Sifting the Rhetoric... Start With Core Values As the Guide

Political campaigns, candidates and potential candidates, signs, posters, and slogans...they are all part of our daily life. Local elections are on the scene, state wide elections are front and center, Congressional and US Senatorial campaigns are on the fast track and the 2008 Presidential election is standing straightforward in the wings. The American political scene is always on stage. A day does not go by that we do not hear or read about policy discourses and the positions of conservatives, liberals, moderates, and the so called "main stream." This is true at the local level and at the state and national scene. The stage is always changing and the key players seem to have ways of reorienting their positions. But our American values serve as the constant as we sift through the rhetoric. This is a part of our American way.

Our country has a rich tradition of values that has come to represent us as a nation. Americans may not always see eye to eye on political issues, but we will defend the ideals on which our country is based because this is a great country made up by a majority of thinking and conscientious Americans.

Just why is America the greatest country in the world? Just ask those who risk slavery, poverty, imprisonment and even death to reach the shores and borders of the United States. No country in history gives more opportunities or has been more successful at enriching more people than the United States. This is why people from around the world are willing to risk their lives to come to America and we never had to build an iron curtain to keep people in. No power has ever been more benign than the United States. We don't conquer countries, we rebuild them, revitalize them, and we restore within people a hope for freedom. Indeed, the bulwark of America's strength is centered in America's core value of freedom, human rights and individual dignity.

America is a nation that is never finished; each generation works at making our country better. Threats to our ideals have always rallied those who believe in the promise of America. We believe that many of the current generation forthrightly hold, as generations of the past, to our core American values. We see a national renewal of the basic principles that are at the root of our exceptionalism. And these are the principles we use when looking at those who say they "want to lead."

We live in a time in which asserting universal values may be questioned by some and under assault by others. Despite the murmuring we hear from some, there is a set of values that binds us together as Americans. Free trade, a government of, by, and for the people with minimal government intrusion, a Constitution of original intent, and liberal democracy stand out as stalwart American values. These values are moral, they are universal, and they are the source of our greatness. For America to be not only prosperous but also deserving of prosperity, these virtues recognize the dignity and worth of the individual and they guide individual actions. And these are the very actions that shape the character of our communities and serve as the bedrock of American civic life. These principles serve as a yardstick of measurement when looking at those who wish to lead.

We believe that our prosperity, our unprecedented national wealth and productivity is solidly grounded to our fundamental principles. For without the adherence to the principles of individual honesty, self-discipline and trust, there can be no industry. Without the mutual respect that flows from recognizing our individual and common responsibility, there can be no marketplace. To hold to our core American Values, we must hold to our cultural heritage, strengthen our families and free them of unnecessary regulatory burden. We need to value the work ethic, save and invest, assume greater personal responsibility for self, exert greater self discipline, and bolster the decline of a welfare state. Our core values support a foreign policy that under girds men and women struggling for their religious and political freedom. It means supporting our armed forces with more encouragement and material support.

In 1776, the Founding Fathers' great hope for the new republic was that it would mark a new beginning in human history: that Americans, in the words of Samuel Adams, would "show the eyes of mankind" that their nation "will be productive of Virtue, moral and political." It is not arrogance for this nation to cherish its heritage. It is not presumptuous for the people to value each individual as an individual human being striving to be free of tyranny and it is not intolerant for this country, with it shortcomings, to strive to be worthy of its calling. These are the values we adhere to and look for in those who say they wish to lead. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.