Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Representative Doug Ervin's Lincoln Days Speech

Representative Doug Ervin gave an outstanding speech on the philosophy of the Republican party at the Clay County Lincoln Days. The Speech was so good that I asked for a copy and he graciously sent to me and gave me permission to use it. Below you will find the entire speech, it is worth reading in its entirety. It is a reminder on why the Republican party is so great, despite the fact that we don't always get the candidates that we want.

"The Republican philosophy can be summed up and epitomized in a single word: FREEDOM."--Rep. Doug Ervin

“With malice toward none; with charity for all…”

These were the words of Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican President in his second inaugural address as the sun began to set on the carnage of the civil war.

And they reflect the founding principles of our party’s beginnings in the 1850’s by anti-slavery activists and free soilers.

They symbolize a party of principle standing for the rights of the enslaved and the disenfranchised.

The Republican Party filled a void in history, reclaiming the Jeffersonian views of federalism, limited government, free markets, and individual liberty.

Our party, along with 5 bloody years of war, brought back to life the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence and affirmed that we do indeed, “hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Let’s not forget, or allow history to brush aside:
o That it was President Lincoln who delivered The Emancipation Proclamation.

o It was the Republicans of that day who worked to pass:
o the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery;
o the 14th Amendment providing equal protection under the law;
o and the 15th Amendment giving blacks the right to vote.

o It was the Republican Party who played a leading role in the women’s suffrage movement with 26 of the 36 state legislatures that ratified the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote being Republican led legislatures.

o And without significant Republican support the 1964 Civil Rights Act would not have passed.

Yes, we believe that “ALL men are created equal”.

And we would be terribly remiss if we failed to acknowledge that it was a Republican president standing before the Brandendburg Gate, in a far off country, who demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev – tear down this wall!” ushering in the fall of the Soviet Union and bringing hope and freedom to millions.

The Republican philosophy can be summed up and epitomized in a single word: FREEDOM.

From our very beginning as a Nation, the freedom of the individual has been the hallmark of the “American Experiment” in self-government.

Republicans believe that the strength of our Nation depends on the strength of each individual and traditional family values.
o That the rights of each individual proceed from the Creator, not from government.

o That government authority proceeds only from the consent of the People.

o That each individual has the intrinsic right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

o That each individual has the freedom to decide his or her own religion and worldview and to acknowledge God individually and collectively within the public square.

Republicans believe that individual respect for our laws guarantees the rights of each individual.
o That where there is no law there is no freedom.

o That no person is above the law regardless of social status, wealth, or station in life.

o That free men are not equal, and equal men are not free.

Republicans believe that government operates best when it operates least, and it is most effective when it is close to the people.
o That government should be limited in its role in accordance to the 10th Amendment and the powers enumerated in the federal and state constitutions.

o That government, like our families, should live within its means and be responsible stewards of taxpayers’ money.
You know I can’t mention taxes without telling you what I read last week.

Warren Buffet said, “We paid the IRS tax of $1.2 billion on our PetroChina gain. This sum paid all of all costs of the US government defense, social security, you name it – for about 4 hours.”

I can’t help but remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you’ve got.

o That nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as they spend their own.

o That government should not take from one to give to another without the consent of both.

o That the individual’s rights in property and free enterprise should not be infringed.

o And I think even Warren Buffet would agree with Will Rogers that we should be glad that we are not getting all of the government that we are paying for.

We believe in peace through strength.
o That a strong national defense is paramount to our ability to live free.

o That the Constitution of the United States, its Bill of Rights, and all of the laws of the land could not be protected without the 2nd Amendment.

o That the men and women serving in our armed forces are heroes deserving our support, respect, and our prayers.

o That - as Reagan would say, “No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

o That freedom isn’t free; it is bought with blood and washed with tears.

Remember the old adage: “If you don’t stand for something – you’ll fall for anything.”

What we believe today will set the course of where we will go tomorrow.

The freedom we have to make our own choices and to live our own lives relatively free from government interference has made our great Nation a beacon of hope around the world.

Our party’s dedication to a limited and Constitutional role for government, a strong national defense, the protection of individual and property rights, and the preservation of traditional family values stands alone in America today.

Our party’s heritage is one of freedom – the belief in freedom – understanding the full measure of what people can accomplish when given the chance.

That bondage and servitude have no place in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Reagan noted in his Farewell Address:
Once you begin a great movement, there's no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

Our party has much to be proud of, but our work is not over.

The great tide of liberalism and socialism ebbs and flows upon the shores of America, its ability to soak into the fabric of our great Nation depends, as Benjamin Rush stated, upon “every citizen of a republic . . . . to watch for the State as if its liberties depended upon his vigilance alone.”

The only people standing between us and our liberty is us.

I began these remarks with the words of President Lincoln and I’ll close by allowing him to offer our charge:
…with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Let’s hold firmly this election season to our Republican heritage and, “Give Liberty a chance!”

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