Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I recently had occasion to give some serious thought to the many different elements included in the description of national defense.
I had been asked to put together a national defense display for the spring state conference of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
By definition, national defense includes the military defense of our country and its territories. It also means military preparedness and a strong military presence around the world to defend against aggression.
We cannot afford to cut back our military to the extent it would weaken us and leave us vulnerable to our enemies. We must be able to safeguard U.S. national interests, which include the ability to successfully resist, defeat, avoid and prevent hostile and/or destructive action from within or outside our country.
We must place our national emphasis on security, prosperity and American values.
One of our country's top priorities should be full compliance with the laws as defined by the U.S. Constitution. There can be no usurping of these laws by the leaders of our country. Politicians must be held accountable when they attempt to bypass the law of the land.
Only then can America remain the strongest nation in the world.
We must abide by all of the amendments to the Constitution, such as the First Amendment, which gives us freedom of speech; the Second Amendment, which guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms; the Tenth Amendment, which guarantees states' rights.
When was the last time you actually read the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Do you know your rights as an American? If not, you are part of the problem.
It is critical that we educate ourselves and our children in our country's history and beginnings. We must teach them love of country, patriotism and the ideals that have made our country so great.
American exceptionalism should be taught in schools. Pride in one's country and appreciation of all that we enjoy should be values learned by everyone.
Showing proper respect for our flag should begin in grade school.
We should remove our hats and place our hands over our hearts during the national anthem and when a color guard passes by. If a person is wearing a uniform, a military salute is proper.
Unfortunately these days, many people seem to be more focused on what their government can give them than on making sure that their elected officials follow the laws of the land.
Our forefathers envisioned a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." Are our representatives following that vision?
Are our opinions about how we want to live our lives important? Should our elected officials work together for the good of our country and its citizens and be aware of their constituents' wishes? Should the president and members of the House and Senate be constantly at odds with each other and unable to compromise?
Is this how we defend our country's sovereignty and status around the world? Are we now the laughing stock of our enemies because of our weak foreign policies and our inability to even pass a budget?
Trillions of dollars have been borrowed from countries that would do us harm. Yet our elected officials cannot even agree on cutting spending. They are spending us into oblivion.
We are weakened more and more by reckless policies. Soon our military will be too weak to defend us from our enemies.
We have a president and congressional leadership who won't sit down together and work out a compromise. Where is the leadership?
Enemies from within our country can take us down one step at a time when we are not even paying attention. We must defend our nation; each and every one of us.
We can begin by voting at every election and helping our neighbors get to the polls. We need to do whatever we can to get our nation back on track.
We need to vote for people -- be they Republican, Democrats, Independents or Libertarians -- who truly care about the direction our country is going in. This is the only way to defend our nation.
Linda Miller, of Lexington Township, is National Defense Committee chairwoman of the state organization of Daughters of the American Revolution.