- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2010


When I began teaching my sons about the values and beliefs I live by, I found myself quoting to them the opening lines of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

“… our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation — conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

I then went on to discuss his reference here to the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. …”

It’s all there — truth evidenced by man’s longing for freedom and rights that belong to the human race as product of their humanity — not ethnicity, gender or class. Universal ideals and values that cross all boundaries of time and space.

If there is any secret passageway to recapture the spirit of conservatism in America it would, in my opinion, be through the words and ideas of the men and women behind them who met and discussed and debated and deliberated over these documents.

What does that mean for me as a party leader at a time like this when the country seems less enamored with something (or someone) new and different and more inclined toward something more traditional? Something, perhaps, which already exists in the memories and the imaginations of the freedom-loving people in this country?

As I write this, I am thinking of the various people I have talked to about the direction they would take this country. Whether I’m talking to a farmer in western North Dakota, a doctor from the cities or an immigrant from Indonesia who has lived here now some 30 years, the basic answer is the same.

Let’s stop complaining, get informed about where this all started and begin holding the line on those we elect to represent us in the city, county, state and federal government.

Abraham Lincoln said it well as he laid out the idea that those who live on after the great conflicts that have often served to bring us back to these principles of citizen rule and self-government are responsible to carry the torch — to light the way for future generations.

If America wants a new birth of freedom, then Americans need to dust off the Constitution.

How much more of a field guide for freedom fighters could we ask for than the one (the only one in the history of the world) which begins, “We the People …”?

Get to know this short document written for an active, involved and informed electorate that is equipped to do most of what needs doing without the government’s intervention.

Gary Emineth owns a technology software company in Bismarck, N.D., and serves as chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party.

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