Fighting to Preserve the Last Best Hope of Earth

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Phil Jensen

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In arguing with some South Dakota RINOs and other closeted liberals at South Dakota’s premier RINO blog, I found occasion to explain why my defense of freedom, my defense of American principles, my defense of Republican values may sometimes seem “overzealous” to some. It has something to do with something Barry Goldwater once said–that “extremist” my daughter was taught about during TARs Camp a couple of years ago:

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

Here is most of what I said in that particular comment:

sometimes I can seem a little “overzealous” because I have deeply loved this country and what it stands for throughout nearly my entire life. I have seen some of its best days–living through and serving in the military under Ronald Reagan and the fall of the Evil Empire–and know of the greatness it can live up to. I have been working at the grassroots level, doing the little I can here and there, to help promote those winning values of Reagan and the founder. I have seen them bring great victory and renewal to our country, as they did under Reagan and again with the 1994 “Republican Revolution.” And I have seen those principles abandoned by Republicans in the late 1990s and especially during the Bush years. I have seen that betrayal of our party’s values cost us congress in 2006, and then the White House in 2008 and 2012. We are all witnessing the devastating consequences of that betrayal (ObamaCare, a blizzard of illegal executive orders, attacks on decent Americans, attacks on our God-given liberties, the weakness of America abroad, rampant and outrageously dangerous fiscal irresponsibility, and the list goes on).

As much as I blame Democrats for the moral bankruptcy and ruin they have worked to bring on our nation, even more I blame the “Republicans” who have joined in the destruction with their “Me too, just not quite so much” compromise with evil.

This is not some silly game. In the temporal realm, there is little that is of greater importance than saving our country and pulling it back from the brink. We cannot do that with liberal values (they are what put us on the edge in the first place). We cannot do it with half-measures. We cannot do it with timidity. We cannot do it by being apologetic for being conservatives. We can only do it with boldness, with strength of conviction, and with dedication to win. And I fear that there may be too few on what used to be my side who actually take this thing seriously enough to do that.

So I thank you for your kind words, Jammer, and hope you’ll forgive me if sometimes I seem a little overzealous to preserve the last, best hope of earth, and against anyone who stands in the way of that preservation.

Apparently there are some “Republicans” who think to passionately believe in and defend freedom, American values and Republican principles IS a vice. I am not among them. Nor was Barry Goldwater. Nor was Abraham Lincoln.

Rick Kriebel 2016

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The informed student of history will probably note my reference to “the last, best hope of earth” and recognize that this comes from a speech by the original Republican president, Abraham Lincoln.

As I reflected on what Lincoln had said, and went back to read the entire speech again, I was struck by how easily this speech could have been given by an American patriot today, about the current dire struggle in which we find ourselves.

In Lincoln’s time, our nation was literally ripped apart and many lives were being lost in the conflict. It was being ripped apart because some Americans were Hell-bent on embracing evil and pursuing evil policies.

Woodrow Wilcox

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While I would not dare for  a second try to diminish the suffering of those caught under the heel of those evil policies of that time, or those who bled and died to close the national wound and extend freedom to ALL Americans, it is sadly true that today, in 2013, our nation is engaged in a divisive civil war that is tearing us apart. This current civil war is much like the one of the 1860s, in that part of our country has embraced an agenda of evil, and is Hell-bent on making that evil public policy.

Today, the conflict is not between North and South, but between Left and Right.

The Right believes in freedom, personal responsibility, God-given liberties, limited government, free enterprise, the establishment of law over the whims of men, protection of life and property, and the Judeo-Christian moral code that made America the greatest nation in human history.

The Left believes in the collective, in the total power of the state, that government extends to its subjects what liberties it sees fit and withholds others, in an economy controlled by the state, in the state controlling every aspect of personal and business life, in the power of those in power, that the value of human life is determined by its convenience and those who hold raw power over it, and in a relativistic moral code that essentially boils down to “whatever feels good” and “might makes right.”

The chasm between these two political philosophies, these two worldviews, could not be greater; no amount of positive vibes, no amount of good feelings, no amount of compromise or attempts at “understanding” will ever bridge the divide between such clear and tangible good and evil. Any who believe otherwise are dangerously naive; they are sentinels asleep on the walls.

Yes, our nation is being ripped apart and demolished by the ascendancy of a dark political agenda which is the antithesis of everything upon which America was founded. The Left seeks to destroy innocent human life (whether in the womb, or in the petri dish, or in the nursing home) that it finds inconvenient, while the Right seeks to maintain human dignity and the supremacy of God over innocent human life. The Left seeks to make “marriage” mean anything–and in doing so, make it mean nothing, while the Right seeks to preserve the integrity and strength of this most important of all societal institutions. The Left also seeks to make “family” mean anything, knowing that in Marxist tradition the family must be destroyed to make way for the glorious socialist utopia, even as the Right fights to preserve the family for our children and our children’s children. The Left seeks to destroy our national borders and sovereignty, even as the Right seeks to maintain their integrity. The Left seeks to promote lawlessness by ignoring our nation’s laws (including our highest law, the U.S. Constitution), while the Right seeks to preserve law and order.  The Left seeks to blame an imperfect America for all the evil in the world, even as the Right seeks recognition for all the good that America has done, and calls America to live up to the ideals espoused in our founding documents. The Left seeks to weaken our nation’s military and leave us at the mercy of hostile nations (in keeping with their “blame America first” philosophy that says we should be punished), while the Right seeks to keep our military strong, to protect us and be a force for good in the world. The Left seeks to bring free enterprise under the heel of state regulation and control, while the Right seeks to maintain the property rights of the business owner and promote a vibrant economy. The Left seeks to control what ostensibly free citizens do and buy and eat, while the Right seeks to maintain the God-given freedom recognized in our founding documents.

An American civil war raging in 2013?  Most definitely. And the casualties are found among those who are slaughtered in the womb, those who are killed early because their lives are considered not worth living, those who suffer and sometimes die of STDs contracted through the false promise of sexual nirvana, the children who suffer (academically, emotionally, mentally, economically) at the hands of parents who procreate outside of marriage or divorce for no good reason or who subject these children to any environment where they are deprived of a committed mother and father in the same home, those who die in New York or Washington D.C. or Pennsylvania or Benghazi or Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere around the world because our leaders have demonstrated a lack of resolve to defend what is right. And there are still more casualties in more areas than those I have mentioned.

It’s time the Right got serious–serious about the fact that there IS a war going on, serious about the fact that the Left is our enemy (just as surely as the South was the enemy of the North in the 1860s), and serious about the fact that our lack of seriousness about winning that war is producing a never-ending train of casualties with no end in sight. In short, it’s time the Right got serious about winning the war and bringing an end to the conflict and suffering.

That’s what Abraham Lincoln was talking about in his 1862 speech below. He was talking about taking the bold, decisive action that would be necessary to win the conflict and end the suffering. Read his speech, and see for yourself if, with the alteration of just a word or two hear and there, this speech couldn’t apply just as much to us today in our modern culture war.

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I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed to the Congress of the nation by the Chief Magistrate of the nation. Nor do I forget that some of you are my seniors, nor that many of you have more experience than I, in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I trust that in view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will perceive no want of respect yourselves, in any undue earnestness I may seem to display.

Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood? Is it doubted that it would restore the national authority and national prosperity, and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we here–Congress and Executive–can secure its adoption? Will not the good people respond to a united, and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can they, by any other means, so certainly, or so speedily, assure these vital objects? We can succeed only by concert. It is not “can any of us imagine better?” but, “can we all do better?” The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.


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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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