In our everyday world, there is a lot of good out there. People reach out to help one another. Small things like a nod and a smile and large goals like teams from multiple countries coming together to find kids lost in a cave.
There is evil in the world also. Some people will insult others just to make themselves feel better. And some people will shoot one another, over ideology, fear, and misunderstanding, or just for sport.
This, though, has been true throughout the history of humanity. The Romans built great public works: aqueducts, roads, and fountains. And in Rome gangs of youth and even those in power would walk around at night and stab people for sport. It appears there’s good and evil in everyone. The only question is which, good or bad, will the individual focus on.
This week we celebrate an idea, that all have certain unalienable rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When this nation started out with those ideals, the rest of the world looked at us as being the hippie commune who would not last 25 years. Much to their chagrin our small hippie commune of 13 states has grown to be the most powerful nation in the world.
The challenge lays in our next hundred years. Although democracies have a tendency to flourish, their life expectancy is usually only 250 years.
To beat this timeline, we need to look back to why we started this country in the first place. Then, we have to understand not what we needed yesterday, instead, that which is indispensable for tomorrow. Those are the items we need to build with the same zeal which was put into the Revolutionary War and our space race to the moon.
Have a good fourth and stay hydrated.
One of the things I got to do my last tour in the Air Force was to manage some special projects. One day when returning from an off-site meeting, I drove back to base with my commander in my immediate supervisor in the car.
As we approached the front gate to the base, there were comments in the car about the Tuesday protesters who were at the gate protesting. Like my dad, who was career Army, had always done, I gave a disparaging remark against the protesters. My commander, a full bird colonel who had spent most of his military life in Europe, faced off against the Iron Curtain, stopped me right there.
He told me that those protesters were doing a valuable thing. He explained to me they were proving that I had done my job well. He told me I had sworn an oath to defend the Constitution. And those protesters at the front gate proved that I had done my job well. He said it was the Constitution which allowed them to be there and voice their opinion in the first place.
I had to think about that, and I realized he was right. Every person who serves in the military takes an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. The fact that the Bill of Rights lives and is used stands as an essential testament to the hard work and perseverance everyone in the military has given to this country.
It is important to note that the Bill of Rights is not a cafeteria type document. In other words, you cannot use the amendments you like and condemned the amendments you don’t want. If you want the second amendment on gun control, you have to accept the First Amendment on freedom of speech. If you want the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, you have to take all 10 amendments.
Why were those protesters so important, though? It falls to one other fundamental truth. Freedoms not used because of any fear, are never free. I am proud to have defended the Constitution of the United States, and I am thrilled to live in a free land.