United We Stand?
Written by John Kenyon, Ch. Lt Col, USAF
The Great Seal of the United States of America has the motto [E pluribus Unum, out of many, one] that proclaims a unity that formed this nation, founded in 1776. The document that forged that nation proclaimed, “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”.
Yet, today the very concept of unity is in question as we see our nation polarizing over the plethora of issues we face. The national debate that has developed over the standing for the National Anthem at sporting events has highlighted this fact all too well. These difficulties we face seem daunting but really they are only symptoms. We can address the symptoms but the cure has to be applied to the core problem. The focus must be toward the very heart of our nation’s hemorrhaging.
John Adams, almost 219 years ago, wrote a letter to the Massachusetts’ Militia that was prophetic to our time. He addressed the core issue when he stated,
“Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The prevailing winds of our time proclaim morality is in ‘the eye of the beholder’ defined by the beholder. Likewise, religion is to be a private matter kept far from the public square. John Adams, a founding father, understood this nation was predicated upon a citizenry bound to a higher authority that guided the morality of that people. If this foundation is negated then it is “might makes right”, a principle that implodes upon itself and ultimately brings tyranny.
The best way to clarify the above thinking is to use an illustration. As an individual who participated in the sport of American football, both as a player and a coach at the collegiate level, the concept of team work and fundamentals was vital to victory. It is important for a team to be working as one toward the goal set before them, putting aside distractions to gain the success all desire. Often, when the score was not in one’s favor, the decree of the coach was not for better team work but the need “to get back to the fundamentals”. Yes, teamwork is critical but the fundamentals of the game are the bedrock of ultimate victory. When you, as a team, execute the fundamentals of the game better than your opponents, victory is assured.
We are indeed “created equal … endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that” each may pursue “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” here is the goal. As stated above, one does not have to look far to realize the team is divided; victory in question. Is it time to hear the coach’s words calling us back to the fundamentals upon which this nation was built?
John Adams’ words of warning should not go unheeded as “we the people” seek to address the issues of our day. Let the call be to the rediscovery of the fundamental principles that allowed this nation to be the “land of the free”. Let us as that nation know the foundational principles of our founding and in remembering them once again be “out of many, one”.