Sorry Dinesh D’Souza: Your Comparison of Trump to Abraham Lincoln Evidences a Gross Misunderstanding of American History

DINESH D'SOUZA - Death of a Nation (Saving America a Second Time)

by Diane Rufino, June 15, 2018

Dinesh D’Souza’s latest movie is an excellent example of the kind of hogwash that writers and historians can put out there when there is a gross misunderstanding of our country’s history and its leaders.

The bottom line is this:  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has no place in a society that values intelligence and truth.  WE’VE GOT TO PUT POLICIAL CORRECTNESS AND GOVERNMENT INTEREST ASIDE and  TEACH OUR HISTORY ACCURATELY.

Dinesh D’Souza has a new movie out in theatres. I just learned about this. The movie is titled DEATH OF A NATION (Can We Save America a Second Time). In its advertising, Dinesh uses the movie to make the comparison between Lincoln and Trump – both men elected to be president yet in both cases, the Democrats refused to accept the outcome.

Dinesh explains. “Not that they’re the same people, but that they’ve fallen into the same situation. Not since 1865 have Democrats so dramatically refused to accept the outcome of a presidential election. … The left has been playing these cards against conservatives for a decade. We explore if the fascist-racist tail should be pinned on the Republican elephant or the Democrat donkey.”

OK, first of all, I understand Dinesh’s need to make comparisons between Republicans and Democrats, and to use history to make his point, but in this case, the connection or comparison is a bit flimsy. The country is a far different place than it was when Abraham Lincoln ran. The country was divided along geographical lines – North vs. South.  It was economic pure and simple. In 2016, the divide is along ideological lines – Democrats v. Republicans. Neither party is the same party it was when Lincoln ran. NOT EVEN CLOSE. I can go into detail, and maybe I will at some later time, but the Republican Party was an evil and despicable party. There was nothing redeemable about it, although revisionist history paints them with a noble and compassionate brush.

I also understand the obsession Dinesh has (and I’m happy for his obsession for truth) to explore the roots of America’s racism and its claims of fascism. The left has been playing these cards against conservatives for a decade – maybe more. Anyone who thinks differently from a Democrat or a liberal/progressive is, of course, a racist. Not that anyone even knows what that term means anymore; most obviously it’s the left that doesn’t have a clue. It’s merely a term used to shut down intelligent conversation and to promote perpetual victimhood. And ANTIFA, a violent leftist movement much like the KKK, is a movement that accuses the right of supporting fascism. In his movie, Dinesh makes the case (strongly, as he has done in his prior works) that it has been the Democrats who are responsible for our racist history and who are, in fact, fascists.

The movie, first and foremost, is predicated on the comparison between Lincoln and Trump.

It’s hard to make an analogy between the two figures when both the country is so fundamentally different and when the political parties are so fundamentally different.

But that’s not my big issue with Dinesh’s movie DEATH OF A NATION. The racism and the fascism component is not my issue either.

Judging by its advertising and its poster, Dinesh believes that Abraham Lincoln saved the nation back in 1860.  As Dinesh wrote on Twitter: “Lincoln united his party and saved America from the Democrats for the first time” in the early 1860’s.” He then suggested that this is what Trump’s biggest challenge is and what he must do to “save the nation.”

Lincoln saved America from the Democrats??  Is Dinesh serious??  He writes this as if it were a good thing?  He says this and articulates this point in his movie as if it were a good thing? The Democrats, back then, were the party of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; they were the party of limited government and the party of the inherent “right of the People to alter or to abolish it [government], and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  The Republicans, on the other hand, were the party of big government, the party of an ambitious government, and the party violently opposed to the right of self-determination. They were the party that believed that despite the Declaration’s assurance that in America, government is always temporary, always tasked primarily to secure the rights of the individual and always subject to happiness and satisfaction of the people, government in fact, has the primary objective to seek its own power and its own security and permanence, even when the people reject it and seek to abolish or alter it.

So, it was a good thing, Dinesh, that Lincoln and the Republicans “saved” the nation from the Democrats?

History is history. It should be taught and studied for what it was and what it is. It should be examined and studied for what it teaches all of us about the particular time period and about the people, the norms, and the views and politics of that era. It should NOT be taught or studied to suit current thought, and it should never be taught to conform to current norms, to a current agenda, or to a progressive agenda.

I am terribly disappointed in Dinesh in characterizing Lincoln as a great American leader and using him as a role model. I’ve read many of his books and I’ve usually been impressed with the research he’s done to support his views, but in this case, he has failed to do his due diligence on Lincoln, on the Civil War, and on our nation’s early history. The Civil War was the single most grievous decision by any US President. The Republican Party was an evil party formed for the sole purpose of destroying the South and subjugating its people through a highly confiscatory tariff scheme. It was not the party formed to abolish slavery. (that decision was merely a war measure, designed to encourage massive slave revolts against the women and children in the South and to discourage Britain and France from entering the war on the side of the Confederacy). The Democrats, on the other hand, merely wanted the federal government to respect the interests of all areas of the country equally, according to the Constitution. [Note, Congressmen from the North (Republicans, in both House and Senate; 7 Southern States had already seceded) passed the original 13th Amendment which would have cemented slavery in the United States; it would have completely prohibited the government from any attempts to abolish it]. If slavery is what the Democrats really wanted, the Southern States would have accepted that amendment and rejoined the Union, but they didn’t. They didn’t even consider the amendment.

This is what I wrote in response to Dinesh on Instagram: “Lincoln didn’t save the nation; he destroyed it. He re-made it, but on the most un-American and anti-revolutionary terms (reference to the principles the colonies fought for in the American Revolution). All the problems we have in the country right now can be traced to the government system that resulted from Lincoln’s purely political decision to instigate the war, his willing rejection of our founding principles, and his absolute incorrect re-characterization of our federal union and our Constitution. Thanks to Lincoln, there are no more effective checks on the power and ambition of the federal government. The government of our Founding Fathers is dead. To say Lincoln saved the Union (“saved America”) by fighting the Civil War is like saying a man saves his marriage by beating his wife. Submission by violence is NOT freedom.”

I have no problem bashing and criticizing the current Democratic Party. They voted to take God out of their platform 3 times at their Convention in 2016, they are violent, they are rude and offensive, they are hypocritical, they are un-American in their views, they work incessantly to undermine our country and are now vocal in their hopes that our country fails (just to be able to blame Republicans), and they are highly antagonistic to our essential freedoms. BUT, I am ever so disappointed in Dinesh D’Souza for enlisting Lincoln in any attempt to elevate the modern-day Republican Party.

 

- 2018 (BEST BEST, gray shirt)

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Robert DeNiro at the Tony Awards: Another Member of the So-Called Entertainment Industry Goes Full Retard

ROBERT DeNIRO - Tony Awards (WT News)

(WT News photo)

by Diane Rufino, June 11, 2018

At the Tony Awards last night, Robert DeNiro delighted the audience with these words: “I’m gonna say one thing: F— Trump!” As he spoke, he clenched his two fists in the air, with great dramatic flair, probably hoping to be considered for another award.

What we have here is another liberal member of the so-called entertainment industry who has gone full retard. In the movie Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr warned his fellow actors: “Everybody knows you never go full retard.” Apparently, DeNiro wasn’t paying attention.

Downey’s entire line went like this: “Everybody knows you never go full retard. Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, I AM SAM. Remember? He went full retard, went home empty handed…”

DeNiro went full retard. Up until last night, he had been acting essentially like an over-inflated, entitled, whining liberal crybaby. But on that stage last night, tasked with introducing fellow libtard Brice Springsteen, he went full retard.

In the court of public opinion, which is the realm where intelligent people exist, the empty-headed go home empty-handed.

In other words, good luck finding fans who give a damn about you or your movies anymore.

It’s true what they say about Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)..: Those afflicted simply can’t get Trump out of their heads. The fact that he is president is enough to ruin every minute of their day and to cause them to turn every event and every conversation II to an opportunity to insult him or to wish for his failure or his death.

Robert DeNiro, like Meryl Streep and Samantha Bee and Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher and Joy Behar , has gone bye-bye. He has left the building. He’s checked out of the world of sane people.

Let me put it another way……..

De-Niro is de-ranged! The Taxi Driver has driven off the planet. The Raging Bull is full of rage and bull.

Football Players Abusing Their Forum and Disappointing Team Fans (No White House for You!)

COLIN KAEPERNICK - Time Magazine cover (taking a Knee)

by Diane Rufino, June 8, 2018

A few years ago, the talk of the media was professional football player Tim Tebow. He took a knee, not during the National Anthem and not in protest of any sort. He took a knee before and after each game he played (from his sophomore year in high school through his time in the NFL) to “thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to put things in perspective.” He was absolutely vilified for doing so. It was an abomination and offensive to the fans and to those watching his games on TV, according to members of the media.

“I never did anything during a national anthem but stand and support my country,” he explained.

And that’s what the playing of the National Anthem is all about….. recognizing that the game is being played in the “Land of the Free” and being grateful for that. It’s about supporting the country we all live in.

Then we have different football players who have been taking a knee, during the National Anthem, to make a very public protest over what they don’t like about the country. The more left-leaning media has continued to praise their courage and support their right to protest as they see fit.

So this is what we’ve been told:  Kneeling During Anthem — Good; Kneeling To Pray – Bad.

But that’s from the leftist media’s point of view.  The President, however, feels very differently, and he happens to be joined by the majority of Americans. President Trump views the “taking of the knee during the National Anthem” (or any variation of that protest) as a contemptible act. He views it as an act of disrespect to those who serve the country unconditionally and who have died for their loyalty and devotion. Trump criticized the NFL for allowing protest during what he called the “country’s love song,” and to some extent, his criticisms have had an impact.

To the leftist media, the protests by the NFL players are rightful expressions of outrage over social injustice, forced nationalism, and forced patriotism; the protests, they say, are rightful expressions of free speech.

The President, on the other hand, holds the opinion that the football field is not the place for such protests and certainly not during the playing of the National Anthem. Men and women have given their lives in support of the rights of Americans to exercise their rights freely, regardless of their personal political views or their religious affiliation. President Trump believes that out of respect for their service to all Americans equally, players should not hijack the National Anthem to make their political statement.

I’m glad President Trump cancelled the celebration at the White House for the Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL has ceased to be about the sport of professional football, which it was organized for, and has become both a forum for politics and a vehicle for it. It has offended too many Americans who pay far too much to merely enjoy a good old-fashioned game of football, usually with their buddies or with their family members.

The players sign a contract to play football, to entertain people who PAY to watch them play. Their contract is not like one for Jimmy Kimmel or Joe Scarborough or even Tucker Carlson, who are paid to express their political views. When patrons attend a game, these players essentially take them hostage and force them to hear (or view) their politics, which often includes the disrespect of the country they love, a history they appreciate, and the sacrifice of men and women who give their lives defending the flag and our ideals. Why do I say that the patrons are “held hostage”? I say that because after paying a lot for the ticket, and also probably paying too much for beer and stadium food, and looking forward to watching their team play, they are usually willing to tolerate the political messages the players express. But make no mistake, they are being forced to hear (or see) their protests. They did not buy a ticket to be held as political hostages. Players are just like every other American – they have a role as an employee and a role as a private citizen. Almost every American cannot use their jobs as a platform to espouse political views. In fact, HR makes it very clear that the workplace is a neutral place – nothing can be said or displayed to make it hostile for any other employee. As a private citizen, however, each person has a political voice and can use that voice however he or she sees fit, including using all possible outlets (social media, phone calls, emails, yard signs, tee shirts, letters to the editor, visits to their representatives, protests and marches, rallies, etc). The NFL is a forum for sports and as players (as paid employees of the NFL), they should be required to respect a neutral environment for their fans and not create a hostile environment for those who don’t share their same political views. They are public figures, they can use their voices off the football field.

With that in mind, I am glad President Trump did-invited the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House. The sports-White House tradition is just that – a tradition. It is a celebration or recognition of the historic and traditional love affair that Americans have (maybe “had”), pure and simple, with sports and competition. It has always been a non-political love affair and a non-political tradition. Making it political destroys everything. And because it does, there is no need to continue the tradition of having the winning teams to the White House because that, in and of itself, now becomes a political statement.

We all know Colin Kaepernick and how he started the “take the knee” movement. We know why he did it – to protest police brutality against African-Americans.  As he said when he first started taking a knee: “”To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”  His “taking the knee” protest led to the “standing with arms locked” movement, leading to the “staying behind in the locker room” movement, leading to the “fist in the air” movement. They are all various forms of the very visible protest movement started by Kaepernick. But let’s be honest, the NFL players (and in particular, the Philadelphia Eagles), used the very public “National Anthem protest” controversy to show their lack of support and indeed, their contempt, for President Trump and his administration. They turned a wholesome sport into a political vehicle. I am sorry folks, but Kaepernick was wrong for starting this movement and he has done a lot of damage and caused a lot of resentment in this country. He has “politicized” many fellow players. He has brought disrepute to professional football and to himself and fellow players. At least, that is how I see it from the comments made about the current status of the NFL. He may have a legitimate gripe but the football field is not the place to make it. He and his fellow protesters should have been taking their concerns to President Obama, who was hugely obsessed with the treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement. President Trump is working very hard to improve the lives of African-Americans (for ALL Americans, let’s be clear) and to improve the status of their communities. Political disrespect to this President on racial issues is just inexcusable.

No one takes a spoiled grossly-overpaid professional athlete seriously. And many see the protests over injustice against African-Americans by the police as hypocritical. They complain about racial profiling and over-policing in African-American communities yet they themselves are often brought up on drug charges, carrying an unlawful firearm, brandishing a firearm, threatening others with a firearm, manslaughter, gun violence, killing their girlfriend (and sometimes the babies they are carrying).  If they really care about the issue and if they really want to be the instruments of change and meaningful dialogue, then they should work to come up with solutions, point out where the problems lie, exactly (on both sides), admit to the failings in the African-Americans communities that cause over-policing, donate their money to the right causes, become role models to impoverished and crime-ridden communities…. What they shouldn’t do is merely take a knee or hide in the locker room to make a statement. That does nothing but foster division, send wrong or mis-messages, and increase tensions. They are nothing more than attention-grabbing opportunities that end up creating more controversy.

The Right of Secession, as Reserved by the States in Their Ratification of the US Constitution

SECESSION - We Did it Once Let's Do it Twice

by Diane Rufino, June 1, 2018

Louisiana voted to secede from the Union on January 26, 1861. Shortly thereafter, her senators, Judah P. Benjamin and John Slidell, resigned their positions in the US Senate. In his FAREWELL ADDRESS to the Senate, on February 5, 1861, Senator Benjamin expressed perhaps the strongest argument for the Right of Secession. He said:

“The rights of Louisiana as a sovereign state are those of Virginia – no more, no less. Let those who deny her [Louisiana’s] right to resume delegated powers try to successfully refuse the claim of Virginia to the same right, in spite of her [Virginia’s] expressed reservation made and notified to her sister states when she consented to enter the Union. And sir, permit me to say that, of all the causes which justify the action of the Southern States, I know none of greater gravity and more alarming magnitude than that now developed of the denial of the right of secession. A pretension so monstrous as that which perverts a restricted agency [federal government], constituted by sovereign states for common purposes, into the unlimited despotism of the majority, and denies all legitimate escape from such despotism, when powers not delegated are usurped, converts the whole constitutional fabric into the secure abode of lawless tyranny, and degrades sovereign states into provincial dependencies.”

To deny the Right of Secession, as President Abraham Lincoln did (although only AFTER he became president), as powerful orator Senator Daniel Webster did (although only AFTER he realized the financial ruin that secession would reap on northern states), and as too many liberal elites and too many Americans (because of indoctrination in our public school system and at our liberal universities) believe today is to condemn Americans ultimately to tyranny, to subjugation, to an existence far different from the one that the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights had once promised, to the loss of liberty, to the control by political parties (not political movements, which are good and are true expressions of democracy), and to the rule by political elites. In other words, we would have to acknowledge that we are not a free nation anymore, that we are not a free people. We as a country and as a people wear the veneer of freedom and liberty.  The experiment started by those far wiser than any alive today, which established for us in America, and indeed for the rest of the world, the right of self-determination and the right of self-government, and which was predicated on the grand notion – the very revolutionary notion – that those rights were far more important than the right of any government to seek to cement its existence, would be dead. If we give up on our right to secede, then we have lost that precious system and that noble ideal. That noble ideal is what guarantees our freedom and our liberty. If we abandon that right to secede, we are no different from the system we initially separated from, Great Britain, where government was – and still is – superior to the people.

To be clear, the fundamental principle guiding our independence was the right of a people to secede from a political body, exercising the right of self-determination and the right of a people to establish their own government – one that serves their interests and concerns best. We cannot allow the proclamations of one leader, Abraham Lincoln, who did so for purely political purposes (explained historically, accurately, and in great detail in Gene Kizer Jr’s book, as well as in Albert Taylor Bledsoe’s book; references to both provided below) to destroy this great principle of independence and freedom.

It is important to understand that secession was a right implicit with every sovereign body politic and a right expressly and explicitly reserved to the States under the terms of the ratification of the Constitution:

First of all, let’s look at these two very powerful arguments:  [Taken from Mr. Kizer’s article “The Right of Secession,” Referenced at:  http://www.bonniebluepublishing.com/The%20Right%20of%20Secession.htm ]

(1).  There had to be a specific constitutional prohibition on secession for it to be illegal. Conversely, there did not have to be a specific constitutional affirmation of the right of secession for it to be legal. Why? Because of the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  This amendment states nothing new, but is merely a restatement, as the Preamble to the Bill of Rights explains. It is a restatement of the fact that the federal government can govern ONLY as to the express (and that is made clear also in the Preamble) powers granted/delegated to it by the Constitution, Articles I-III, and States are prohibited from doing certain things ONLY if it states so expressly therein. The power to prevent secession is NOT granted to the federal government and the right to secede is NOT prohibited to the States under our Constitution.

Aside from the fact that there was (and is) no constitution prohibition on secession, there was (and is) also NO constitutional sanctioning of any kind of federal coercion to force a State to obey a federal law when to do so would act to perpetrate an act of war on the offending state by the other states. After all, the federal government was established as a common agent for all States, tasked with serving the interests of each equally.

While we are talking out what the federal government can and cannot do, there is also NO constitutional provision, nor any moral foundation, for the federal government to coerce one or more States to invade or otherwise inflict armed conflict against any other State or States. Again, each State is an equal beneficiary of the agency provided by the federal government.

(2).  The arguments for the right of secession are indeed unequivocal. There is the constitutional right based on the Compact Theory, and the revolutionary right based on the idea that a free people have the right to change their government anytime they see fit. Compact Theory is based on Natural Law – that people, in deciding to live together in communities, decide for themselves the form of government to establish laws for their mutual safety, security, and peace. They decide for themselves the government that will best establish laws for their ordered existence. Compacts are the vehicle by which the people form that government and delegate powers to it. It is a form of Contract. The Compact Theory views the Constitution as a legal agreement between the states – a compact – and if any one state violates the compact, then the entire agreement becomes null and void. Northern states unquestionably violated the Constitution on a number of grounds including unconstitutional Personal Liberty Laws on their books, as well as by deliberately harboring fugitives from justice by protecting the sons of John Brown who were wanted by Virginia for murder at Harpers Ferry. Northern states also made a mockery of the Constitution’s Preamble, which states clearly that the Constitution was established to “insure domestic Tranquility” and “promote the general Welfare.” Certain prominent Northern leaders with the acquiescence of states like Massachusetts were utterly at war with the South and doing everything they could to destroy the domestic tranquility of Southern states by encouraging slaves to murder white people, poison wells, destroy property and commit other acts of rapine. John Brown himself had been encouraged and financed in the North.

The revolutionary right of secession is based on the Declaration of Independence and the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and John Locke, “that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, ….. ”

These words come directly from the Declaration of Independence. This passage was also used, verbatim, in South Carolina’s Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. A similar sentiment was expressed by Abraham Lincoln in 1847 on the floor of the United States House of Representatives:

“Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right, a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.”

And now let’s look at the strongest piece of evidence, of which Senator Judah P. Benjamin referenced in his farewell speech above (“Virginia’s express reservation”):

Three of the original thirteen states were particularly skeptical of the government that the newly-drafted Constitution created and so they ratified it only conditionally. These three states were Virginia and New York, the great powerhouses of the New World, and Rhode Island (tiny, but very liberty-minded). In their ratification documents, adopted at their Ratification Conventions, they specifically and carefully reserved the right of secession. These are referred to as the “Resumption Clauses” or “Resumptive Clauses,” and they are exceedingly important to understand this topic. I attached Virginia’s ratification document at the end of this article. You will see that Virginia conditioned her ratification on several things, including the Right to Secede and on the addition of a Bill of Rights (for which she made a number of suggestions).

Since the other states, which had unconditionally ratified the Constitution, consented to Virginia’s conditional ratification, they “ostensibly assented to the principle that Virginia permissibly retained the right to secede.”  This is an essential element of contract law, of which compact theory follows. All negotiations, all conditions, all limitations, all reservations, etc become part of the compact agreement which affects all parties, as long as those negotiations, conditions, limitations, reservations, etc are not rejected by any of the other signing parties. With the additional acceptance of New York’s and Rhode Island’s conditions (their Resumption Clauses; their right to secede), the existing states of the Union clearly, albeit tacitly, accepted the doctrine of secession. Again, this is a matter of contract law, the most firmly-entrenched area of law. Furthermore, according to the Constitution, all States that joined the Union after the first thirteen also had the right of secession since new states entered on an equal footing with the exact same rights as the existing states.

Virginia was the first state to state explicitly that she would only ratify the Constitution as long as she reserved the right to leave the Union so created by it.  If Virginia didn’t ratify the Constitution, it was very likely that New York, Rhode Island, and certainly North Carolina also would not. The plan for “a more perfect Union” would be defeated. In her “Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia; June 26, 1788,” the state of Virginia included this express provision:  “Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.

To reinforce how strongly Virginia valued that Clause one simply has to look at her Ordinance of Secession from the Union (April 17, 1861). She used the exact wording of her conditional ratification of the US to sever her political bonds with the federal government and to resume all her sovereign powers and rights to determine a new and more favorable government for her people.

A month later, on July 26, 1788, New York conditionally ratified the Constitution. In the ratification declaration adopted at her Convention, New York wrote:

“That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness; that every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remains to the People of the several States, or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; And that those Clauses in the said Constitution, which declare, that Congress shall not have or exercise certain Powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any Powers not given by the said Constitution; but such Clauses are to be construed either as exceptions to certain specified Powers, or as inserted merely for greater Caution.”

And then finally, almost two years later, on May 29, 1790, Rhode Island asserted her own conditional ratification:

“That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people, whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness:- That the rights of the States respectively, to nominate and appoint all State Officers, and every other power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States or to the departments of government thereof, remain to the people of the several states, or their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; and that those clauses in the said constitution which declare that Congress shall not have or exercise certain powers, do not imply, that Congress is entitled to any powers not given by the said constitution, but such clauses are to be construed as exceptions to certain specified powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.”

Historian Dave Benner explains in his article “Can States Secede from the United States?” (IntellectualTakeOut.org, March 7, 2017):

       During the ratification debates, many figures firmly challenged the suggestion that coercive force could be used to obligate a state’s membership in the union. Melancton Smith of New York suggested that such coercion would be an anathema to the cause of liberty: “Can it, I say, be imagined, that in such a case, they would make war on a sister state?”

       He ridiculed the notion, declaring that “the idea is preposterous and chimerical.” George Mason, known today as the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” also rejected the assumption that war would befall a seceding state. Answering an inquiry regarding whether the government could “use military force to compel the observance of a social compact,” Mason scoffed at such a prospect, declaring that it would be “destructive to the rights of the people.”

Respected professor, author, and speaker (and founder of the Abbeville Institute), Donald W. Livingston noted, in his article “The Secession Tradition in America,” the conclusion offered by famed historian and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville, who spent several years in America studying its political system and societies and who studied the US Constitution on the right of secession. De Tocqueville wrote: “The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; and, in uniting together, they have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the States chose to withdraw its name from the contract, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so; and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims directly, either by force or by right.”

Abraham Lincoln intentionally re-characterized the Constitution in order to force the Southern States back into the Union, where its money could continue to fund the federal government and could continue to enrich the Northern states. He also sought to force the Southern States back into the Union because under the Confederate Constitution, protective tariffs (the lifeblood of northern industry) were prohibited and it would interact with other countries on a policy of Free Trade. Free trade would have signed the death of the Union because then only people in the North would have purchased its products and its industry and indeed its economy would have crashed. To that end, Lincoln denied the right of secession and characterized the Constitution as creating a “perpetual union,” which was just plain hogwash. Every compact, just like every contract, can be broken. He said the Southern States were “in rebellion against the United States” even though they made it exceedingly clear that they merely wanted a peaceful separation, and to remain on good terms with their former government. In order to prevent other States (the so-called “border States” and others that were clearly more pro-South than pro-North) from leaving the Union and joining the Confederacy, he sent in the Army of the United States to put them under martial law. Politicians sympathetic to the Confederate States were forcibly removed from office (and many jailed) and their state governments fundamentally changed to force them to be loyal to Lincoln. This was in violation of Section 4 of Article IV of the Constitution (The Guarantee Clause), which states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and [the United States] shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

By removing duly-elected members of State legislatures and altering the governing bodies by force, Lincoln violated the Constitution (just another of the many times he violated the Constitution) and denied the border States the guarantee that the federal government who assure them a republican (the will of the people) form of government. Furthermore, as to all the States, including the border States, the western States (like Kentucky and Missouri), and the Southern States, the Constitution guaranteed them protection AGAINST invasion and was not a license for Lincoln to be the invader.

 

References:

Gene Kizer Jr, “The Right of Secession,” Referenced at:  http://www.bonniebluepublishing.com/The%20Right%20of%20Secession.htm

Gene Kizer Jr, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2014.  [Chapter: “An Annotated Chronology of the Secession Debate in the South”; pp. 171-72)]  Available as a book, which was the resource I used) and also online at:  http://www.bonniebluepublishing.com/index.htm

Albert Taylor Bledsoe, Is Jefferson Davis a Traitor? (1865).  Reprinted by Forgotten Books (2012).  https://www.amazon.com/Davis-Traitor-Secession-Constitutional-Previous/dp/B008TYU1E4

Albert Taylor Bledsoe, Is Jefferson Davis a Traitor? (1865).  Reprinted by Forgotten Books (2012).  https://www.amazon.com/Davis-Traitor-Secession-Constitutional-Previous/dp/B008TYUIE4 

Dave Benner, “Can States Secede from the United States?”, IntellectualTakeOut.org, March 7, 2017. Referenced at: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/can-states-secede-united-states),

Donald W. Livingston, “The Secession Tradition in America,” 1998.  Referenced at: http://www.ditext.com/livingston/tradition.html

“Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia; June 26, 1788,” The Avalon Project (Yale Law School) – http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ratva.asp

 

- 2018 (BEST, gray sweatshirt, Wake Up Call trip)

 

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia; June 26, 1788.

Virginia to wit

We the Delegates of the People of Virginia duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us to decide thereon Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination can be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by the Congress by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any Capacity by the President or any Department or Officer of the United States except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes: & that among other essential rights the liberty of Conscience and of the Press cannot be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by any authority of the United States. With these impressions with a solemn appeal to the Searcher of hearts for the purity of our intentions and under the conviction that whatsoever imperfections may exist in the Constitution ought rather to be examined in the mode prescribed therein than to bring the Union into danger by a delay with a hope of obtaining Amendments previous to the Ratification, We the said Delegates in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia do by these presents assent to and ratify the Constitution recommended on the seventeenth day of September one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven by the Federal Convention for the Government of the United States hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern that the said Constitution is binding upon the said People according to an authentic Copy hereto annexed in the Words following; .

Done in Convention this twenty Sixth day of June one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight

By Order of the Convention

EDMUND PENDLETON, President  [SEAL.]

Virginia towit:

Subsequent Amendments agreed to in Convention as necessary to the proposed Constitution of Government for the United States, recommended to the consideration of the Congress which shall first assemble under the said Constitution to be acted upon according to the mode prescribed in the fifth article thereof:

That there be a Declaration or Bill of Rights asserting and securing from encroachment the essential and unalienable Rights of the People in some such manner as the following;

First, That there are certain natural rights of which men, when they form a social compact cannot deprive or divest their posterity, among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Second. That all power is naturally vested in and consequently derived from the people; that Magistrates, therefore, are their trustees and agents and at all times amenable to them.

Third, That Government ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the People; and that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

Fourth, That no man or set of Men are entitled to exclusive or separate public emoluments or privileges from the community, but in Consideration of public services; which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of Magistrate, Legislator or Judge, or any other public office to be hereditary.

Fifth, That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers of Government should be separate and distinct, and that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the public burthens, they should, at fixed periods be reduced to a private station, return into the mass of the people; and the vacancies be supplied by certain and regular elections; in which all or any part of the former members to be eligible or ineligible, as the rules of the Constitution of Government, and the laws shall direct.

Sixth, That elections of representatives in the legislature ought to be free and frequent, and all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with and attachment to the Community ought to have the right of suffrage: and no aid, charge, tax or fee can be set, rated, or levied upon the people without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor can they be bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented for the public good.

Seventh, That all power of suspending laws or the execution of laws by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people in the legislature is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.

Eighth, That in all capital and criminal prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence and be allowed counsel in his favor, and to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial Jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the government of the land and naval forces) nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself.

Ninth. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, liberties, privileges or franchises, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property but by the law of the land.

Tenth. That every freeman restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy to enquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same, if unlawful, and that such remedy ought not to be denied nor delayed.

Eleventh. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by Jury is one of the greatest Securities to the rights of the people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable.

Twelfth. That every freeman ought to find a certain remedy by recourse to the laws for all injuries and wrongs he may receive in his person, property or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely without sale, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, and that all establishments or regulations contravening these rights, are oppressive and unjust.

Thirteenth, That excessive Bail ought not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Fourteenth, That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his papers and his property; all warrants, therefore, to search suspected places, or seize any freeman, his papers or property, without information upon Oath (or affirmation of a person religiously scrupulous of taking an oath) of legal and sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive; and all general Warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend any suspected person, without specially naming or describing the place or person, are dangerous and ought not to be granted.

Fifteenth, That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for the common good, or to instruct their Representatives; and that every freeman has a right to petition or apply to the legislature for redress of grievances.

Sixteenth, That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their Sentiments; but the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and ought not to be violated.

Seventeenth, That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free State. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the Community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the Civil power.

Eighteenth, That no Soldier in time of peace ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war in such manner only as the laws direct. Nineteenth, That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead. Twentieth, That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established by Law in preference to others.

AMENDMENTS TO THE BODY OF THE CONSTITUTION

First, That each State in the Union shall respectively retain every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this Constitution delegated to the Congress of the United States or to the departments of the Federal Government.

Second, That there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, according to the Enumeration or Census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number of representatives amounts to two hundred; after which that number shall be continued or increased as the Congress shall direct, upon the principles fixed by the Constitution by apportioning the Representatives of each State to some greater number of people from time to time as population increases.

Third, When Congress shall lay direct taxes or excises, they shall immediately inform the Executive power of each State of the quota of such state according to the Census herein directed, which is proposed to be thereby raised; And if the Legislature of any State shall pass a law which shall be effectual for raising such quota at the time required by Congress, the taxes and excises laid by Congress shall not be collected, in such State.

Fourth, That the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be ineligible to, and incapable of holding, any civil office under the authority of the United States, during the time for which they shall respectively be elected.

Fifth, That the Journals of the proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be published at least once in every year, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances or military operations, as in their judgment require secrecy.

Sixth, That a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published at least once in every year.

Seventh, That no commercial treaty shall be ratified without the concurrence of two thirds of the whole number of the members of the Senate; and no Treaty ceding, contracting, restraining or suspending the territorial rights or claims of the United States, or any of them or their, or any of their rights or claims to fishing in the American seas, or navigating the American rivers shall be but in cases of the most urgent and extreme necessity, nor shall any such treaty be ratified without the concurrence of three fourths of the whole number of the members of both houses respectively.

Eighth, That no navigation law, or law regulating Commerce shall be passed without the consent of two thirds of the Members present in both houses.

Ninth, That no standing army or regular troops shall be raised or kept up in time of peace, without the consent of two thirds of the members present in both houses.

Tenth, That no soldier shall be enlisted for any longer term than four years, except in time of war, and then for no longer term than the continuance of the war.

Eleventh, That each State respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining it’s own Militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same. That the Militia shall not be subject to Martial law, except when in actual service in time of war, invasion, or rebellion; and when not in the actual service of the United States, shall be subject only to such fines, penalties and punishments as shall be directed or inflicted by the laws of its own State.

Twelfth That the exclusive power of legislation given to Congress over the Federal Town and its adjacent District and other places purchased or to be purchased by Congress of any of the States shall extend only to such regulations as respect the police and good government thereof.

Thirteenth, That no person shall be capable of being President of the United States for more than eight years in any term of sixteen years.

Fourteenth That the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such courts of Admiralty as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish in any of the different States: The Judicial power shall extend to all cases in Law and Equity arising under treaties made, or which shall be made under the authority of the United States; to all cases affecting ambassadors other foreign ministers and consuls; to all cases of Admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or States, and between parties claiming lands under the grants of different States. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other foreign ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party, the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction; in all other cases before mentioned the supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction as to matters of law only: except in cases of equity, and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, in which the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. But the judicial power of the United States shall extend to no case where the cause of action shall have originated before the ratification of this Constitution; except in disputes between States about their Territory, disputes between persons claiming lands under the grants of different States, and suits for debts due to the United States.

Fifteenth, That in criminal prosecutions no man shall be restrained in the exercise of the usual and accustomed right of challenging or excepting to the Jury.

Sixteenth, That Congress shall not alter, modify or interfere in the times, places, or manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives or either of them, except when the legislature of any State shall neglect, refuse or be disabled by invasion or rebellion to prescribe the same.

Seventeenth, That those clauses which declare that Congress shall not exercise certain powers be not interpreted in any manner whatsoever to extend the powers of Congress. But that they may be construed either as making exceptions to the specified powers where this shall be the case, or otherwise as inserted merely for greater caution.

Eighteenth, That the laws ascertaining the compensation to Senators and Representatives for their services be postponed in their operation, until after the election of Representatives immediately succeeding the passing thereof; that excepted, which shall first be passed on the Subject. Nineteenth, That some Tribunal other than the Senate be provided for trying impeachments of Senators. Twentieth, That the Salary of a Judge shall not be increased or diminished during his continuance in Office, otherwise than by general regulations of Salary which may take place on a revision of the subject at stated periods of not less than seven years to commence from the time such Salaries shall be first ascertained by Congress. And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the People of this Commonwealth enjoin it upon their Representatives in Congress to exert all their influence and use all reasonable and legal methods to obtain a Ratification of the foregoing alterations and provisions in the manner provided by the fifth article of the said Constitution; and in all Congressional laws to be passed in the mean time, to conform to the spirit of those Amendments as far as the said Constitution will admit.

Done in Convention this twenty seventh day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight.

By order of the Convention.

EDMD PENDLETON President  [SEAL.]

(1) Reprinted from Documentary History of the Constitution, Vol. II (1894), pp. 145, 146, 160, 377-385

On the Eve of South Carolina’s Decision to Leave the Union, Horace Greeley Articulates and Supports the State’s Right to Secede

Robert E. Lee - Surrender at Appomattox

Diane Rufino, May 7, 2018

Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Daily Tribune, was the embodiment of the North. In an editorial for the paper on December 17, 1860 (three days before South Carolina voted in Convention to secede, and amidst rumors that the state would likely secede), Greeley articulated the view of secession that most in government and in the North held. In that brilliant editorial, entitled “The Right of Secession,” he wrote:

We have repeatedly asked those who dissent from our view of this matter to tell us frankly whether they do or do not assent to Mr. Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed; and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government,” etc. etc. We do heartily accept this doctrine, believing it intrinsically sound, beneficent, and one that, universally accepted, is calculated to prevent the shedding of seas of human blood. And, if it justified the secession from the British Empire of three million colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of Southerners from the federal union in 1861. If we are mistaken on this point, why does not someone attempt to show wherein and why we could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation.  We do not think such would be just. We hold the right of self-government to be sacred, even when invoked on behalf of those who deny it to others. If ever ‘seven or eight States’ send agents to Washington to say “We want to get out of the Union,” we shall feel constrained by our devotion to Human Liberty to say: ‘Let Them Go!” We do not see how we could take the other side without coming in direct conflict with those Rights of Man which we hold paramount to all political arrangements, however convenient and advantageous.

Of course, when Northern businessmen and northern businesses realized how badly they would suffer without the stream of money coming from the South and its tariff collections and in trade against a “free-trade” Confederacy (the Confederate Constitution prohibited protective tariffs), their view of secession changed.

Even Europe saw the Civil War for what it was. Europe understood that at its core, the American “Civil War” as an exercise of the right of secession. If the South had the right to secede from the Union, which Europe believed it had (articulated to a “candid world” in the Declaration of Independence), then the South held the moral superiority in the conflict and Southerners were the heroes. The North was the great villain, starting a fratricidal war merely for commercial and economic gain.  Certainly Great Britain knew what was going on, for the Confederacy was hoping it would join the conflict on its side and the North was doing what it could to prevent that from happening (ie, the Emancipation Proclamation).  The legendary English writer, Charles Dickens, expressed this view very clearly in commentary during that period.

British Lord Acton (John Dalberg Acton) wrote the following to General Robert E. Lee in November 1866, a year and a half after his surrender at Appomattox:

…… I saw in States Rights the only available check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will (of the federal government), and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the Old World the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore, I deemed that you were fighting the battles for our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.

The South, unequivocally and without doubt, had the right to secede from the Union. Anyone who believes in the Declaration of Independence and in the debates in the several Ratifying Conventions to determine whether the Constitution (creating a limited government) would be ratified HAS to believe in the right of secession and HAS to respect the decision of the Southern States to seek their independence. After all, the Declaration of Independence is the greatest Ordinance of Secession ever written and the most eloquent expression of the right of and the desire to pursue independence.

 

***  This article is based, in part, on sections from Gene Kizer Jr’s book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, Charleston Athenaeum Press (2014)

Duty, Honor, Country: A Life Devoted to his Country

Douglas MacArthur

(Photo Credit:  LIFE magazine)

by Diane Rufino, May 24, 2018

Cleaning out Dad’s apartment, I took notice, probably for the first time, of an excerpt of a speech that he had displayed in his room. The remarks were from a speech given by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur on May 12, 1962 to the cadets at West Point. It is now considered one of the top ten speeches of all time – and rightly so.

On that day, General MacArthur accepted the Sylvanus Thayer Award – an award presented to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” In accepting that prestigious award, he delivered the following speech:

General Westmoreland, General Grove, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps….

As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” And when I replied, “West Point,” he remarked, “Beautiful place. Have you ever been there before?”

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this [Thayer Award]. Coming from a profession I have served so long, and a people I have loved so well, it fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honor a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code — the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the animation of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do: They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now — as one of the world’s noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.

He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage.

As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always, for them: Duty, Honor, Country; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.

And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts; those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms; the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails; the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished; the deadly pestilence of tropical disease; the horror of stricken areas of war; their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory — always victory. Always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men reverently following your password of: Duty, Honor, Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training — sacrifice.

In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him.

However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world — a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres, and missiles mark the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier.

We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; to purify sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundreds of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development, your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable: it is to win our wars.

Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment. But you are the ones who are trained to fight. Yours is the profession of arms,  the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be: Duty, Honor, Country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds; but serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation’s war-guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are war mongers.

On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.

Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps.

I bid you farewell.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My father had the last portion of the speech displayed in his apartment.

Dad was very patriotic; he loved this country. He loved his time in the service and would have gladly volunteered again to defend her. Duty. He felt an obligation to this country – the country that opened its arms to his father and mother; he felt an obligation to continue the tradition begun by his father, and that was to enlist and serve. It’s one of his most defining qualities and one that I can remember even from childhood.

And you should have seen his reverence for the American flag. He respected each flag as if it had draped the casket of a fallen soldier. He folded and stored each one with care.

This is the generation we are losing.

Their children (people like myself) grew up in a world saved by the guardians of freedom, but who quickly watched the evil forces within destroy the foundations that made her what she was. We tell our tales and share our experiences and warn of what the country will look like if we remain on this path, but our generation too is fading.

To the millennials, who are actively destroying this country – a country they will have to raise their families in and try to enjoy their lives in – I implore you to STOP with your identity politics, stop with the endless charges of racism, and with your utter reluctance to listen to and learn the truth. Trust me, the truth will not kill you and it won’t even hurt you. It will make you stronger, bolder, more intelligent, and armed with the proper tools you’ll need to meet the challenges of your time.

The Constitution is NOT a thing of wax to be molded into a document that suits your purpose; it is a document to keep government off your backs, out of your pocketbook, off your property, and away from your essential rights as a human being. Once you cloud the true meaning of one part of the Constitution, you cloud the entire document, imperiling and weakening its purpose as a shield against a heavy-handed government. You will, in fact, transform it into a sword with which to harm you.

If you seek societal change, please proceed the correct way, the constitutional way, which is the amendment process outlined in Article V. Please reject the improper way, the unconstitutional way, which is by using the federal courts to do an end-run around the legislature (and the democratic process) and the Constitution itself, and by embracing the legal fiction that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document.” The only thing that is living and breathing is life. And unlike the imagery generated – fabricated – by the term “living, breathing document,” life is actually defined strictly, according to laws that are fixed in nature and never changing. The “living, breathing document” approach is just the insidious creation of activist judges who wanted to give the courts the power to circumvent the Article V process, which in their minds takes too long and which also assumes that judges are smarter and know better than the states and the people themselves. Simply put, it is a invention to transform the Constitution and to transform US society faster than the body politic in general is ready to accomplish properly, legally, constitutionally.

My father and the men (and even the women) of his age lived their lives by a certain code of honor. They acknowledged the blessing bestowed on this country – to be spared the nightmare that befell Europe with Hitler in their backyard. And they acknowledged their role, their supreme sacrifice, in liberating the world of his menace, as well as defeating the evil ambitions of Imperial Japan. The comfort and solace they took in the role they played, for the most part, remained as a quiet and unspoken part of their lives. But the pride they felt in what they did and what they stood for, as well as their pride in country, was the foundation of the honor they displayed throughout their lives. The word “duty” and “honor” meant something very real to my Dad, and to other veterans of his era. In the movie A FEW GOOD MEN, Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicholson) said: “We use words like “honor,” “code,” “loyalty.” We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something.” To my father, it meant respecting and honoring a country that secured freedom and offered him a home where he could have opportunities that he could never have enjoyed in other countries. Jessup’s next line – “You use them as a punch line” – seems to describe very well today’s millennials. They make a mockery of the very ideals our country once stood for. They are seeking to tear down the vestiges of the hallmarks that made this country what it used to be – including the right of free speech and the right to be able to defend oneself.

Who, from my father’s generation and my generation, can forget learning that Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto had reservations about invading the US mainland because of all the guns that citizens had for their protection. In a letter he penned in 1942, he wrote: “to invade the United States would prove most difficult because behind every blade of grass is an American with a rifle.”

To the millennials, please reflect on this: What makes the United States a “free” country is not the luxury of being spared words and commentary, even actual history, that hurts one’s feelings. It is not the hope (and the delusion) that banning guns will stop violent crime and mass shootings. It is not the right to determine when a developing human being must be evicting from your womb and killed, and it is not the right to entitlements, healthcare, or a free education. It is not the right to deny others their ability to live their lives according to their deeply-held peaceful religious beliefs just because it offends you or doesn’t fully embrace your lifestyle. It isn’t the right to re-define science and demand gender fluidity or to prevent every instance of discrimination (discrimination will always exist in the hearts and minds of humans as long as there is even one feature that makes us different). And it isn’t the right of other nationals (immigrants) to have unfettered access to this country and its resources and opportunities.

What makes us a “free” country is the right to “be left alone” by government, the right to the fruits of one’s labor, the right to an honest opportunity to the American Dream, the right to speak freely and without self-censorship for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or government retaliation, the right to assemble peacefully without fear that the police will stand down to allow violent opposition, the right to have and bear arms for self-protection (whatever the individual believes is necessary in his or her situation for self-protection), the right to privacy, the right not to have the government spy on citizens or to collect data (for possible future use), the right to one’s property without the government seizing it for its own purposes (or for a better purpose), the right to challenge one’s loss of life, liberty, or property (due process), the rights protecting a person should he or she be accused of a crime, the right to confront one’s accuser and to a trial (a speedy trial) by jury, and the right to be free of any cruel or unusual punishment. What makes us free is adhering to the divinely-inspired principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence –  (1) that “All Men are created equal” and have inherent worth and dignity and endowed with the same rights; (2) that we are “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, which means that they are part of our human fabric (not given to us by a benevolent government, and therefore not subject to forfeiture by said government); (3) that government is instituted for the primary purpose of securing our inalienable rights, and that no other purpose comes before that (certainly not for “taking care of us” cradle to grave, redistributing wealth, providing healthcare, ensuring entitlement programs, spearheading social change, etc); and (4) that government exists only as long as it serves its legitimate purpose, which first and foremost is to secure the individual (not collective) rights of man.

What helps ensure that we remain a free country is the role of the States against the federal government, as articulated in the Tenth Amendment, and NOT the right of the government to demand that each State blindly comply with the government, its court decisions, or to mandate that each conform to a “one-size-fits-all” model.

Again, I implore you, oh rebellious millennials, to read, study, and learn the truth. Don’t seek to change this country..  it is basically good and decent and generous and responsible. Respect it and preserve it. Make your mark, but do so intelligently, responsibly, legally, and most of all, respectfully. Generations have sacrificed more than you will ever know to allow you the privilege of calling yourself an “American” and to afford you the luxury to freely exercise the rights you do even as you seek to use them to deny rights to others and even to abolish them for yourself in the future.

Please hold this country in your care, as you would a child, ignoring what is best for you personally and putting the interests of your child first. Selfishness and the millennial “Me First” mentality (the “Politics of Me”) are what is dividing and killing this country.  The beauty about America is not that we are a mix of different peoples but that we truly form “one people.”  Politics is a nasty game that is, at its core, an aggressive adversarial system, pitting one side against the other, fighting for power and control. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the interests of the average citizen. You must understand that. Our country is more important than the outcome of some nasty, counter-productive, divisive political game…. It MUST be more important than that. Only we the people can make it so. In the coming years, it will be you, as you transition to the workforce and to parenthood, who will take the lead.

Please act responsibly. Please make this country admirable enough that, like my father and those of his age and era, her citizens would be willing to die for her.

DAD - Navy pic

(My Dad, age 18, in the Navy)

In Loving Memory of my Dad

OLD PIC - Dad and Me (at Alexis' wedding)

by Diane Rufino, April 24, 2018

Last week I lost my father. We buried him on Wednesday, April 18, in an intimate, quiet ceremony. It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life so far.

How do you say good-bye to your father?  How do you say good-bye to the man who has loved you unconditionally all his life, who has loved you more than life itself?  How do you say good-bye to the man who raised you with the happiest of childhoods, but who ended up living alone most of his adult life and was lonely, yet never complained when you didn’t have the time to visit him?  How do you say good-bye to the man whose face lit up everytime he saw you and who hugged and kissed you everytime you left?  How do you say good-bye to the man who, even as dementia denied his body of the use of his mind, still remembered you on every visit and still was able to greet you with “Hi Hon”?

My father and mother divorced when I was ten years old and although my sister and I grew up in a broken home, with a single working parent (sometimes two and three jobs), the demands of school, being active in our church, and the many sports and activities we were involved with, helped us to stay busy, keep our focus off the lonely house, and build the character that would help sustain us as we grew up. All that time, Dad made sure he was a constant and visible force in our lives. He moved into an apartment in the same town and we saw him often. He was involved at every phase of our lives – our moving out into our own apartments and living on our own, and getting married and having/raising our children. He was a hands-on grandfather, a job he embraced with the same joy and happiness he had when raising my sister and I. He couldn’t get enough of his grandkids. The stories of their childhood filled his elder years, and he told and re-told those stories all the time – to everyone, including perfect strangers.

He wanted the best for his grandkids, just as he wanted the best for my sister and I.  I remember him telling me that I should discourage my girls from dating until they were done with their education. He didn’t want a boyfriend or an unwanted pregnancy to deter them from their potential. I told him I “was on it.” But that didn’t stop him. When my daughter Sierra visited him (she was around 20 years old at the time), he took her aside to warn her about the dangers of dating while in college. He tried to tell her about the birds and the bees… at age 20!  I told him: “Don’t worry, Dad, I think she already knows where babies come from.”

It was his undying and unconditional love that provided the safety net to go out in life, to take chances in my education and career and not be afraid to fail. I knew I would never be judged or criticized; I would be loved no matter what. And that glimmer of pride in the way he always looked at me would never go away.

My parents may have divorced, and Mom even remarried, but that never stopped my father from being a part of every holiday, every special occasion, every Christening, every graduation, and every birthday. My Mom always included him at her house for every family event and my sister and I included him at our houses as well, regardless of whether it may have caused any discomfort for Mom’s new husband. Family is family.  None of us doubted it, questioned it, or tried to diminish it in any way.  Even though the actual family unit, physically, had changed, and I admit that I missed it very much, we all remained as a family unit in every other sense. After all, we are tied forever by DNA, personality, and history, and love. We are our parents. We are the sum of what they are/were, and what their grandparents were, and what their parents were before them – with our own special attributes and peculiarities.  We are able to be the loving parents that we are because they loved/love us.  They still do, and I believe, always will.

On Wednesday morning, before the ceremony, I saw my father for the last time, in his casket, looking so at peace. I wanted badly for him to be at peace, and so did my sister, but selfishly we also didn’t want him to leave us. Then I remembered the line: “Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you.”

But it didn’t help.

The fact is that I wasn’t ready for Dad to leave me. I honestly thought I had more time with him. I had more plans of days to spend with him and news to share. I thought there would be more days of going to see him and feeling the happiness of seeing his face light up and hearing the words “Hi Hon.”

And so, a part of me is gone now. I miss it so much and I miss him to my core. But my Dad is in a better place, I know, free from a body that was failing him terribly.

The picture I posted above of Dad and I will always be the one that best reminds me of how much he loved me. In the pic, his expression says it all. But the reality is that I felt that love and pride with me all the time, even when we were many states apart. My father had an exceptionally rough and sad life, but at least I know that my sister and I brought him happiness and love. There will never be a day when I am not reminded of him — all I have to do is look in the mirror, and I see his face in mine. Luckily, I will always have that blessing.

Dad, I love you so much. You’ll always be in my heart and in the rest of my life as I lead it.  You’ll be with me.

Not certain I would be able to hold it together at his final resting place, I was able to mutter these words to Dad as I said good-bye at the cemetery:

I’m not ready for good-bye

Nor ‘So Long’ or “See You Later’

Not ready for the end

Not ready for this reality.

I’m not ready for this life

One without you in it.

I’m not ready for your good-bye

Maybe someone else’s

…… Anyone else’s

Just not yours.

Death doesn’t become of you.

It isn’t your best color.

So could they change the prognosis?

Tell me it was just a mistake?

Just another mis-diagnosis?

Please remind me you are indestructible

Just like I always believed.

Tell me you are still my guardian

And still going to be living..

Please tell me, Daddy

You will always be my best friend.

Please tell me you will never leave me

And you’ll be here ‘til the end.

Tell me I’m having a nightmare

And when I wake up in the morning

I’ll find you aren’t gone

Because I love you so much, Daddy

To Infinity and Beyond

Reference:  https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/not-ready-for-goodbye   (Modified for Dad)

DAD & UNCLE GENE - Navy days

(Dad, age 18, on the left, with his cousin Gene.  Navy days…. some of his happiest memories)