Barack Obama gave what may be his last major speech as president Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention. Most of the message was a sunny reminder of how great America currently is, and even some conservatives praised what he had to say. But one passage stood out in particular for its expression of basic American values that too often Obama has worked against:
We are not a fragile people, we’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that we the people can form a more perfect union. That’s who we are. That’s our birthright, the capacity to shape our own destiny.
These words aren’t ones I can argue with, beyond pointing out that he probably meant “frightened,” not “frightful.” And there are important aspects that all politicians should be reminded of—on a daily basis, in many cases.
Start with “we don’t look to be ruled.” This goes back to our demand that we have no taxation without representation. We accept the rule of law because we have a say in the law and because the law is limited by the boundaries placed upon it by rights.
As Obama acknowledged, we said in no uncertain terms that we’d rather fight for liberty than accept peaceful submission. The concept of inherent rights is passé with the tragically cool these days, but our founders regarded that idea as self-evident, something that cannot be challenged by any thinking person.
These words ring hollow, though, coming from someone who has, in the best interpretation of his record, done nothing to restore the protection and exercise of the rights he praised in a speech summing up his record and asking us to preserve his legacy.
One obvious category here is his opposition to gun rights. Never a friend to gun owners, he has said that one key frustration of his presidency has been his inability to get what he calls “common sense gun safety laws” passed.
But it’s not just the Second Amendment in which Obama has fallen short of his own words. Under his administration, the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment has been under sustained attack. In fairness, this right was assaulted by Obama’s predecessor, but I’d expect someone who speaks the beautiful words from Wednesday night to follow a policy better than letting Bush define one’s own approaches to looking into the personal communication of Americans.
The words of Obama’s speech are a part of our American character. And it’s up to us to drive home the message to every politician that indeed we aren’t fragile or frightened. We won’t hand over our rights precisely because it’s our natural possession to shape our own destiny. If that destiny is a worthy one, it will be grounded in our defense of basic rights.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.