Historic health care bill divides opinion, but not the nation.
By Seth Richardson
The measure of our Republic is that the vote on the health care bill was not punctuated by the sound of gunfire, explosions and the screams of the dying. The National Guard was not called out. Tanks and barbed wire did not occupy the streets surrounding the Capitol. Soldiers with fixed bayonets did not take aim at protesters armed with brickbats and Molotov cocktails. Blood did not run in the gutters of Washington Sunday night.
This is a demonstration of our determination as a people to resolve our differences peacefully, if perhaps loudly.
This is not the model for most nations, where the kind of arrogance and disdain for the will of the people shown by Progressives and Democrats Sunday night is often met with bloody violence and death. All over the world people frustrated with the Machiavellian machinations of politics vent their fury on each other and their communities, and sometimes upon their elected representatives. In Great Britain, the threat of violence is so real that their laws prohibit protests within a kilometer of their seat of government, the House of Commons, and police and barricades ring Parliament whenever contention is in the air.
But no car bombs went off anywhere in America, and Boulder Democrat Jared Polis was able to joke about being nervous about stepping out on a Capitol balcony overlooking crowds of protesters.
Things did not go nearly so well in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. While we were peacefully debating a contentious piece of legislation, 13 people died in suicide explosions as their government struggled to find peace among warring factions and terrorists.
A few epithets were hurled in Washington by the lunatic fringe, which were soundly and immediately condemned by every side of the debate, but no rocks or hand grenades flew. No shots were fired. Not a single tear-gas canister was launched. No heads were bloodied by nightsticks.
This is our legacy to the world, and it’s a good one. Born of our determination not to be enslaved and our willingness to fight for what we believe, America has always asked for peace even when we were forced to fight. We fight when we must, but when we’re offered peace, we always accept it, always thinking the best of our opponents and having confidence in the chance for peaceful relations.
We have learned this lesson by brutal experience. Our own Civil War, in which more than 600,000 Americans were killed to preserve the Union, seared into our national soul the determination that we would remain one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, no matter how divisive our opinions.
We can hear the foundations of our Republic groaning and creaking as the Progressives assault the bastions of liberty, and the fight is not nearly over, but we, the People, will withstand the assault and prevail in the end, and we will do so with the power of the pen, not the power of the sword.
In the end, liberty and justice will prevail because they must. It is in our hearts and minds and the sinews of our Republic to be fair and honest, and to be governed only in accordance with our consent, freely granted and revocable at our will. We, the People will determine for ourselves what is right and proper and we will express that will at the ballot box. And those who serve us in the halls of government will obey us and bend to our will, because we are all the same, we are all citizens of this great nation and we understand the need for the peaceful transfer of power and the restraints of representative government.
Tyranny can never prevail in a nation determined to preserve liberty and justice. We have the right to keep and bear arms precisely to secure our ability to overthrow a tyrant and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. But we, the People understand that arms are the last resort, to be held in abeyance until the day when our elected representatives refuse to surrender their power peaceably when their authority to act is lawfully revoked by us.
This is what makes us unique in all the world. We trust ourselves to keep the arms that might facilitate rebellion and insurrection because we trust that our fellow citizens will never use them except in a noble purpose, for the defense of liberty and the overthrow of tyranny, and only then at the narrow passage, when all diplomacy and pleas for redress of grievances have been refused and our public servants attempt to become our masters.
This is the measure of our Republic. This is the beacon of hope and liberty, of peace and amity, of disagreement without disunion, of vigilance and determination, of a mighty nation that keeps its vast stores of arms to secure the peace, not to destroy it, this is the light that guides the world towards peaceable resolution of conflict and dissent by example.
It is our duty as citizens to uphold that ideal and continue to allow the checks and balances of our system to work as they were designed. November will come soon enough, and then, once again, the People will manifest their will and their consent, the transfer of power will proceed with dignity and in peace, and the Republic will endure.
© 2010 Altnews