Several months ago, I agreed to write this weekly column and to use it not just to express my views, but to express the views we shared with the many thousands of Americans we met on the campaign trail last year.
In our travels across this great country, we learned so much about the challenges you face, your hopes and your dreams, and what you want from your leaders in Washington. We also learned of your frustration that many of your views and the issues you hold dear are not understood or adequately represented. That's what we have tried to do here -- provide a voice on these issues. And I think we have made a difference.
Some of the issues we've taken head-on include the vital need for new manufacturing jobs in America and education and training programs to support them; the need for our Republican leaders to engage with all Americans, not just those who live in elite ZIP codes in coastal cities and have advanced degrees and professional jobs; the rights of families and parents to make decisions about their children's health care and not to leave it to United Nations committees; the stonewalling and incompetence the Obama administration has demonstrated on foreign policy issues -- for example, the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, the growing Iranian nuclear program and the rise of extreme Islamic governments in places such as Egypt; and, of course, the critical importance of traditional marriage and the family as the underpinnings of strong communities in America.
Most importantly, though, I'd like to think we have given a voice to the voiceless -- the unborn, the disabled, the sick and all of those whose quality of life is questioned by far too many in this country. Every life is a gift, and we must do all we can to protect them all. If we can't do that basic thing -- our most important responsibility -- then no other issue matters.
Last year, after the presidential campaign, we formed a group called Patriot Voices, which is committed to fighting for all of these issues -- faith, family, freedom, and opportunity. And now I've joined EchoLight Studios as its CEO. It's a fast-growing faith and family film production company that is using film to promote many of these same ideas. Through Patriot Voices and now EchoLight, I will continue to promote a positive culture and stay engaged in the political process as America looks to find the right leaders in 2016.
Many thousands of you have supported us, and we will continue to fight. But rather than use our pen for this weekly column, we're going to be using our feet and our voices more going forward. We'll use our feet to cover as much of the country as we can to meet you and listen to you. And we'll use our voices to take your message back to Washington and out into the media so that you, too, can be heard. With the resources we have, we need to make every minute count -- and this is the best way for us to do our work going forward.
We're at a critical time in our country. There are many big issues being debated right now -- the proper size and role of government, the size and capabilities of our military, the definition of marriage and family, and the true meaning and importance of our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Now more than ever, we need to focus our efforts, resources and message and win these arguments. We can't afford to let up. So that's what Patriot Voices will be doing.
As another Fourth of July holiday approaches, we'll celebrate the original American patriots -- those great men and women who fought for our independence against tyranny. They are the ones who established this great country and defined who we are as Americans. We must protect these freedoms they established and articulated in the Declaration of Independence:
"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's what it's all about. And that's what Patriot Voices is all about. So though you won't read us here anymore, you will see us out there, and we look forward to listening to you and carrying your message. God bless and happy Independence Day!
Former Senator Rick Santorum is the author of Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.
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