Ten Years

I assumed that first period AP Chemistry class that day would be just as it had been for the first few weeks of school. When I walked into the classroom, however,  I knew that something was wrong. The TV was on and I saw that the first tower of the World Trade Center was on fire. I didn’t really know what the twin towers were but I knew that something very bad had happened. As my class sat there in kind of a stunned silence, we watched a second plane explode into the second tower. Then we really knew that things were changed forever. As the rest of the day unfolded and we learned about planes crashing into the Pentagon and into the field, an almost deadly silence settled over our school and over the country. The suspense and fear was palpable. The first thought on the mind of most of my peers was, “What does this mean for the rest of my life? Will we go to war? How will our generation grow up in this new environment?”

Shortly after we learned about the Pentagon being hit the school forced us to turn off the TVs and “go about our normal business.” This infuriated me. This was my country that was under attack. This was my new reality. Yesterday’s “business as normal” was not normal any more. I could not believe that the school administrators thought that we were so immature that we shouldn’t know about what was happening to our country.

After school I went home and attended my mom’s home school English class and LaDawn Jacob’s history class. The class was full of very patriotic young men and women and we spent the whole 3 hours watching the news and talking about what this meant for our country. I remember standing on the front porch with some of the guys and talking about the possibility of our having to change our life plans and having to go to war.

That evening I had to go to work. I worked at a fast food place where business was dead the whole night. Only one gentleman came in, and I talked to him for half an hour. He was an old cowboy from Lehi, Utah, and had seen a lot in his life. He talked about how shocked and angry he was and how he wanted to get revenge on the terrorists.

As the images and stories of heroism surfaced over the next few weeks, I was touched by the greatness of the American people. I respect and honor the firefighters and police officers that risked and gave their lives for those that had been directly attacked. They are examples of the unconquerable Spirit of America and of the courage and bravery of our people.

That day ten years ago changed my life and my world forever. I had grown up with a great pride for America and with the belief that this country was founded by God and that God watched over the welfare of this country. I still hold to that belief. I believe that America is a land favored by God and that He will protect us. My religious belief teaches that God established this country as a place where people would have freedom.

“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. . .  That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.” — D&C 101:80

While I mourn and commemorate the events of September 11th, 2001, I also fear that our country has moved itself from this fundamental role of protecting freedom. We have worked so hard at making ourselves safe that we have lost the freedom that our forbears sacrificed and gave their all to build. We don’t want to see airplanes become weapons again, and so we have voluntarily given up our privacy to what once would be considered an unlawful search at airport security checkpoints. We want so badly to catch terrorists that we allow the government to monitor our phone and other conversations without a warrant. We are so afraid of Muslim extremism that we have sometimes denied basic religious freedom to our Muslim brothers and sisters here at home. These and other examples should concern all freedom-loving Americans and cause us to reflect on the cost of this increased “safety.” Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as having said,

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Our founding fathers pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in pursuit of freedom from oppression and tyranny. As we strive to increase our security and safety, we must remember that freedom is paramount. As we remember this anniversary, let us pledge and commit ourselves to not only fight terrorism and tyranny where we find it but also to strive to protect freedom and liberty here. Let us retain the greatness that we have enjoyed by continuing in the goodness upon which we were founded.

Obama’s Lack of Trust in the American People

The free world is cringing at the liberty-killing health care mandate that is President Obama’s signature piece of legislation.  There are many aspects of ObamaCare that are distasteful to the American people but the purpose of this short article is not to discuss those details of this law.  I’d like to discuss what I believe may be one of the motivating forces which moved Obama, and liberal Democrats in general, to craft such an onerous piece of legislation.

One of the motivating factors of the liberal agenda, especially as manifest in ObamaCare, is a fundamental lack of trust in the American people.  The liberal agenda assumes that a few elite elected officials in their offices in Washington know better what is good for the American people than the American people do.  This assumption fundamentally means that our government doesn’t trust us to solve our own problems but assumes that they have all the answers.

ObamaCare claims to address many problems that do exist in the health insurance system.  It claims to “make insurance more affordable,” to “set up a new competitive health insurance market,” and to “bring greater accountability to health care” (whitehouse.gov).  Most of the American people would agree that these are worthy goals and that these ends should indeed be achieved to fix our current health care system. The trouble isn’t that the goals are wrong but that they are being addressed by government!  The liberal establishment in government asks us to trust them that they know what is right.  The goals of health care reform, however, can be much more efficiently achieved by leaving these problems and their solutions to the people.  Leave the money in the hands of the people and allow them to address their own problems.

Ronald Reagan addressed this lack of trust when he said, “‘Trust me’ government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us. But my view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs-in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact” (July 17, 1980).

As Reagan stated, our government today needs to return the trust to the people. The values that Reagan spoke of that “transcend persons and parties” are the values that were fundamental to the founding of our country.  These values are those of Life, Liberty, and Property. We trust our elected leaders to preserve these values — we also trust them to never encroach on these values.  In this election year candidates for office should remember that the American people trust them only to the extent that they trust the American people.  The role of government is not to increase itself, but to protect the liberties of those who are its creators — the people.

I welcome your comments and discussion.

Some interesting side notes. . . This graphic represents the bureaucracy created by ObamaCare! I look at graphs like this a lot in my work and this is one of the most confusing ones I’ve seen.  It makes a good children’s game to follow all the lines and see where they go!

The Business of Family

While I was exploring the University of Texas at Austin this July, I discovered a statue and a plaque that were quiet interesting to me. The plaque was at the base of a statue of a father and mother holding their young child. They are looking upward together.  They are striving for a better world and teaching their child to do the same. The plaque reads,

“The family is the foundation upon which the world of business is built, and it is a vital force in the local, state and national economy.”



The statue is by Michigan native Charles Umlauf who worked at UT Austin as a sculpture instructor. His works can be seen across America from the Smithsonian and New York city to Central Texas.   I believe that Mr. Umlauf catches the essence of the importance of the family in this simple statement and with his statue.  The family is not simply an old tradition, it is the fundamental building block of society.  Without a family with a mother and a father to teach them, children grow up with a skewed sense of their place in society.  They struggle to understand their civic duty and they have more difficulty becoming a contributing citizen. It is important that our society preserve this fundamental unit.  If this unit crumbles or if it is forcibly replaced by a government or social activists, the very fundamental part of our free society will disappear and we will be left to stumble in the dark.