Friday, June 22, 2007

The Freedom Season

June 23 is the anniversary of the Battle Bannockburn. While (hopefully all) Americans understand the significance of the 4th of July, probably very few are familiar with June 23 and its great battle. In 1314, at Bannockburn, an outnumbered army of Scots led by King Robert Bruce routed the English. After years of guerilla warfare, King Robert and his troops gained a decisive victory in their battle for independence from English control.

After the death of King Alexander III in 1286, Scotland was left with no firm hand to rule the country. Alexander’s heir was his three year old grand daughter, Margaret, who lived in Norway. In 1290, little Queen Margaret made the journey to Scotland to take her throne. She died upon reaching Orkney. Scotland was to endure years of conflict to determine who would succeed her.

Several families traced their lineage back to King David I. Each was convinced of the superiority of its claim. On the surface this looks like just a family squabble, a medieval version of Dallas with a nation instead of an oil company as the prize. So it might have been had it not been for the conniving of England’s King Edward I. Edward wanted the Scots to acknowledge him as their overlord. Edward was accustomed to getting what he wanted.

Edward played the various Scottish factions against each other. It came down to John Comyn and Robert Bruce. Comyn appeared to be willing to bow to Edward I in order to gain his help in securing Scotland’s throne. Bruce, though somewhat of a waffler in his younger days, had decided that he would not be a puppet king.

Bruce and Comyn met at the Greyfriars Church in Dumfries on February 10, 1306. There is no way of knowing what passed between them at that final meeting. Did they argue over Comyn’s treacherous alliance with Edward? Did each plan to seize the opportunity to rid himself of his arch rival? The only certainty is that Comyn did not survive their encounter that day.

Did Bruce kill Comyn in an outraged fit of patriotism? Or did he become a patriot that day to save his own skin? Whatever the motivation, Robert Bruce had himself crowned king shortly after the murder of John Comyn. He spent the next eight years working to gain the trust, respect and loyalty of the people of Scotland. Despite having been excommunicated, he won the support of the people from all levels of society. The people of Scotland were willing to support his cause and endure the censure of the pope. In June of 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn, the army of Robert Bruce, by God’s grace King of Scots struck the blow that would give Scotland its independence.

So why should we care? That was nearly eight hundred years ago. Does it matter to 21st century Americans or even to 21st century Scots? I think it should.

I think that Robert Bruce figured out something very important about the building and maintaining of an independent nation. It can’t be done by the nobility alone. Nor can it be achieved solely by the ‘small folk’. Every socio-economic level must be willing to not only acknowledge the other’s right to exist, but must be willing to work for everyone’s good. The Scots’ determination to create a government to suit the needs of the people should be an inspiration to us. We owe a debt to their persistence and willingness to die in the cause of freedom. Read their own words.

“Yet if he [King Robert] should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us
or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert
ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own
rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our
King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any
conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor
riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone,
which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

Declaration of Arbroath, April 1320

In the Scottish Wars of Independence, we also see the seeds of the Reformation. The Scots rallied to the king of their choosing whether the pope liked it or not. The Scots asked the pope for his blessing of their king and country in the Declaration of Arbroath. There is no indication, though, in its words that they would have given up their king had the pope not heeded them.

The American Revolution built upon all of this. The brilliance of the men who wrote the Constitution of the United States is astounding. They created a system that can work for all the people no matter what their place in society. They created a government that all citizens can take part in. No one religion is to be deferred to at the expense of the rights of others.

In 1789, France began its road to “liberte, eqalite, fraternite” with the storming of the Bastille prison. Though the French Revolution was a bloody mess and did not produce the kind of stability that the American Revolution did, it still is an event to remember. It’s ideals of liberty and equality should resonate with us all.

I propose that we institute a ‘Freedom Season”. Just as we have a ‘Christmas Season’. Let us open our season on June 23 by remembering the Battle of Bannockburn and the struggle for Scottish independence. Let us end at Bastille Day on July 14 by remembering French freedom fighters. In between should be the high point of our season. Celebrate the 4th of July, our American Independence and the Constitution it produced.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.--That to secure these
rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from
the consent of the governed.”

Declaration of Independence July 4th, 1776

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Action Item: Oppose the Senate Immigration Bill

Write to your Senators now. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you oppose amnesty and rewards for law breakers. We want border security and we want it now!

We need immigration reform, but this bill isn't the way to do it. Tell your senators to kill this bill before it gets back to the Senate floor. They need to start over and give us something useful.

These people work for YOU! Tell them what you want.

President Bush and his minions have had the unmitigated gall to call opponents of this bill racists. This is not about race, it's about doing things decently and in order. This not about bigotry, it's about the rule of law. If we give up the enforcement of our laws, then we give up our country, we give up our civilization, we very likely will give up our lives.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Action Item: Governor Strickland and CAIR

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has decided to consort with CAIR (unindicted co-conspirator in a case involving terror-mongers, HAMAS). This past Sunday, the governor spoke at a banquet held by the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Part of his speech:

“On behalf of all Ohioans, [my wife and I] appreciate your vision to promote
justice and mutual understanding. We gather under CAIR-Ohio’s theme this year,
‘American Muslims: Connecting and Sharing,’ to do just that, to connect and
share and get to know each other better.”

No, Mr Strickland, you don't speak for me. Your unmitigated gall in attending this event, much less claiming to speak for all Ohioans is very disturbing. Unfortunately, a great many of the people of this state will be unaware of your support for CAIR (did I mention they are an unindicted co-conspirator in a case regarding funding for the terrorist organization HAMAS?) do to the fact that no major newspaper in this state has bothered to report on your little love-fest with these people.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, CAIR (don't forget, they support HAMAS) claims to be a Muslim civil rights organization. In reality, their goal is to Islamize the United States of America.

From FrontPage Magazine:

" “Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith but to become
dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest
authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

This was the
of Omar M. Ahmad
, the Chairman of the Board of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, as told at an Islamic conference held in
Freemont, California, in July of 1998. "

I suppose in their eyes that qualifies as Muslim civil rights. After all, they think that Muslim civil rights should always trump the rights of infidels.

Ohioans, if you believe in the constitution of the United States, if you believe in government of the people, by the people and for the people, write to Governor Strickland and express your displeasure with the company he keeps.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"You never write, you never call....."

On April 25th, 2007, I became aware of an opportunity for members of Congress to view the documentary “Islam vs. the Islamists” that evening. This is a film that was funded with taxpayer money. PBS then refused to air the film because certain Islamic groups had pressured them not to. I sent an email to my congressman as well as my senators urging them to view the film. I received the typical automated email reply from all three.

Yesterday, June 4, 2007, I received an email from a member of my congressman’s staff. The staff person asked me to call and discuss the email and so I did exactly that today. It turns out that I am the only one who wrote to the congressman about viewing the film. The congressman and his staff seemed to be completely oblivious about the whole situation. I explained it as best I could. I have since sent an email to the staff person with links to articles that describe the film and what has been done with it.

What should we all learn from this? Our representatives are busy people. They really can’t keep up with everything that goes on in the world. If you think an issue is important, then you have to let them know. This may have been just a fluke incident, but I’m trying to take it as a hopeful sign that our voices can be heard.

Our federal government is a behemoth. It is very easy to get discouraged by its unresponsiveness. I have voted every year since 1979. Many times I wonder why I bother. However, I have seldom taken the time to write letters to congress. It’s time for we the people to participate in our government. I look around and sometimes think that this country is out of control and can do nothing but go into its final death spiral. Maybe that’s true, but maybe not. Either way, the United States of America is our country and we can’t let it go without a fight.

Get involved. Whatever your pet issue is, fight for it. Do something to make your country better. Whether it is local, state or federal, do something to make your opinions known.