His portrait fades and his memory is gone.
An earthquake cracked his tower of stone
but his voice still cries “Charge on, Charge on!”
No surrender and no retreat,
First in war and first in peace,
A father, soldier and citizen,
He gave his soul to God, and his heart to his countrymen.
From Lady liberty to the California sun,
We keep looking for another one.
We will find our hope where we started from,
May God bless America with another George Washington!
When you give your soul to God and your heart to your countrymen.
-Lyrics from Tom Douglas’ “Washington”, Restoring Love – Cowboy Stadium 2012
Last night my family attended “Freedom Fire” with about 8000 Americans in a small town called Logan City. The little ones, having been raised too long in New York City and never been exposed to Kansas “City” didn’t understand how Logan was a “City”. I didn’t know how to answer other than saying, “size doesn’t define a city – the people do”. Pretty good for being as distracted as I was. I should have thought more deeply of the full meaning of that statement. It is true about a family or a country as well.
The “city”, upon learning that was going to be in attendance, had asked me, the day before the event, to say a few words. I agreed. The next morning, I saw story that I was going to “say something” on the front page of the local paper. Above the fold! Not something that would happen in that local New York “City” paper. That I was going to speak was not the point of the story, the point it seems was that I was going to “say something”.
As I read the story, I was struck by the fact that even though I had only agreed to speak around 4 pm the afternoon before, not only was it in the paper, but the reporter had found the time to learn of the “outrage” of some that had already called the Mayor and the University where the event would be held.
The local reporter asked for an interview as did the local radio station. In seeing that the radio station would air it live, so no edits or spin would be possible, I chose the radio station, which was not an affiliate of mine.
It was hosted by three really smart, fair and talented men. One left, one right and a libertarian. They were honest and frank. Two told me up front, they did not like me. The guy on the left and the conservative. I was so glad that I had chosen the radio station. It was a chance at honesty and real dialogue. In the end, I left a fan and with three new friends.
I spent forty minutes with them but only ten with the audience in the stadium where I was to 'say something'. I know the hosts heard the message, but because I didn’t get the one on one with the audience along with another important reason, I am not sure I was able to make myself clear to those in the stadium.
I also wasn’t able to speak with you on this holiday, so let me share with you the words that were on my heart that I think are important for me to say. Whether they are important to hear is up to you.
I know what I have said in the past was controversial. Some of it foolish, some of it wrong, some of it poorly worded. But on the same page, some of it right and some of it needed to be said. For those things that were said by me that caused needless division, I am deeply sorry. For those things that drew sharp lines around truth and deceit that were spoken out of a love of God, country, and a plea to return to common values - I do not regret that I said them. I do, however, regret that I had to be the one to say them.
The truth does set you free. But what, all too often, we overlook is that, many times, the truth will make you miserable first. It usually makes the messenger the most miserable first, because he knows that far too often he will be the one blamed. A messenger, loyal to the message, accepts that risk and relies on the hope that the message will at some point be heard.
Today I have another message that I regret having to deliver.
I believe we are a nation at, in or very near civil war.
The first shot hasn’t been fired yet. “Fondly do I hope and fervently do I pray – that this ‘mighty scourge’ might speedily pass away”, Lincoln said.
But if we are to reverse this course maybe we should look at his words again.
“Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looks to read the same bible, and pray to the same God and each invokes His aid against each other. … but let us not judge lest we be judged. As it was said three thousand years ago, so it must be said, 'the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.'"
The first civil war pitted the North and South against each other and thousands died. But the fact is, that division still exists in many ways. It doesn’t seem to matter that “for every drop of blood drawn by the lash, was paid by another drawn with the sword.” The battle still rages, the wounds are not allowed to heal.
That was a civil war fought in the 1860s. It was over something that had to be stopped the scourge of slavery. If indeed I am correct in my assessment that we are in a cold civil war, not north vs. south, but neighbor against neighbor, let me ask: What is this conflict over?
I would answer: The Truth. There really is only one truth. We can disagree on healthcare and taxes. But the truth is not subjective in cases like the VA. Are there secret waiting lists so workers gain bonuses? Yes. Are we killing US citizens with drones without a trial? Yes. Is the NSA spying on you, me, members of Congress and terrorists? Yes. Are we enforcing the rule of law equally and blindly? No.
But if I asked the average person in the street what is this conflict over - what would they say? In the end, it would boil down to our ‘uniforms’. Republicans vs. Democrats.
“He started it!”
“oh yeah, well you were the one…”
It is at this point the adult in the room is supposed to say firmly;
“Knock it off!”
Where are the responsible adults? We agree on the truth. At least the Left voted against these things under Bush, while the Republicans defended them. Now, in this never ending game of musical chairs the roles are reversed.
This was my point last night and will be my point and message going forward in clearer and specific examples: I will take responsibility for my actions. I will tell you that I was wrong on the war in Iraq, the PATRIOT Act, drones and in many ways, the Republican Party. The Left was right.
Will you join me? Put your sword and shield down. Don’t worry about the splinter in the others eye, but instead take the beam out of yours. I don’t have a beam by the way, I believe I have an entire forest to remove from my eyes so I will be very busy for quite awhile.
We must again become the UNITED States of America again. It may be our last chance to save the Union that has indeed changed the world.
We have so much in common. More than any of us want to even admit. But the biggest is our heritage. At some point someone in our family came to these shores because the Constitution offered an opportunity for a better life. Even though those whose ancestors were brought here for the most evil of all of man’s desires, have a life is better than it would have been if they were born anywhere else on the planet. For all of our problems, that is not a fact that can be disputed. It does not justify the act, but it allows one to make sense of the senseless and move forward and build a positive life.
But, we have an even greater heritage, our common ancestry to a Heavenly Father. We indeed are brothers and sisters whether we like it or not. We are family, and just like family we are not required to agree or even always like each other. But as our Eternal Father commands, we must “love each other”. My earthly dad put it this way, “When all is said and done, we are still family and that never changes. In the end, family is all that matters and all that we’ve got.”
Let me say again, I am not just sorry for ‘how you may have interpreted’ the things that I have said in the past. I am actually deeply sorry for things I have said and done that have helped drive the wedge between us deeper. I ask for your forgiveness. I do not expect you to forget.
But I do ask you to understand a man cannot change overnight, he can only try to be better everyday. I will make mistakes again, I will say things that are stupid again. I live 4 out of every 24 hours live on air. I challenge you to not look for my mistakes, but perhaps spend time working on where you may be in error.
No matter if I am a perfect man from here on out, or if I were even hit by a bus today, the story will never be written: “Glenn Beck changes his life, or killed in freak bus accident – America heals”.
For America to heal, we must actively “bind up this nations wounds – to care for those who have fought this great battle, their widows and orphans.” We must be the good Samaritan. We must bind the wounds, care for and actually love those we supposedly hate or hate us.
Let us begin this Independence weekend by embracing each other on the bigger principles. Let us declare ourselves independent of the “old world”, full of old stereotypes and thoughts. Let us, let go of people telling us who we are, what to think or what to do. Let us view our problems as “liberating strife” and begin the long process of being better men and women than we were even five minutes before.
Let it be sung of us:
“who more than self, their country loved –
And mercy more than life”
We have no King but a Heavenly King. He commands us to love one another while the kings of this earth tell us to hate one another. We, each, need to ask ourselves: which King will I serve?
Let us unite at the feet of our American Father Abraham. Abraham Lincoln. Let us BEGIN to “bind up the wounds of this nation with malice toward none and charity toward all.”
It is my prayer that I may look back on this coming year and say quietly and meekly to myself that I did the best I could to live worthy of the stewardship of those rights and responsibilities that God has seen fit to graciously shed on me.”
I wonder if the “city” paper reported above the fold that I have now “said something?” If they actually heard me, they did. If they didn’t, perhaps it was because I didn’t state it as clearly as I did here. I hope they understand and forgive my reasons. Last night, I didn’t want to say anything overtly political at the ceremony marking our political birth.
I will continue to attempt to find my way in the days to come so in the end all success will be nobleness and every gain divine.