Your Mission: Fix This Country
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
When more than 10,000 ardent Second Amendment defenders gathered
at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., for the
Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience during the 2010
NRA Annual Meetings, they did so just five days shy of the 235th
anniversary of an event with both local and national significance-a
historical coincidence not lost on one of the evening`s headline
Prior to serving 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives,
culminating with his stint as Speaker of the House from 1995 to
1999, Newt Gingrich was a college history professor. It should come
as no surprise, then, that when delivering his frank discussion on
individual liberty, campaign finance reform and Second Amendment
rights at the Annual Meetings gala event, he couched his monologue
in historical terms.
"I believe it is time we had a total, clear, unequivocal
argument about who we are as a people, and what our government is,
and what the basis of it is," Gingrich told the audience.
"I want to preface my explanation of the Second Amendment by
saying it is not in defense of hunting. It is not in defense of
target shooting. It is not in defense of collecting. The Second
Amendment is in defense of freedom from the state."
With that, Gingrich once again assumed the role of history
professor, albeit one with a lesson not likely to be taught by the
academic elites. Gingrich described to the cheering NRA members the
role Charlotte and the surrounding Mecklenburg County area played
in the establishment of freedoms we hold dear as Americans.
Two hundred thirty-four years and 361 days prior to the
Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience, local citizens
signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Regarded by
some historians as the first declaration of its kind made in the 13
colonies, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Inde-pendence was signed
on May 20, 1774--more than a year prior to the signing of the U.S.
Declaration of Independence.
Gingrich recounted the events leading to this historic
"The colonies had for five years been in a tremendous struggle
with the imperial government from the imperial capital," Gingrich
said. "The imperial government had ruthless and arrogant judges who
continued to infuriate Americans. The imperial government believed
it could tax people even if they didn`t want to be taxed. They
believed they could pass regulations even if the people hated the
regulations. They believed they could impose their will upon the
people, and that the center of power was the king, not the people.
And so the Americans, increasingly unhappy over this five-year
period, had their tension grow."
The parallel between British Colonial rule in early America and
the modern political landscape was lost on no one in attendance as
Gingrich continued his lesson on the birth of American liberty.
"The imperial government, however, was used to crushing
rebellions. It had crushed a rebellion in Scotland, it had crushed
a rebellion in Ireland, and it had crushed a rebellion in rural
England. So it decided that they would once again teach a lesson to
those people who thought they could be independent of the
government--people who believed they could stand in their own
rights as citizens."
Gingrich recounted how the British, seeking to quell the
increasingly rebellious sentiment among the colonists, dispatched
soldiers to rural Massachusetts in April 1775. When the soldiers
arrived, they were shocked by what awaited them.
"They didn`t encounter rabble, they didn`t encounter unarmed
peasants and they didn`t encounter people who are frightened,"
Gingrich said. "They encountered trained militia who had organized
themselves over the entire previous year, gathered up weapons and
ammunition, and were prepared to fight the British army toe to toe,
and in fact drove them back into Boston with substantial
"That was called the shot that was heard around the world and it
was heard here, in Mecklenburg County," Gingrich told the cheering
The people of Mecklenburg County, N.C., soon decided to send a
message to London with the Mecklenburg County Declaration of
Independence. A year and six weeks later, the rest of the colonies
followed suit with the signing of the United States Declaration of
Independence in Philadelphia.
"The heart of the American experience that no modern liberal
academic wants to teach, and no modern, liberal news media wants to
cover is a political document," Gingrich said. "This political
document is our Declaration of Independence. It says we are endowed
by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. We are the only
nation in the world that says power comes from God to each one of
you, and you are personally sovereign, and you loan power to the
"The state is not the center of the power," Gingrich said, as
the crowd sat on the verge of another thunderous round of applause.
"The citizen is the center of power."
Gingrich went on to explain why "secular socialists," as he
terms them, despise and seek to undermine the First and Second
Amendments to the Constitution.
"The First Amendment has two provisions that drive them crazy:
The first says that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of
speech. Of course, from McCain-Feingold to all the various campaign
laws, to the most recent effort by Chuck Schumer, these are all
just efforts at protecting incumbents.
"The Founding Fathers had a simple model," Gingrich said.
"Citizens ought to have the freedom to say what they want to say,
when they want to say it, and if it makes politicians
uncomfortable, let them quit elected office.
"The second thing that the left hates about the First
Amendment," Gingrich continued, "is its statement 'Congress shall
make no law respecting the establishment of religion.` Remember,
when the Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment, they said our
rights come from our Creator.
"That limitation to government inherent in the model of
God-given rights makes it very hard to be a true socialist. It
means that instead of the state being in charge, and instead of
politicians, to take a recent case, deciding how much you should be
able to earn based on whether or not the politician likes your
particular company or your industry or your personality, in fact,
it is none of the politician`s business because you have the
God-given right to pursue happiness with no exception for when
Obama is unhappy."
From there, Gingrich explained the wisdom of the Founding
Fathers in making a provision for the citizenry to protect not only
its First Amendment freedoms, but all other freedoms enumerated
within the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
"The Founding Fathers were very wise and experienced people," he
said. "They understood the danger of tyranny. So they said to
themselves, 'Well, if we are going to tell you in writing that you
have the right to free speech, and we are going to tell you in
writing that you have the right to religion, how are we going to
give you, the people, power to enforce that?` They said you, as a
citizen, have the Right to Bear Arms. And the government has no
business trying to stop you, as a legal and law-abiding citizen,
from being able to protect yourself."
Calling not only on his knowledge of history but also the
rhetorical skill he honed during two decades of service as a
representative of the people, Gingrich laid waste to the modern
notion that the Second Amendment is not an individual right--that
it is an anachronism, relevant only to an age of musket-carrying
Colonial militia men. Gingrich pointed out that the Founding
Fathers knew well and good the rights they ascribed to individual
Americans within the Second Amendment.
"Anybody who`s going to be historically honest has to admit the
people we are describing understood the Right to Bear Arms, because
they routinely carried arms. These were tough people in a tough
time in a tough country doing tough things. The idea that they
would allow some D.C. city government or some Washington federal
bureaucrat to get between them and their constitutional rights,
they would`ve said, in Jefferson`s terms, was a legitimate
justification for a political revolution in every generation."
The former Speaker of the House and architect of the "Contract
with America" concluded with a call to action--not only for the
11,754 gathered at the Celebration of American Values Freedom
Experience, not only for the 72,218 who convened in Charlotte for
the 2010 Annual Meetings, but for every American who holds freedom,
liberty and traditional values dear.
"I have a simple message for each and every one of you: Your
mission is to reach out to the vast majority of Americans of all
backgrounds, of every race, of every ethnicity, who believe in
freedom and love liberty and who think they ought to be able to
keep the money they earn without a politician taking it from
them--those who are sick and tired of the corruption in
"Your mission is to organize them at every level, from city
council and school board, to county commissioner or the state
legislature, to the U.S. Congress and ultimately, given more years,
the presidency, and simply, concisely, beat all of them and fix
this country and get it back on track to save America. That is our