Recently by Terry Hulsey: What Is To Be Done?
I stand before you on this beautiful September day in the shadow of one of the great icons of the American story, the Alamo. Like the hearts of those immortal patriots before the final assault, my heart is heavy. But like theirs also, my heart is inspired by ideals that will outlive the frail, perishable self.
The course of history often distills and sharpens the contradictory elements of a nation. America was born of the irresistible principles of liberty implicit in our English past. Less than a century after its birth, America fought a second revolution. In its refining fire the chaff of slavery was burned away forever. But in this same fire elements contradictory to the American essence survived, shielded by the power and magic of a word — by the power and magic of democracy, as stated by our Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.
For a time America had a limited government consecrated to these few purposes. As a result, our nation stood as a beacon to the world that a free people could govern themselves and allow each of its citizens to freely direct his own destiny and to earn a golden prosperity unknown even to the kings of just a few generations before. Few can fail to be moved by the principle of democracy, so defined and so consecrated. I and my generation took up arms in a global war to defend it. But what we did not undertake to defend were the principles of unlimited democracy and unlimited government, alien elements feared by all of the Founders of our sacred republic.
In this hour America faces another purifying fire. This fire will burn away like chaff the alien notion that a majority can vote itself unlimited riches through the power of an unlimited government; it will make kindling of the worthless paper that power has pronounced as equal to money; it will turn to smoke the notion that the longstanding factions that we call political parties can produce any wealth whatsoever; it will leave as a bed of ashes the notion that a government more and more militarized abroad can fail to be more militarized at home. This trial by fire need not be self-consuming. It might well take place in a free marketplace of ideas, and so pull us from the brink of destruction. I have consecrated my whole political life to this hope, that America would freely choose to return to its Constitutional principles. This democratic choice still lies open to us.
I cling to this hope in spite of the flouting of democratic principles evidenced in this season's nominating process. This process leaves me no honorable alternative but to make the decision that I must make now. Today I stand before you to announce that I will form an independent party for my candidacy for President of the United States.
I concede that should I fail, my candidacy will likely give power to the current President, who is most certainly no friend of our Constitutional republic. Yet of all the major candidates other than myself, he has at least promised the use of caution and reason in the prospect of yet another destructive war in the Middle East. To vote for the nominee of the Republican Party is to vote for certain war, and for a trial by fire that may well consume our sacred republic, that may well have us give to our children as their legacy of freedom a handful of ashes.
Campaign with me then, especially you, the young, whose enthusiasm has lifted my heart with every step that I have taken on this path. Let us fight to return to America's founding principles, that our Constitution may rise like a phoenix from the fire that threatens to engulf us, our children, and our memory as a free people.
Terry Hulsey [send him mail] is a writer living in Fort Worth, Texas.