A New Birth of Freedom

How do we rekindle the flame of liberty in the heart of all American citizens?

I have been thinking about that question. It continues to disturb me that high turnout in an election approaches 50% participation. That is evidence of the disengagement that indicates a passive (or absent) desire for freedom unlike the active desires of Americans at the founding of our nation. I have said before that I would be happy with the outcome of any election where turnout topped 70%.

As this has been churning through my mind trying to come to some approach to the question, I started doing some searching through the things I have written before. Most powerfully I found my Independence Day post from last year quoting American by Choice that “true American citizens are made and not born” and that “Americans, both natural and naturalized, must be trained–they must be made.”

I went on to talk about how to transmit this “made” American culture through the way we celebrate our national holidays. Naturally my focus then was on the 4th of July. The more I think about it though, we should be celebrating our American culture by participation in the rituals that made America what it is – that would be exercising our rights to vote and participate in the various levels of government.

A week later I revisited the topic after I had found a list of what could be considered the founding documents of our nation. To that list I would add the Federalist Papers which I found among my searching today. That gives me 103 documents to study and react to as I continue my search for how we make Americans so that we may experience an end to our Uncivil War and find – as Lincoln sought during our Civil War:

“. . . 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.” (Gettysburg Address)

7 comments for “A New Birth of Freedom

  1. January 2, 2008 at 1:46 am

    I just found this blog by searching Google Blogs for The Federalist Papers. I have been a participant on a discussion forum for about ten years but I found that the general public doesn’t like to read, although I did occassionally succeed in engaging discussions that momentarily seriously considered the Federalist Papers, but that hasn’t happened for a while. It seems unfortunate that most people simply assert truths and don’t back them up with any real references. The Federalist Papers is a great reference for many current discussions, as are the laws, which,thanks to the internet are more accessible to the geneneral public than they have ever been. And of course there is Cspan which allows one to listen in on congress, without any editorializing. I think it is very important to our system of government for the individual to be actively involved because the way the government is structured in a democratic republic, the elected represent the people and how can the representatives do that if the individual people do not participate, not just in voting but in writing to our represntatives, and participating in the ongoing process.

    There is abundant and remarkable thought to be discovered in the Federalist Papers. However in my expereince,the typical contemporary academic is more likely to be familiar with the writings of Marx, than with the discussions of our founding fathers that resulted in the creation of The American Constitution.

  2. January 2, 2008 at 7:54 am

    It is a sad statement that our academics would be more familiar with the writings of Marx than with the writings of our own founders.

    I look forward to any insights you would care to share as I review our founding documents in the future.

  3. January 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Yes, every generation of Americans must be made because we are a nation founded on ideals rather than atavisms.

    I read one conseravtive pundit who wrote that low voter turnout isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it simply means that many people don’t see government as highly relevant to their lives — which is not necessarily a bad thing. I disagree. The cost of freedom is vigilance. Failure to see government as relevant allows the bureaucratic leviathan to grow almost imperceptably and unchecked.

    We need to foster a society in which people become enthused about protecting their liberties.

  4. January 2, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    There’s a ding of the Liberty Bell for Reach. I wish I had a prize to give for everyone who understood the cost of liberty as you just outlined.

    Voter apathy is always a bad thing in a government of the people for the very reasons you stated.

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