It is no secret that America’s elected and unelected (read bureaucrats) leaders lack any kind of principle we traditionally expect them to possess. Possibly politicians in every era of American history have lacked all principle and we are prisoners of a nostalgia for a past which never existed, but it is hard to deny the sense of some rapid decline in moral values and principles.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court in a 6 to 3 ruling blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandate which sought to force private companies to force their employees to be vaccinated. The idea of America being a place where citizens are coerced to inject a vaccine rushed to market or risk losing their livelihood is antithetical to American principles, and we should all be appalled at even considering such measures. Instead of embarrassment when the Supreme Court ruled on the unconstitutionality of the executive order, President Biden doubled down urging companies and states to move forward with coercive vaccine mandates. We should expect our leaders to have the character to restrain themselves from even attempting unconstitutional actions but instead we have leaders who make a habit of playing a game of chicken with the courts.
To find such principle in leaders today seems more like a fantasy only to be found in idealistic characters in fiction.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, in an interview in late December, admitted he had continually lied to the American people to encourage what he viewed as better behavior. He continually moved the goal posts on when we would reach herd immunity based on the percentage of Americans who would take the vaccine. Americans were already suspicious of this as Fauci had constantly shifted what he thought the public should do in regard to masks, social distancing, and lockdowns.
These are not American principles. Leaders who are to be accountable to the citizenry justifying “noble lies” and coercion because they fancy themselves better and above the rest. What happened to leaders with principle?
George Washington, our first president, was a man who could have been king and voluntarily laid down his power. He was a man who believed the prevalence of civic virtue among both politicians and citizens was necessary for a nation to flourish. In his first inaugural address President Washington emphasized the established truth of “an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage.” The wisdom and virtue of our first president deserves to be revisited.
Now we have presidents who, instead of demonstrating restraint through fortified principles, issue unconstitutional executive orders and wait to see if the courts have the courage to strike them down. If Congress doesn’t legislate how they wish, then executive decree will become the law of the land. The only hope citizens have is that the courts are not packed with partisan judges. If presidents and congressional members don’t possess strong character is there any real hope for judges?
How can the eternal principles, which we’ve always held to be synonymous with American values, be recaptured? If we wish to once again have leaders which embody those principles which have undergirded America throughout our history, we must reclaim them first in our lives, neighborhoods, and communities. It is from our communities that the next generation of leaders will come.
The pandemic, as terrible and tragic as it was, has given us a great opportunity. It exposed the folly of the leviathan our government is, consuming more and more control over our daily lives. It revealed the arrogance, absence of integrity, and the utter contempt the bureaucrats and politicians have for the citizenry. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to start saying no again to overreach, centralization of power, the gray-suited bureaucrat, and start realizing once again that everyday people can do it better in their own communities than any far away bureaucrat could ever hope to do.
Shuttered up at home to “flatten the curve,” we began to recognize the importance of community and neighbors. Community is where the appreciation for the good stuff is realized. The pandemic, despite its terrible consequences, helped us realize the importance of home, hearth, family, friends, and local community. In our fast-paced, digital age we forgot how important these things are. In these places we can reclaim what we long for.
So, if our leaders are going to rediscover American principles, we must commit to rediscovering them first around the family dinner table, at the little league baseball fields, in the small local churches, and local voluntary associations everywhere. Virtue strengthened and reclaimed at home will lead to us producing and choosing leaders who once again represent the American principles we all wish for. We can’t expect our elected officials to change if we do not first reclaim these principles at home.