Constitution Day: In the Company of Heroes
Pro Deo et Constitutione
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” –Preamble to the Constitution, George Washington and the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention, September 17, 1787
Every September 17th, your Patriot Post team observes Constitution Day, in recognition of the 1787 signing of that venerable document by our nation’s Founders.
Indeed, the foundation of our mission is the steadfast advocacy of Essential Liberty and Rule of Law as fully “endowed by our Creator,” affirmed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in our national Constitution.
From a personal perspective, today’s anniversary is all the more meaningful. Earlier this week, I had the profoundly humbling experience of joining in a Medal of Honor Society celebration hosting 44 of the 79 living recipients of our nation’s highest military award.
That celebration included a long list of distinguished military officers and enlisted personnel, and a handful of celebrities including Gary Sinise and Mark Wahlberg, who are noted for their outstanding support of our military forces.
But the real stars of this event were, of course, the Medal of Honor recipients. I have never been in the presence of such valor, in the company of so many heroes.
Justice Samuel Alito was there to honor these men and received this year’s Patriot Award for defending the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which made it unlawful to falsely claim receipt of any U.S. military decoration or medal.
In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the law, as written, was a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech provision, with Justice Alito writing the dissenting opinion. He noted that it is against the law to sell and possess counterfeit brand-name watches and handbags, but not a Medal of Honor.
In 2013, Congress revised and passed The Stolen Valor Act, but it will likely find its way back before the High Court in challenge.
Unfortunately, the valor associated with the word “hero” has also been stolen, primarily by mainstream media talkingheads, most of whom have never sworn an oath “to Support and Defend” our Constitution with their lives, their fortunes or their sacred honor. They liberally apply the word “hero” to anyone in uniform, but few military personnel or veterans would ever identify themselves as “heroes.” Instead, they recognize that this particular distinction should be reserved for the American Patriot who has demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” (These are the stirring words that introduce each and every Medal of Honor citation.)
In fact, of the many Medal of Honor recipients I have met over the years, not one of these humble men would ever self-identify as a hero. However, all have been quick to note they were in the company of heroes during those actions for which they were so highly decorated.
They represent the best of our countrymen, the true spirit of love for others above self – Patriotism at its finest.
In stark contrast to these giants among men are so many members of the federal executive, legislative and judicial branches who have also sworn to “support and defend” our Constitution, yet pay little heed to that oath, bringing dishonor to themselves and their offices.
Our Constitution, as written and ratified, stipulates in its preface that it is “ordained and established” by the people to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” To that end, it established a Republic, not a popular democracy, which is to say it affirmed the primacy of Rule of Law over rule of men.
Accordingly, the first order of business for those elected to national office is that they be bound by oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution under which they were duly elected.
For those elected to the presidency, Article II, Section 1, specifies: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’”
On 30 April 1789, America’s first commander in chief, George Washington, took this presidential oath of office with his hand on a Bible opened to Deuteronomy 28. He ended his oath with “So help me God,” which was added to military oaths for officers by Act of Congress 29 September 1789.
Regarding the Presidential Oath, Justice Joseph Story wrote: “[T]he duty imposed upon him to take care, that the laws be faithfully executed, follows out the strong injunctions of his oath of office, that he will ‘preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.’ The great object of the executive department is to accomplish this purpose.” He wrote further that if the president does not honor his oath, his office “will be utterly worthless for … the protection of rights; for the happiness, or good order, or safety of the people.”
Likewise Article VI, Clause 3 specifies: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…”
The heavy price our nation is paying for Barack Obama’s charade as CINC is now grossly evident, given that he squandered all the blood and treasure we expended in Iraq to establish republican government in the heart of Islam, and consequently, left a vacuum to be filled by the rise of ISIL. Now, desperately trying to retain his Senate majority in the upcoming midterm election, Obama is putting “boots on the ground” – to fight Ebola in West Africa – in a thinly veiled attempt to recast himself as the “humanitarian president” in the rubble of his domestic and foreign policy failures.
Obama claims, “Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to us, the United States, and it’s a responsibility that we embrace. It’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down.” Meanwhile, there is a Middle East meltdown underway with far greater implications for global security. It is tragic that 2,500 people have died from Ebola, but where were the boots on the ground to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Christians throughout Africa?
There is a clear and present national security bio-hazard threat to our homeland, and that is the potential for “Islamic bio-bombers” to enter the U.S. Meanwhile, the Obama Ebola deployment is a purely political diversion.
The net effect of such dishonor is the erosion of constitutional liberty.
Our nation’s second president, John Adams, warned, “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
As for Obama’s deception about his own patriotic pedigree, I commend the words of our nation’s first president, George Washington: “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
In his Farewell Address of September 17th, 1796, George Washington concluded with these words: “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 man and citizens. … Let it be simply asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And 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.”
But the common cause of those on the Left today is to remove religious principle from any arm of government, including, first and foremost, those charged with “refined education.”
Time magazine ran a cover story a couple years back under the title, “The Constitution: Does It Still Matter?,” leaving us to ponder, “Time magazine: Does it still matter?”
The short answer to Time’s ridiculous question was and remains, “It better!”
On September 17th, we also observe the anniversary of The Patriot Post’s 1996 launch on the web. By antique media standards, we are a young news and policy analysis organization, but by Internet standards, we are the oldest of conservative policy digests.
It’s hard to believe that 18 years ago, there were only a handful of conservative organizations breaking ground in what was then a new medium. But thanks to a lot of help from our outstanding National Advisory Committee and our friends at the Heritage Foundation, National Review and American Spectator, our launch was flawless and our growth robust.
Since our launch, thanks in large measure to you, our fellow American Patriots, The Patriot Post has grown from its humble beginnings into the Internet’s leading advocate for the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values.
We pursue our mission 24/7 for two reasons:
First, to honor all those who have gone before us – those who have sacrificed so much and bequeathed to us an inheritance of Liberty at great cost. Among them is our friend, Medal of Honor recipient Leo Thorsness (Col. USAF Ret.), who said of our latest Essential Liberty Project sponsored children’s book, “I’m Your Flag”: “It is a fitting tribute to our national banner, and a great resource for young Americans.”
Second, we pursue our mission so that we may pay that inheritance forward to the next generation – our children and yours. That means forming a unified front to halt Obama’s promise of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” and providing intellectual ammunition to grassroots leaders across the nation as they endeavor to reverse that transformation. That ammo includes our “Essential Liberty Pocket Guide” to the Declaration and the Constitution.
More than a million of these guides are now in circulation. Never leave home without it!
Finally, I invite you to observe Constitution Day by visiting The Patriot Post’s outstanding Historic Documents repository for the complete texts of our nation’s most significant formative documents.
I leave you with these words from Ronald Reagan’s sixth State of the Union Address: “Why is the Constitution of the United States so exceptional? Well, the difference is so small that it almost escapes you – but it’s so great it tells you the whole story in just three words: We the people. In the constitutions [of other nations], the government tells the people what they are allowed to do. In our Constitution, we the people tell the government what it can do and that it can do only those things listed in that document and no others. Virtually every other revolution in history has just exchanged one set of rulers for another set of rulers. Our revolution was the first to say the people are the masters, and government is their servant.”
(On a personal note, we celebrate Constitution Day concurrently in our family with the birthday of my eldest son, a USAFA cadet currently on loan to the USNA. I suppose there really is no such thing as coincidence, because this young man, like his younger sister and brother, proudly represents the promise of Liberty for the next generation. They are each outspoken advocates for Liberty in their respective circles of influence. And I am their proud father, and your most grateful publisher.)
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis