Paine's stirring words to the general populace and to the fighting units rallied enough folks to keep the Revolution alive and the cause of liberty moving forward. Paine excoriated the "sunshine soldier" and the civilians whose patriotism adjusted itself to the tides of battle. He called for commitment. He called for courage. He called Americans to realize the epoch-making moment they were creating.
I do not have the eloquence of Thomas Paine, but I am just as passionate about the historical crossroads faced by our society. If the (apparently) moral majority of California do not rise up in November and pass the Marriage Amendment, we may find ourselves ruled by a small cabal of people who despise the values we stand for and who ultimately want to destroy the liberties our Founders and forefathers labored to endow to us.
The Marriage Amendment is not about intolerance toward gays and lesbians - it is about defining the most important unit of social cohesion known to humankind.
The Marriage Amendment is not about creating a theocracy - it is about democracy rooted in a virtuous citizenry committed to family.
The Marriage Amendment is not about Civil Rights - you can not give rights to a chosen lifestyle.
The Marriage Amendment IS about recovering personal responsibility - a commitment sorely lacking for past five decades.
The Marriage Amendment IS about our future. For the past 40 years we have been told that we must limit family size and that the world will not hold up under the strain of overpopulation. Our materialism, narcissism and misplaced idealism are bequeathing a tragic destiny - we are not replacing ourselves! As economic conditions have improved, populations stabilize. This is good. There are, however, unforeseen consequences to the erosion of traditional values and the increases in abortion rates. Our current Boomer generation has not produced enough offspring to support them in their old age.
The Marriage Amendment is not a single-issue statement, but a doorway for us to reconsider what values will build our future. With much of the world in need of basic necessities, why are we consumed with consuming, with shopping as a recreational sport? We give our children iPods, but they do not know our Constitution. We drive $40K cars, but will not help our school teachers with supplies. We expect the government to bail out our poor financial decisions, but we are not giving our children a good breakfast so they go to class ready to learn.
It is time for some 2008 Common Sense.
Less self-regulation means more government regulation.
We may defend the concept of marriage, but if lust and pride divide husbands and wives, our efforts are only symbolic and self-defeating.
Conservatives are compassionate and generous with their own money, while liberal policies seek governmental redistribution. Why not transcend this difference with personal sacrifice and sound fiscal policy?
We can not have all the "guns and butter" we want. Fighting terrorism requires lean, mobile forces ready to strike. We will not, however, win the hearts of non-Western nations if we are perceived as a colonizing force. This "off-book" war is a trillion-dollar bill for future generations. The answer is NOT "cut and run" but careful strategic steps to prepare us for the long-term.
Common sense. We can drill for oil selectively AND explore alternatives, with generous tax incentives. We can build a new nuclear plant while hastening the day when no uranium will be needed. We can balance a budget with caps on spending and eliminating waste - if we have the courage.
Common sense. We can defend traditional marriage without oppressing adults who choose different arrangements.
We can support Israel while searching for real leaders who want peace. As soon as a radical leader (like Sadat in 1978) will acknowledge Israel's right to exist in peace, there will be hope.
We will not always be popular with the global elitists who want to put America in her place and force us to submit to "world opinion" (actually the opinion of a few arrogant, wealthy folks who think they know better than the rest of us).
We can seal our borders and construct "Ellis Island"-style Welcome Centers in California, Arizona and Texas to welcome LEGAL immigrants.
We can improve our local public schools by holding BOTH parents and school administrators responsible for student improvement.
We can reduce teen drug use, pregnancy and other social challenges for young people by introducing a simple notion back into the public square: a moral conscience. We are so afraid of any shame we have forgotten that some sense of responsibility is a moral necessity. When an unmarried teen is pregnant, she and her companion must be called to account - AND helped with compassion and financial support. Young men in particular must be held accountable for their actions.
Common sense. Will we find it is time?