The American Creed—-Our Duties

Views From The Bench

November 8, 2014

The American Creed was written by William Tyler Page, Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, in 1917 in response to a national contest to develop a clear, yet concise, statement of the American tradition and ideals. The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives accepted the Creed for the United States in April 1918. The Creed is said to be a summary of the fundamental principles of American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions, and its greatest leaders. The wording of the Creed included passages and phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, the United States Oath of Allegiance, and other speeches and writings of our founding fathers. The Creed encapsulates, in the words of great Americans of the past, the things for which America stands and our rights, privileges, and duties as American citizens.

Please read The American Creed slowly and carefully, with special attention to each word and phrase. As you read, ask yourself whether our government leaders and officials at all levels of the government and we, ourselves, are abiding by the principles so adeptly described therein.

“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.”

If we love our country, treasure its values, praise its greatness, preserve our cultural heritage, support and contribute to its resources, and appreciate the freedoms of our democracy—–

Why do we criticize it, apologize for it, demean it, demonstrate against it, and expect everything from it?

If we support its Constitution, abide by it, appreciate our basic rights provided within it, and respect the rights granted to others under it—–

Why do we circumvent it, oppose the rights given to others by it, abdicate our responsibilities under it, and usurp powers unto ourselves not provided by it?

If we obey its laws and promote the rule of law and apply the law equally to all—– If we respect the law as enacted and promote changes to it that reflect good governance and insure the safety and security of our citizens under law—–

Why do we selectively comply with and enforce it as though it is meant for others? Why do we violate the law with impunity, castigate our law enforcement officers and obstruct its enforcement? Why do we subjugate the law’s effectiveness to prevailing attitudes of political correctness and ideology? Why do we promote changes to the law based upon political opportunism and unequal favor to given constituencies rather than for the good of all?

If we respect our flag, salute it, praise its glory, fly it proudly, and embrace its symbolic significance—–

Why do we disrespect it, desecrate or burn it, vilify its patriotic adherents, refuse to fly it, and devalue and demean its historic symbolism and those who sacrificed their all in protecting it?

If we defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic, protect our citizens from harm’s way, support our military and law enforcement officers, secure our borders, and preserve our national security and defense interests—–

Why do we embrace and appease our enemies and excuse their transgressions? Why do we open our communities to inherently dangerous threats and hinder those assigned to protect us? Why do we endanger our national security and defense interests?

President Ronald Reagan, speaking at a Veteran’s Day celebration at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1985, said it best:

“Peace fails when we forget what we stand for. It fails when we forget that our republic is based on firm principles, that with them we are the last best hope of man.”

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