Alexander's Column

The Next Sunrise -- The Light of Liberty

Illegitimi non Carborundum!

By Mark Alexander · Feb. 21, 2013
“No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.” –George Washington (1786)
Dawn or Dusk?

From our family home in the mountains of East Tennessee, a sunrise has many of the qualities of a sunset. Indeed, when looking at a photograph of light over the Smoky Mountains, it can be difficult to discern whether it’s dawn or dusk. That’s in the eye of the beholder.

I enjoy both the morning and evening skies, but I’m a “sunrise” person. I live in anticipation of the light of the next sunrise, not the darkness of the last sunset.

I inherited that propensity from my father, tempered as a child of the Great Depression and a Naval Aviator during World War II. After the war, he returned home to grow a small business through innovation, dedication and hard work, and he raised a family through the turbulence of the ‘60s and the malaise of the '70s. He’s in retirement now – more active than many half his age – and he celebrates his 90th birthday in two weeks.

My father has seen the best and worst of times. Given the wisdom of age, he clearly acknowledges the current threats to Liberty and the challenges facing our generation. He saw similar threats and challenges from FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society. But his concern about the current manifestation of socialist ideology notwithstanding, he is an eternal optimist – living for every new dawn, every rising sun.

In my line of work – as an analyst of political, social and economic trends, and a forecaster of their consequences – sometimes it’s difficult to hold fast to the “sunrise” perspective. But I can’t help but see opportunity in any crisis, including the present. In addition to this predisposition for optimism, I’m also grateful for the example set by another eternal optimist and mentor, Ronald Reagan.

I wasn’t around for the New Deal, of course, and I recall little of the Great Society years, but I do clearly recall the Great Malaise of the 1970s, with high unemployment and interest rates to match, runaway inflation, energy shortages, menacing threats from abroad, and a president who, though a man of good character, was wholly unequipped to handle the job. Then came President Reagan, who ably led our nation’s about face, restored our national dignity, and seeded the longest economic expansion in history.

Ronald Reagan was a sunrise president. He heralded Morning in America. He focused on all that was good and right with America, the bright days ahead. In his farewell address, he assured, “America’s best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead.”

Reagan’s spirit shines today in stark contrast to the darkness our adversaries promote. They appeal to the worst in their constituents – their fears, doubts, greed, envy, brokenness, pessimism and dependence on the state.

Indeed, light is the mark of Liberty while darkness is the result of statism. But a physicist will tell you that darkness does not exist – it is only the absence of light. So it is with the hearts and minds of men.

This week, we observe the life of another sunrise president, George Washington, whose birthday (February 22, 1732) was spontaneously celebrated nationally from the date of his death in 1799 until 1879, when Congress officially established the observance.

Washington was not only the model of presidential character, but also the character of our nation. He endured great trials to lead his generation of American Patriots, those who pledged their Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor to lay the foundation of American Liberty and Rule of Law. Those who don’t know our great history are predisposed to think of our Founding Fathers’ trials as distant and unrelated to those of the present day. And yet, as the old English proverb concludes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

For instructive insight into Washington as president, it would be sufficient to read his First Inaugural Address, delivered on April 30, 1789, and his Farewell Address of September 17, 1796. These two speeches embody the real George Washington, and the true spirit of a Patriot. They were written by his hand, not professional speech writers guided by focus groups.

In the former, he stated, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People.”

In the latter, he wrote, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.”

He made plain in his Farewell, “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. … Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Washington’s advice from the bleak days of 1777 is as applicable today as then: “We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.”

American Patriots, take heart. I am certain that at the end of the current long, dark night that there will be a bright new dawn for Liberty, just as the sun has dependably risen after the darkest of times throughout our history.

English theologian Thomas Fuller wrote in 1650, “It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.” The darkest hour of this era has yet come, but dawn will surely follow.

In the meantime fellow Patriots, as President Reagan’s friend Barry Goldwater declared, “illegitimi non carborundum” (don’t let the bastards get you down)!

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100 Comments

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

Bless your father. May he enjoy many more mornings and thank him for his service to our country. I appreciated your column after a day of doom and gloom from the media.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM

RedLeg in M"boro said:

"Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor", few live by that code; even fewer politicians live by any code; aside selfishness. Sacred Honor, meaning to conduct and do what is right even when no one is looking. It is truly sad, that our government enjoys "living" on the brink of colapse. The politicians will not put their lives or fotunes into the fight. They have the taxpayers money to do that. We The People have let them, because we too are undereducated on what our founding fathers read or wrote. Good article, this type life is difficult to abide.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Sunflowermom in Kansas said:

Mark: Your commentary today is absolutly the ray of light so many of us need. George Washington especially is an amazing person in our history. Educators everywhere should post this and read about him to their students. Not to mention, your dad and his wisdom.Keep up the good work. Maybe you should take such excellent posts like this and put them in a book. The compiled thoughts you have would be such help for those of us trying to educate our neighbors, families and towns back to the true purpose of our America. I know I would buy a copy! God bless you and your family!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Andrew in Smyrna, TN said:

Thank you for this story this morning. BEAUTIFUL picture. One only God could paint. Your father sounds like a strong and optimistic man. Best to you both and the Patriot Post!

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:14 AM

JWH in "The Republic of Texas" said:

I to am an optimist. I lived through LBJ's nonsense (did not realize the damage at the time). BHO seems more sinister than any President I have experienced. I hope this storm passes and we are able to again experience the America that has been passed to us.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

The prevailing attitude about our founding fathers are they were a bunch of old white men who owned slaves. No mention of the great things they accomplished like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights and the founding of the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen. These have been perverted to match the liberal's agenda. Their entire agenda is to tear down the US and make it over into some kind of Utopian Socialist paradise. We are well on the way to that idiocy with almost half the population living off the hard work of the other half. Collapse is inevitable because the working half will eventually revolt against the injustice of supporting parasites who take no personal responsibility for themselves or their families.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:20 AM

M. Lee Gallion in Kenner, LA said:

Sure wish I could call on my Dad to offer his insight. He went to be with Lord a few years ago. But, there is One I call on every day, and that is my heavenly Father. He even allows me to call Him, Daddy or Abba, in ancient language. His solace and direction and wisdom are eternal and I can always be comforted by His outlook on any situation I encounter through His eternal Word. His will is perfcect and I forget that at my peril. He has put all governments on the back of His eternal, everlasting one of kind Son, deity in the flesh. I have His Holy Spirit to guide and direct me and correct me when I forget that I have a living Spirit in my mortal flesh. He reminds me how close He is. He can not fail, He will triumph in the end and to forget that, I am doing a disservice to everyone around me. The sun is always rising where He is. In fact He created the sun and moon and all of existance and he doesn't even need the sun that He made to shine. His brightness will outshine the sun. The sun is only a reminder of the true radiance generated by our Holy God, Jesus Christ! To Him be all Glory and Honor!

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:29 AM

NavyPilot in Fall River, MA said:

My father is also 89, to be 90 in June. He works every day. He served in the Army in both WWII and the Korean Conflict. In both cases, he served in Europe, in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany the second time, 1951-1952. He was in Counter Intelligence. He fears for this country. His comments about various of the Obama Administration actions range from "foolhardy" to "sedition" to "...that is a recipe for martial law...". We are lucky to have him around, especially given his razor sharp mind.

I too, served - as Naval Aviator, between 1966-1974. I also was an intelligence officer. I still uphold my oath to protect and defend the Constitution. My undergraduate degree is in History and Government. I am very upset and concerned about what is happening to this country. I cannot believe the ignorance of the general population and the press corps' adulation of Obama. How did this happen? For example, how does General Lafayette, a true hero of the American Revolution, rate a single comment that "...he was a French adventurer..." in today's history books? How does a sitting U.S. President ignore the Constitution? Where are we headed? What lies ahead for our children and their children?

Your looking at the sunrise is a great philosophy. I am an optimist. But I have my doubts. God help us and our children.

Bernard P. Giroux

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Mark Alexander in Tennessee replied:

AMEN on honoring your oath! Lock and Load!

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Anton D Rehling in Olympia, WA replied:

The sad truth is today if you speak out against our governmental tyranny you are watched by Dept. of Homeland Security and if you say the wrong thing it may be viewed as a threat. I served with the US Army 82Abn and I say politically incorrect words like individual rights, liberty, tyranny, despots and I am the organizer of the 2009 July 4 TEA Party Rally in Olympia WA at the State Capitol. Definitely what our government defines as a potential terrorist. FYI DHS I will honor my oath and Die Hard.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Anton D Rehling in Olympia, WA replied:

I also have been filmed at 2nd amendment rallies carrying my long distance hunting rifle and side arm for target practice and sporting purposes. I have spoken at a few with more than a little passion.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Dale in Idaho replied:

We need peole like you to tell the young about what strength their grandparent's had to make things happen for themselves, and our country. Stand tall sir! I take hope in reading this, and the agenda has been the dumbing down of our kids, now "they" admit it. Just yesterday it was announced our state will start to use it's own teaching system, not the govt
's. as it has failed. We have an air museum where bus-loads of school kids come in and listen to volunteers talk about real leaders. They don't get the picture of what the Nazi's were all about in History class. It opens their eyes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM

RedLeg in M"boro replied:

Benard: Good right, as a fellow historian, my question is how come the other historians do not stand up and say, hey POTUS (D or R) you are wrong. I read my kids history books, and let them know where the current book is wrong. Then I show them correct events. My youngest daughter debated her history teacher about John Smith and the founding fathers. When asked where she learned, her reply, "My Dad". The follow-on question, how does he know, daughter's reply, "He has a degree in History". Which then caused a conversation between me and him; I showed him facts, he showed me emotions and like several in this grand country of ours, the History teach truly believed his emotions trumped historical facts. My daughter passed the class.

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Bill in Leawood, KS said:

Won't happen until some real opposition replaces the genteel country-club losers who currently run the GOP to feather their friends' nests.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Allen Collier in Garland, TX said:

I appreciate greatly your optimism. President Reagan/s optimism was contagious and even more effective from the platform of the White House. I am afraid I cannot share in the anticipation of a brighter day for America. In fact, I am convinced our beloved America will not return to her greatness nor to the land so nobly founded by our brave forefathers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

American Rifleman in McKeesport,PA.15132 said:

I remember Johnson's great society.I was just seperated from Active duty,in 1968.I remember the inactment of communism,in 1964.The start of my senior year of high school.It was all down hill from there.
Since when is it Patriotic for my family to suffer,so that some smuck can sit and collect free stuff,on my family's dollar?

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Allen Collier in Garland, TX said:

I appreciate greatly your optimism. President Reagan/s optimism was contagious and even more effective from the platform of the White House. I am afraid I cannot share in the anticipation of a brighter day for America. In fact, I am convinced our beloved America will not return to her greatness nor to the land as so nobly founded by our brave forefathers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Leslie R Steffen in Reedsburg said:

Please thank your Father and your earthly father too. Mine was a decorated WWII vet also, I miss him dearly but I'm glad he doesn't have to watch what has happened to the country he loved. Trying to be positive is hard some days and so I admire and commend your fathers frame of mind as "they were the best of days".

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Barbara Breuer in Arlington, TN said:

Because I believe that God is in charge, I am trying to stay optimistic. There is so much education required - and the people who need to hear are distracted by their various forms of social media and the liberal left media. I thought of the latter and of the current administration when I read in Daniel 12:10,, ". . .none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." This gives me hope that "the wise" are still out there.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Julia in Dallas,TX said:

Thank you for all these reminders to look for that which is honorable and true, for those attributes that have united us in the past and continue to speak to our hearts and minds and wills today! The storm may be raging but with each challenge that we face, we move closer to a New Dawn of His giving!

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:49 AM