In the 1960 movie "The Alamo" John Wayne, who plays David Crockett, has a scene where he is talking to Travis and about what a new Republic and he says:
"Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat; the same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step or his first baby shaves and makes his first sound like a man. Some words give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words."Today we are at the threshold of the celebration of the Fourth of July, the day that independence was declared by the thirteen colonies. Much like Wayne's words above, the colonists desired to "live free, talk free, go or come" and many other things as free men. They wanted a government that would represent them and their interest and not that of a king halfway around the world. When the dust settled from those sparks of revolution on that Fourth of July, the United States would be born. The United States would become the Constitutional Republic.
Our Republic has certainly had its challenges and its ups and downs. There have been times when the idea of the Republic have been challenged, pushed to the limit, and even pushed aside for a mob rule mentality. There have certainly been times when the majority or the guy with the biggest stick got his way. We can walk through our history and see glaring examples of it from the Trail of Tears to the lynchings without trials. We can see the Republic stomped on in these moments when laws meant to protect were simply brushed aside by those in charge because they had the majority.
Despite the times our Republic has been brushed aside, in the end, it has prevailed. It has prevailed because there have been men and women of this great Republic who have stepped forward and said, "No. This is not what our Republic represents." The Republican Party built its foundation on the idea that all men should be free in the United States. The party was known as the Abolitionist, and their primary goal was to bring the laws and benefits of the Republic to all those living in the United States. To bring these benefits to all people would mean that slavery had to end. It had to stop not just in the new states added to the United States as it grew, but it had to end in all slave states in the country. The Republic was being challenged, as it had been before and as it would again. As always, men and women were willing to stand up and say, "No. This is not what our Republic represents."
There are those today who would distort, and change history simply because it is not always a pretty picture. But we do not need to change our past or distort it, but instead, we need to embrace it. We need to look at our history of slavery, lynchings, the mistreatment of our Native American friends, and the mistreatment of any group of people. We need to study, learn, and be prepared because no Republic has ever stood without challenges. There will always be a group of people larger than another group willing to embrace a world where the republic no longer protects the individual. We must stand ready today and tomorrow and remember that the Fourth of July is a celebration of an idea that we can be different, that we can be better, that we can have the freedom and that freedom can be found in the strong protections offered by the Republic.
As you prepare for the celebrations and the Fourth of July holiday, take a moment to reflect on what you have in this Republic. Be thankful for the changes that have come about to protect your rights and freedoms, study the history of when that Republic has been challenged. Know that no group, no matter how large, can take away your individual protections under the Republic. If you stop and take a moment to look at the Republic of the United States in that way, you may just find that what Wayne said back in 1960 on the silver screen is just as accurate today as it was then. "Some words give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words."