to just sail past the fort, the British ships would get hit by the American cannon.  And that would mean the British ships would get sunk, with great losses among the men embarked on them.

It was an example of one side winning the fight simply by not giving up.  It is not uncommon that victory goes to the side that simply refuses to quit.

I  mention this because conservative America is under attack today.  We face attack from the radical left, from radical militant Islam, and from a whole plethora of other enemies.  As we watch our culture get not just ridiculed, but destroyed, sometimes it seems like all we can do is take it.

The night seems dark, and we are under constant bombardment.  But, America is worth defending, and when daybreak’s first light allows everyone to distinguish the truth from all the evil lies, let everyone see that we still fly the same flag that we proudly flew before the attack began.

If all you feel you can do is take it, know that you are defending America honorably and well by refusing to give up.

And know also that as long as they continue their attacks on conservative America, that means that conservative America is still here, and a threat to them, just as our mere presence has been a threat to tyrants throughout history:  their bombardment means our flag still flies high.

“Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

America Needs to be Restored

The United States of America – commonly referred to simply as America – is more than a nation.

America is an idea founded upon an ideal.

This ideal is that we are all equal in the eyes of our Creator.

This does not mean that we are all equally talented or wealthy, but that, in the eyes of our Creator, we are all equally human.

This was revolutionary at the time America was founded. European-based society back then was very hierarchical. There was typically a king, and people had to get up early to have everything ready for him when he got up. Other people had to get up even earlier to get things ready for those people.   Servants helped their masters get ready to serve their masters, and so on.  And this was the case not just in Europe, but around the world!

In that world, the founders of this nation put boldly onto paper the principle that even the most humble servant was, in the eyes of God, the equal of the most powerful monarch.

Implicit in this was the logical conclusion that these words would some day apply to all humanity, men and women of all origin and ethnicity.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood this. He knew, as he was leading the civil rights movement, that he was cashing in on a promise made nearly two centuries earlier, and that doing so would benefit all humanity for all time to come.

And make no mistake about it: as this nation’s founders were signing that revolutionary document, they were signing a warrant for their own death should they fail to deliver on the initial installment of that promise: our Declaration of Independence was more than treasonous in the eyes of King George III; it was and still is a challenge to the entire existing world order.

Today, a person can move to Poland, learn to speak Polish, adopt the customs and ways of the people there, and even become a citizen of Poland.  But a person of Asian or African descent will never truly be Polish.  Similarly, a person from Europe or Africa can move to Vietnam, learn to speak Vietnamese and adopt the culture of the people in that nation, even becoming a citizen, but that new citizen will never truly be Vietnamese.

In sharp contrast, anyone can come to America, and, along with learning the language of this country and becoming a citizen, that person can truly become an American, simply by believing in the idea that is America, and by striving for the ideal upon which America was founded.

It is striving for this ideal, and living in the freedom which it has brought, that has made America the greatest country in the history of the world.  This is what has made America a light for the world, a beacon of hope shining in the darkness of the fear, oppression, and poverty that have plagued humanity through the ages.

We must remember this every day, and every day we must seek to restore America and renew the struggle to move toward this ideal.

Because if we don’t – if we allow the light to go out here in America – the whole world will fall into a new dark age, and it will be to Heaven alone that we will have to look for equality and freedom.