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Taking pride in America

From this perspective

Independence Day will soon be here, and we shall not forget. It was George Washington who said on Jan. 8, 1790: “Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defense.”

We believe today that American exceptionalism is unique and is worthy of defending. There was a time in our nation’s history when rhetorical skills, such as used by Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, were used to shine light on fundamental truths, but today it appears that rhetorical skills are used to hide from fundamental facts.

There are those today who desperately yearn for a sense of national and personal security for themselves and particularly for their children and grandchildren. Playing political games, pandering to the crowd, biasing and managing the news, personal daily makeovers and saying what is convenient to say at the moment… are far from our personal and national interests. Realistically, these shenanigans are almost childlike; but that would be an insult to childhood. What is at stake is the hopes of security, growth, and happiness for future generations. These are trying times. This is that time when we need stalwart statesmanship and positive leadership. The American public wants a sense of certainty that they are safe in their homes and secure in their way of life.

Three major central issues face America today: a stable and vibrant economy, a Judiciary true to the Constitution and national defense against diabolical foreign and domestic terrorists.

There is no question, terrorists are brutal and want to see the elimination of the American way of life. Clearly, Americans should be UNITED in their determination to protect our homeland. A divided America makes it easier for these terrorists to achieve their goal. Truly, the men and women of our Armed Forces are valiant in their resolve in the defense of America. They deserve the support by all Americans and people of good will who are willing to call evil by its name.

There are those voices today that support appeasement over strength and surrender over vigilance. The U.S. Declaration of Independence states “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal… with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It is a known fact, that many overt plans for an attack on the United States have been foiled because of sound U.S. intelligence. In the past, we owed much to a strengthened terror surveillance program for the foiling of these and other hateful plots. A weakening of these surveillance programs is a serious threat to our safety

To repeat, there are those, to the dismay of many, who support appeasement over strength, surrender over vigilance and the weakening of national defense against fascist terrorists. Think of it, we did not negotiate with the carnage of Hitler’s Nazis Germany or with Japan’s Hirohito and his attack on the innocent lives at Pearl Harbor. We were determined than, as a people, to defeat the Axis powers. If we had not acted as we did, speculate where might we be today. But we did act. And a willing and committed people along with statesmanship-like leadership moved forward with a will and a determination to protect the homeland and to preserve freedom for millions. Thanks to the leadership of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. And thanks to, to John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missal crisis and Ronald Reagan in his call to Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall.” All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time,” said liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith back in 1977. It is a truism, terrorism thrives when tyrants rule, and moderation is stifled.

Sir Winston Churchill said it well when he stated, “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”

It is true, we face the threat of terror from the fascist forces of radicalism. This is no time for apologizing for American Exceptionalism or call for moral equivalence, but this is the time for moral clarity. Winston Churchill said it well: “Never flinch, never weary, never despair.” Indeed, we are the land of the free because of the brave!

Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is a resident of Gowanda and Distinguished Service Professor at SUNY Fredonia.

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