The American Standard
By Jacob F. Roecker
Delivered in Norman Oklahoma 15 April 2009 6:00pm
In this country we look forward, because forward is the only direction to move. A few weeks ago we were looking forward, and the only people we saw moving in the same direction were the people to our sides. The people who believe the word “citizen” means something.
I’m grateful right now across our nation we can look up and see the stars and stripes flying. It’s there because brave Americans in our past, and brave Americans today, die to keep it there. They give their lives, and gift to us an unparalleled freedom and prosperity in the history of the world. It seems we can always look to our Soldiers as examples of the best America has to offer, and where do they turn? Which direction do they face? When times get toughest, what is it that they look to?
You shouldn’t be surprised to know that throughout history Soldiers have looked to a piece of cloth. Sometimes called a guidon, sometimes called “the colors,” and sometimes called a “standard.” Rallying around the standard in times of confusion gave Soldiers safety in numbers and a better chance to forge victory out of the threatening chaos before them.
I ask now, what is our standard? Our nation was forged in a time of war and needed a standard to turn to. Good citizens gathered and created a congress. The congress created their standard, built upon everything they had learned from the past. They needed to present their case clearly before all mankind and created: The Declaration of Independence. At the end of the document we read the words “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
When representing the people really mattered it required the pledge of your lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. This pledge was the patriot standard. But I say that good representation has always mattered. It will matter in my children’s generation, and it matters now. The standard in this country for representation is total dedication. Nothing they had was too important they were not willing to give it for this country.
There have been many conclusions drawn from that document and their actions in signing it. I would like to offer this conclusion for our generation. That selflessness in pledging your sacred honor is the standard of public service for the patriot generation that blessed this land over 230 years ago. It is the standard for every public servant from that time forward. It’s time we remind our government that the Patriot Standard should be the American standard.
We need that sort of representation now, but when you ask for it you hear people say things like “they don’t make them like anymore” or “those men were unique in all of history” and “we’ll never see men like that again.” I’d like to think that every generation of citizens has within its population the greatness of our founding fathers. If they could manage to find such patriots among a population of 2 million people than how come we can’t find them among a population of 300 million? Has God abandoned the country he has spent so much effort to help create? Would a deity that has openly rewarded the compassion of this nation towards its former enemies abandon us now? Does the argument that he cares less about me and my children than he did about the WWII generation, and the patriot generation hold weight?
NO. I cannot live and believe I have been abandoned. I can live and believe that my voice has been abandoned in government.
When the Boston tea party took place it wasn’t about the money. It was about what the money represented. Today the same logic stands true. Government spending in our generation means that my children and grandchildren’s generation has already been taxed. They bear the weight of this generation.
How did we get here? What’s at the root of it? The root of it is representatives placing agendas above values, placing parties before principles, putting priorities on the political processes external to the constitution. At some point we have been sold a lie and bought it. We have purchased an imitation of quality, and now quality counts.
Now we’re making some noise about it. Now we’re asking of our government “Is this is the best we can do?” Their best isn’t good enough, and instead of shrinking into thinking that is all the country has to offer its time we work together and start demanding more. There are patriots in this generation. We have to find them and put them in office.
I was on the phone with a friend last week who is a political adviser and recently had success in helping a governor get elected to office. I invited him to ask that his next candidate sign a pledge to represent his constituents according to basic principles and values. He said that it was politically too risky. The candidate hadn’t secured the party’s nomination.
Wait a second? Too risky? The possibly future governor of the state, in charge of thousands of uniformed service members that will probably get sent overseas is politically scared to sign a morally binding contract? They are scared to risk their own political career, but are willing to take charge of those willing to take deadly risks. Last time I checked if you didn’t get your party’s nomination you went back to your old job. What happens to the Soldier in Iraq under fire when the person to his right or left is afraid to take risks?
It’s time to get our priorities straight. It’s time someone raise a standard. It’s time this group sends a message to our government officials. We the people lead this nation. The caliber of representation that created this nation is the only caliber that will maintain it.
In order for your rights as citizens to be maintained they must be exercised. Now is the time. You are the right person for the job, and together we can make the Patriot Standard, the American Standard.
Visit 912candidates.org download the letters and postcards and send them in to your officials. Let them know you want your voice to matter. You’d be surprised how many of them have been waiting America to stand up. Today we are standing up. We’re on our feet, and all of us are headed in the same direction, forward.
Citizen, Patriot, Veteran
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