Marines.Together We Served

Monday, February 15, 2016

All Enemies

Roots in Ripon
15 February 2016
Chuck Roots

All Enemies

This is one of those articles I’ve written numerous times in my head, but have never put pen-to-paper until now.
Many of us have sworn an oath at some point or another in our lives to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Perhaps it was the sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia the other day that has pushed me to finally wrestle with this statement in the oath I first took as a young Marine, and later as a naval officer.
I have entered into a self-made and self-determined program to teach my grandchildren to memorize certain important statements that speak directly to our freedoms and liberties. My first venture was when Alyssa was starting kindergarten two years ago. I taught her to sing the song, “50 States in Rhyme.” At the end of the school year she was invited by her teacher, Mrs. Huff, to sing the song for her class. She nailed it, and the kids all cheered and clapped. Then in first grade I was invited by Alyssa’s teacher, Mrs. Luchessi, to talk to the class about the history of our flag, and how to show proper respect toward our national emblem. At the end of my 30-minute talk, I asked Alyssa to sing the 50 States song with me which she did. Again, cheering and clapping from her fellow students.
This year, beginning last month, I am having Alyssa and Brookie memorize the “Gettysburg Address” written by President Abraham Lincoln on the back of an envelope during the train ride from Washington D.C. to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This brief two-minute masterpiece of writing and English composition is a history lesson of the American people, past, present and future.
Once the Alyssa and Brookie have the Gettysburg Address memorized, we’re moving onto the Preamble to the Constitution (“We the people of the United States . . .”), and then the opening two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence (“When in the course of human events . . .”).
Lest you think I’m having the kids learn something I already know by heart, you would be mistaken. I am memorizing these hallowed documents right along with them. It also gives me the opportunity to teach them about our American History.
It is true that if we do not know and learn from our past, “we are doomed to repeat it.”
So, at the very least, I will have grandchildren who will know what we as Americans ought to know and why.
As Americans we have the right to consent to be governed by those who are elected to office. The question that comes to my mind is at what point do we no longer accept the rule of those who are not ruling well? Protecting and defending the Constitution against foreign enemies I understand. But what about domestic enemies? Who are they? And by whose definition? How do I protect and defend the Constitution against domestic enemies? To rise up against such domestic enemies, particularly if it is your own government, could put you in a most precarious spot, offering the powers-that-be the leverage of deeming you to be an anarchist, a hater, a rebel, a troublemaker, a radical, a revolutionary, or worse.
There are those within our government working hard to remove certain rights and sections of the Constitution. This is frightening. I agree with Justice Scalia when he adroitly declared, "The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring. It means today not what current society, much less the court, thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted."
This is what I believe is meant when I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. The brilliant hearts and minds that formed the Constitution thought this through so that you and I would have a solid basis upon which to entrust and exercise our rights and freedoms as Americans.

1 comment:

Larry Callagher said...

I wish everyone had your level of patriotism and ardor in passing your (our) heritage on to your kids and grandchildren.

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