Jackie Gingrich Cushman

These fundamental differences of view cannot be bridged with rhetoric because the values underlying these views are different -- most importantly, the values that define the foundation of America.

Our Declaration of Independence not only declares this nation free, but also notes the source of our rights, our Creator. "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."

But when talking about the founding of our nation during his State of the Union, Obama said, "We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea -- the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny." No mention of rights, where they come from or God.

Obama mentioned faith, but not faith in God so much as the notions of unity and confidence: "We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people." Later, "I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs." Finally, "We'll also work to rebuild people's faith in the institution of government."

Obama talked about the story of America as "the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That's how we win the future."

What he did not address is why we have dared to dream and why we are different -- not as individual people, but together as an exceptional nation, created with the understanding that our rights come from God and are then loaned by us to our government.

It's time for us to back up and align our fundamental values to ensure that we are talking about the same things. Then we can work toward real solutions.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.