The New American Patriot
Dave Martin c 1996
In a series of pamphlets titled The Crisis, beginning December 1776, Thomas Paine wrote: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of their country... Tyranny like hell, is not easily conquered." George Washington had Paine's writings read aloud to the Continental Army during the darkest days of the American Revolution. This was a time like no other when men of wealth and social status would define a government protecting the rights and opportunities of people from all segments of society.
Today, the government and constitution, forged by men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and defended with the blood of countless patriots over more than 200 years, is facing another crisis. The threat is not from a foreign power, this crisis is from within. Our Constitution, defining our basic rights, is under siege by right wing social and religious extremists who would replace it with their brand of biblical law. Our way of life, the envy and dream of the rest of the world, is prey to a new tyranny called Cultural Conservatism envisioned by Paul Weyrich, leader of the Free Congress Foundation . The American Revolution established a pluralistic society in this country. The Cultural Conservatives would replace it with a two class system.
Every emotional tool is being used to organize the political "groupie", the oblivious, the thoughtless, the selfish, the racially and socially bigoted, and the religious zealot. Even the elderly and retired, fearing loss of income and devaluation of savings, are the target of propaganda in a campaign to dismantle the basic freedoms our Constitution guarantees. Like a virus entering a health cell, social and religious extremists are feeding on the basic fears within us. All of us out of frustration have said at some time or other, "There ought to be a law." But our founding fathers wrote the Constitution to protect future generations from repressive and restrictive governments. Cultural Conservatism, like the government in George Orwell's 1984, would put "Big Brother" in every facet of our lives.
The extreme right has made great strides with the abortion issue and is now moving to issues with a wider appeal. Abortion is still an issue binding a segment of the right wing voting constituency, yet Pat Robertson has recently said he could vote for a politician that favored abortion only in the first trimester (1/3 pro-choice). America has a national health care problem, intense international economic competition, and unemployment; yet, the burning issues for right wing extremists center on prayer in school, vouchers, and limiting the civil rights of lesbians and homosexuals.
The public school system was established to provide children from every economic background the basic tools to make their way in the world. An educated population stands a far better chance of remaining employed, staying off welfare and out of trouble. The prayer in school issue is designed to disrupt and divide support for public schools and circumvent the religious establishment clause of the Constitution. Vouchers are a tool to limit general access to education, compounding existing problems so as to eventually destroy the public school system.
Cultural Conservatism's attack on our Constitution should be a call to arms for all American patriots. The new American patriot is a voter who places his country and the Constitution above party loyalty. Simply maintaining a political party's representation in local, state, and national government should not hold priority over loyalty to one's country. A nominee committed to platform planks perverting constitutional rights should not be supported by patriots, regardless of party affiliation. Today's patriot will in the battles to come, fire his shot by voting for the opponent or "writing in" when faced with the possibility of sending socio/religious extremists and their lackeys to public office. Today's patriot is in far less danger than our forefathers. Some of them were hanged, shot, or imprisoned. Lest their efforts be in vain, the very least we can do is vote to protect our own and every other American's constitutional rights and freedom to share in the opportunities of this nation.
Thomas Jefferson wrote " The clergy by getting themselves established by law and engrafted into the machine of government, have become a formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man." Future elections will not be about Whitewater, Travel Gate, Bill, Hillary, campaign finance, or tax reform, they will be about maintaining separation of church and state. The Christian Coalition, the Trojan Horse within the GOP, is the engine against civil and religious rights that Jefferson warned against. These are again times that try menís souls. True American patriots will not shrink from the service of their country and defense of the Constitution. The "all weather soldier" will cast his or her vote without regard to party loyalty This vote will be for separation of church and state and against the tyranny of Cultural Conservatism