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Friday, December 09, 2011

GARY EMINETH: FREDERICK DOUGLAS - TEACHING THE TRUTH TO BUILD THE ROOTS OF FREEDOM

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” 

                                                                                     - Frederick Douglass

 

 

My wife and I have two children--teenage boys ages 15 and 17.  My wife has a degree in counseling.  Although neither “job” is easy--parenting or counseling, I would have to say I agree with Douglass.

Nothing came easily for a slave in the United States of America in the years before the Civil War. For that matter, nothing came easily for people of color afterwards either.  However, those like Douglass who survived were people who had somehow found the strength to persevere.

My thoughts for this entry in the “Voices of Freedom” travel diary will reflect the importance of solid foundations or a healthy root system in the life of a person, family, community, society and a country.  I chose Frederick Douglass as a starting point because he was not only brutally honest about the shortcomings of the Founding Fathers, he embraced the system they set in place and worked within it.  He had a solid philosophy which he adhered to and refused to adjust it to accommodate the circumstances.

Douglass was a Republican in the days when that affiliation was new, radical and untried.  The following are a few of his thoughts about what that association meant to him:

 

“I am a black dyed in the wool Republican and I never intend to belong to any party other than the party of freedom and progress.”

 

“I recognize the Republican Party as the sheet anchor of all the political hopes of a colored person, and as the ark of his safety.”

 

It is not my intention in this piece to purport the specific philosophies of any particular political party.  While I may agree with Douglass on his choice, I want to focus on the significance of a belief system as the underpinning of a life well lived and the preservation of freedom in a culture or society.

The beginning as the old song says, is often “a very good place to start.”  It is timely as well in this September issue to discuss the beginnings of this country as the 17th of September was Constitution Day marking the anniversary of Constituional Convention in 1787.  The document which was forged by the men who had gathered and discussed and disagreed and negotiated over a period of years since the Declaration of Independence from Britain was signed was a masterpiece in and of itself.  However, even the most ardent of its contributors and supporters were skeptical of the probability of its long term success. 

Less than a hundred years later, from a wind-swept knoll overlooking the bloodied battlefield at Gettysburg, a weary President spoke these words,

 

“Fourscore and seven years ago our Father’s brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation--or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated --can long endure.”

 

The very essence of what this country had been founded upon--equality and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness--had been forced into the spotlight by a variety of issues concerning the rights of individual states to make decisions for themselves independent of the union.  One of those rights was the right to hold and keep slaves.  For these men and women there had been no fourth of July--the words of the Founding Documents were a cruel joke. 

It was time for reflection, debate and eventually action.  At a very high price, the ideals of the American Republic were bought by her protectors--her people and she experienced the pains of a “new birth of freedom.”  Back to the drawing board--but not to rewrite the manual--only to review it for the purpose of discovering what went wrong.  Douglass says it this way:

 

“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection and observation to appreciate it.”

 

And it is time again after another century or more to stop, look and listen to the warning signs and to become familiar once again with the roots and foundations of the idea that is America.  This requires her people to become students of the historical documents, mouthpieces of these ideas in the home, family and the workplace, and courageous warriors to fight the battles which need to be fought.

These battles may be as simple and fundamental as becoming informed as to what is actually allowed and not allowed in the public school your children attend.  With all the liberal media hype as to the danger of freedom of speech and religion in the schools, many have assumed that all mention of God, church or religion in school is against the law.  It is not. 

Get a copy of the US Constitution and the State Constitution of ND and find out for yourselves.  You have more rights and freedom than you may think.

There are battlefields in court rooms across this country where it looks as though the enemy is winning--but think again.  Every day average folk are defending themselves by becoming more informed about the law and refuse to back down to the intimidation which is just a guise for  a lack of integrity, apathy or simple incompetence in the legal profession..

Over and above everything else we can do as a concerned citizen, becoming more informed is probably the number one item on the action plan for preserving a culture of freedom for the next generation.

As we are experiencing first hand, it truly is easier to raise strong children--to strengthen the fiber of this country of ours--the minds, the resolve and the hearts of her people than it is to empty her prisons and reverse a Supreme Court decision. 

Many years ago, a local TV station used a song that started this way to advertise their programming

 

“Teach your children well….”

 

It’s the most important job you’ll ever do, requires more education than any other, but the rewards go on forever.

There’s an old saying, “the best bequests you can leave for your children--one is roots and the other is wings..”

I believe if they are rooted and grounded in truth, they will have all they need to fly--and to do it well.

 

 

 

 

Gary Emineth is President and Founder of Freedom Roots

TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS

 

 

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