Readers Speak: Reflections on Memorial Day

Memorial Day reflections

By Bob Wagner, Representative House District 71

“To defend and protect the Constitution of the United States Against All enemies, Foreign and Domestic”  this is what our troops and persons serving in the Legislature have in common. – the oath of service. While it is easy to assess what a foreign enemy is, it is not quite as easy to identify a domestic enemy. But that is exactly the purpose of making law according to the Constitution and the principles contained therein. If law is fashioned after the principles contained in our Constitution, then those that violate the law are “enemies” of what is established as the “common good,” or for the “good of the whole.”

It will probably be a cold day in Hades, however, before a modern day political figure is ever laid to rest with the same honor as a fallen soldier, but one should ask why if the battle and the duty of both are the same. Is it because one fights with a gun and physical strength to over power the enemy, and while we must always remember their ultimate sacrifice, do we not recognize that lasting peace must rest in the existence of mutual respect for the individual and his fundamental rights given by his creator? Both, the soldier and the statesman, are fighting the same fight – protection of our freedoms. Is it not more suitable to appeal to the inner good that is in mankind to agree to live in peace? Is there a “moral conscience” in most, if not all, mankind? I would like to believe it so. However, many fall short, very short.

This last month alone there has been numerous news articles that challenge the “moral” judgments of political figures and political organizations, offerings of jobs to not run for office, and folks in charge of regulating industry watching porn on the taxpayers dime and equipment.  Locally – legislators helping themselves to stimulus funds to benefit their own businesses, or big Washington D.C. organizations exercising influence over HD 71 elections without proper filing status. Yes, in some cases, if not all, they will say it is nothing out of the ordinary – just politics, as usual, or “it wasn’t illegal” even though as some describe, “it just doesn’t pass the smell test.” You see, most folks expect a higher level of moral character in leadership.  This is why those who volunteer to serve should aspire to a higher moral code and to statesmanship status, or one who truly serves the good of the whole – not oneself. “This Constitutional Republic is completely inadequate for a less than moral people,” stated John Adams.

So, on this Memorial Day as we celebrate those who give their lives to the service of our country, may we all recognize our own duty to select those that lead us and are sworn to protect our Constitution and the principles contained within with thoughtful consideration of morals and character, and pledge to ourselves to hold them accountable to their oath. For what good does it do to send our servicemen and servicewomen to fight wars when no one is protecting their freedoms at home?

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