Time for conservatives to insist Americans go back to first principles

An astute British military observer and eyewitness to the clash of armies at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in July 1863 lamented in the battle's bloody aftermath, "I never can believe that in the nineteenth century the civilized world will be condemned to witness the destruction of such a gallant race."  Whether this reference was to the fate of the invading rebel forces who hosted the observer behind their lines of battle or to the Union Army, whose victory was sealed at an equally devastating cost, is immaterial when considering the crushing blows the American spirit endured in that moment.

Today, we are engaged in another kind of civil war.  Though we are not yet embroiled in pitched battle, Americans need only read news headlines to discern the indifference of man to his fellow man and to glean from our litany of divisions the sentiment of the wishful destruction of our own countrymen with malice in our hearts.  Today, as in our last Civil War, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Although the civil, ideological, political, and social fissures in our society have existed for decades, in recent years, they have fractured into a chasm.  Differences between liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican that could once be reconciled in the common goal of societal betterment are now irreparable as a rule vice an exception.  The prevailing wisdom, one might infer, is that the American Experiment is at a crossroads.  Will the house divided against itself fall, or can Americans find common ground on pride of country, on human decency, and on the inalienable rights of all Americans to thrive regardless of myriad differences that should not stigmatize us, but make us profoundly unique?

The woeful lack of comprehension of American history is the great undoing of recent generations.  Lost to the far left are once peaceful sit-ins and the concept of civil disobedience championed by American figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., replaced with the repugnant, mindless violence seen across the land in a wanton effort by radicals to terrorize and denigrate the very country that bestowed upon them the rights they defile in their Marxist-anarchist quest to shred the fabric of America.

What, then, are sensible, conservative-minded Americans to do in a seemingly upside-down country mired in an Orwellian nightmare?  It may come as a surprise to some Americans that past behavior is a reliable predictor of future behavior.  As the adage goes, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  America has an existential problem when a majority of her citizens are incapable of correctly identifying Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president, let alone explaining the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  An understanding of the breadth and scope of our founding documents is a critical step in fortifying our minds against the relentless onslaught of leftist attacks on our freedoms of thought and expression.  In short, let your mind be your arsenal, and let knowledge be the weapons with which you stock it.  Educate yourself about the Founding Fathers, the perilous struggle of patriots to prop up a fledgling United States, and the early missteps that would come back to haunt a burgeoning nation.  Read about the many factors that ignited the Civil War, the abhorrently consequential institution of slavery, and the tumult of Reconstruction that is tangible to this day.  Learn about American grit and sheer determination to defeat fascism and imperial expansion in WWII, and about the struggle for communist containment.  Do this, and you will arm yourself with the fortitude that no manifestation of violent leftism can defeat.

Once you are awakened to the root causes and possible solutions to today's crises, take an active but nonviolent role in rooting out those elements in society who would topple the pillars of our constitutional republic established in our nation's birth as a model to revere.  Violence in this pursuit only undermines an otherwise noble undertaking, so instead, turn to our most important civic duty: voting.

Far too often, conservatives are complacent in election cycles, thus ceding critical public offices at the state and local levels to leftist candidates whose army of foot soldiers, explicitly or implicitly, are actively and sometimes violently thwarting traditional American beliefs.  Take, for instance, county school board elections.  Leftists covet these positions because of the ideological influence they can sow in the education of America's youth.  While you may not notice their actions on a granular level, you can find daily examples of anti-American thought in our schools at the national level.  Showing up to vote your belief in the fundamental goodness of America, or even running for political office yourself, will help turn the tide of the raging assault on our deeply held values.  Willful ignorance of our current trajectory, or sheer indifference to our elections and the patriotic ambitions of like-minded Americans, will only allow for the promulgation of leftist tyranny.

If an obscure British observer forgotten by time could succinctly articulate what must have looked like the imminent destruction of America, surely from an understanding of our history and a steadfast commitment to participation in our civic duties can we resolve to deliver her salvation.