America is not a nation.
America is not a location.
America is not a people.
America is an idea—the idea of self-government.
The founders of this idea declared it as their sole purpose. History has no other example of those with power handing it over willingly to everyone within their borders. Many rulers have falsely promised this, only to re-imprison their people with a new (or not so new) ideology.
America is the idea that all people are essential and that anyone living here will not be hindered in their ambition to better their standard of living.
America is the idea that all people have the right to voice their opinions without censorship.
America is the idea that property is private and can be protected by force if necessary.
America is the idea that liberty can and should be defended at all times and by all means.
This idea of self-government falls apart if the people do not govern themselves. Governments grow in power and influence as morality and self-discipline decline. The health of any nation can be gauged by how moral its people are. Do not be confused by that word, moral. A moral people leave others alone to live their life as they see fit under this form of government. Our Bill of Rights beautifully explains how this should look in a free country.
Nations begin and end because of conflict of some sort. America began in conflict. A tyrannical ruler was attempting to impose his will on a portion of his empire, nothing new there. Invisible at first but revealed more and more by each and every tyrannical imposition was a unique concept: individual liberty.
Tyrants can only squeeze a people to the point of no return. The point where the individual will choose between death or liberty. Death means permanent compliance; the tyrant now owns you. Liberty means never giving in to a tyrant’s demands. In our case, liberty meant separating ourselves from this tyrant’s empire and then miraculously fighting off his intense attempts to defeat and subjugate us once more.
Interesting, but there are other examples of tyrants being defeated by their own liberty-loving citizens. Typically, another tyrant (whether a person or group of people) eventually rises up within a country and subjugates its people once more. Rinse and repeat.
America is the first country to break the cycle. America is an experiment in liberty. The leaders who violently took the reins of power from the tyrant, peacefully handed them over to us. What trust! What hope!
I’ve always wondered if any of the founders took bets as to how long it would take the people to go back to their old ways: “I’ll give it 10 years, George.” “John, stop being a pessimist.”
Well, it’s now 2020. 2020 minus 1776 equals 244 on my calculator. 244 years does not seem that long any more. Why? Because for the first time in my 54 years, I truly believe we are in danger of going back to our old ways. There are tyrants in the land that are in the process of squeezing us to the point of no return.
Liberty or Death. The founders of this nation chose liberty. Millions of Americans over the last 244 years chose liberty so that we would still have that choice in 2020. I love America because I can still make the choice between tyranny and death or liberty and life.
Casey Helbach is a 54 year old entrepreneur, husband of 30 years, and father of four from Madison, Wisconsin.
This essay was entered in the Epoch Times “Why I Love America” contest.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.