"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone" -- Joni Mitchell, "Big Yellow Taxi"
Some conservatives are prematurely salivating over President Obama's declining poll numbers, According to a recent Gallup daily tracking poll, "the nine-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953." That may comfort some Obama opponents, but three years is a long time until the next presidential election so conservatives and Republicans (not always the same) had better think of a long-range strategy if they want to save the country from the long-term consequences of what many call "socialism."
Matthew Spalding of The Heritage Foundation offers one component of that strategy in his new book, "We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future." Spalding believes, "America is unique in that universal principles of liberty are the foundation of its particular system of government and its political culture." He lists them and explains their history: liberty, private property, consent of the governed, equality, natural rights, religious freedom, rule of law, constitutionalism."
Middle-aged and older Americans recall that these subjects were part of their high school and college curricula. Younger Americans may be less familiar with them, as the public schools no longer seem to emphasize what once held us together, preferring to teach "diversity" instead.
Six years ago, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, introduced a bill to require a greater emphasis on American history and civics in public school classrooms. Alexander quoted Federal Judge Aleta Trauger who spoke at a swearing-in ceremony for 77 new citizens in Nashville: "We are Americans because we also share certain fundamental beliefs. We are bound together by the unique set of principles set forth in documents that created and continue to define this nation. We find our heritage and inspiration in the profound words of the Declaration of Independence: 'All people are created equal and endowed with unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' We pledge allegiance to the Republic as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. But the greatest expression of our national identity is the constitution of the United States which established the responsibilities and rights that go with citizenship."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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