This weekend we Americans celebrate the freedom to govern our own affairs. Our nation was founded on a simple premise: Let people alone to pursue their dreams and they’ll inevitably not only thrive themselves but but also create opportunities and foster prosperity for the larger community. But the framers of America’s constitution also knew that the whole idea of a free society with limited government could only work if citizens had a strong and healthy internal moral compass. How do we know this? We have abundant written record. For one, we have the famously preserved letter of October 11 1798 from John Adams to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts which in part reads: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Adams knew that neither laws nor governmental structure had the power to do what only a sound conscience is capable of doing. And his assertion is as true today as it was back then.
Regular blog readers will recall that I’ve written before on the inextricable relationship between freedom and character (see, for example, Freedom and Character are Inseparable, Freedom’s Survival Depends on Character, and The Duty to Protect Freedom). But each year when important holidays approach, I post on the topic again. It’s a matter that simply can’t be emphasized enough.
Freedom is under unprecedented assault from two major sources: one external, the other internal. The external threat comes from a radical ideology that seeks to compel the entire world to submit to an extreme interpretation of religious doctrine and stifle any dissent through heartless torture, terror, and killing (for more on this topic see: Radical Ideologies: Deadly Ways of Thinking). It also seeks to lure those among us who feel socially disenfranchised by offering them a perverted opportunity to affiliate with a new would-be dominating class. But perhaps the internal threat to our freedoms is more insidious: the character crisis that has plagued much of the industrialized world for the past several decades. Our marriages, our families, our businesses, our government, and our community relations – all of these things depend on us honoring the ideals and principles that make us decent individuals and have, at various times in our history, also made us both strong and great as a country. But because so many of us haven’t sufficiently honored and lived up to these ideals in recent years, our freedoms have been steadily eroded – increasingly impinged upon by a literal mountain of laws, rules and regulations that never really impact the scoundrels among us but place increasing burdens upon the folks who have always played by the rules and honored their obligations. In the process, the burden on the socially irresponsible among us has become virtually nil while the burdens imposed on the socially conscientious among us have increased dramatically. Such a trend cannot continue indefinitely.
My humble effort to help reverse the troubling trend mentioned above has largely involved my written works In Sheep’s Clothing,Character Disturbance, The Judas Syndrome, my blog articles, and, of course, the musical composition of which I am most proud: Anthem for the Millennium, or as it’s more popularly known, “America, My Home!” Music has a way of touching the heart in a way no other medium can. And as we know, big social changes generally come about when individual hearts change one at a time.
So, as we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy this 4th of July weekend, I invite the readers once again to enjoy the song my wife and I were inspired to compose almost 16 years ago as we came to our own realizations about the vital relationship between freedom and character, and which gained popularity after a regional ABC TV affiliate paired it with a video montage of events surrounding the attacks of 9-11. We hope that in hearing it you’ll be inspired to “pass the torch of freedom” to willing others and to future generations by doing your part to “make character cool again.” Share the song with your friends, and, if you have a mind to join the ever-growing chorus of those performing it at patriotic events across the country, or know someone who might like to do so, please contact me using the blog’s contact feature and I’ll see to it you get sheet music, performance tracks, various arrangements, etc. I hope the song touches you in the manner intended. And my sincerest thanks to all the singers who at various patriotic venues this Independence Day will be carrying the its message: “America’s true greatness lies not so much in her military might or economic power but in her people of good character who honor her best ideals and upon whom the very survival of freedom depends.”
I’ll be having more to say about this topic on the special Independence Day weekend presentation of Character Matters at 7 pm EDT on UCY.TV. Now, enjoy (the most recently uploaded and highest quality YouTube version of) “America, My Home!”