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Chuck Baldwin
Jan. 4, 2006

Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was one of America's greatest Founding Fathers. In fact, he was the most famous orator of the American Revolution. He was admitted to the bar in 1760, served as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Virginia Patriotic Convention, the First Continental Congress, the Virginia Legislature, and the Virginia Ratification Convention, and was Virginia's first Governor.

Patrick Henry's fiery speech delivered on March 23, 1775 in St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia was the catalyst for the heroic stand taken by American patriots at Lexington and Concord, where America's fight for independence began. Perhaps no man was more influential in sounding the clarion call for freedom than Patrick Henry.

In his famous speech, Henry shouted, "What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Compare the spirit of Patrick Henry with the spirit of modern day conservatives. What do we hear from them? What is their clarion call?

The battle-cry (or should I say, surrender-cry) of the modern day conservative is, "Give me security, anything but death!" Yes, it seems that to most conservatives today, life and peace are willingly purchased with the price of chains and slavery! Just look at how eager and willing they are to accept abridgements and usurpations of our constitutional liberties.

All over America, conservatives, including Christian conservatives, defend President Bush's decisions to abuse the power of his office and ignore the rule of law by spying on Americans without warrants and ignoring the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and procedures of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). They defend him as he unabashedly calls for greater power and promises to continue to ignore basic liberties. Such conduct is both unconscionable and unforgivable!

That America is "at war" is no excuse for President Bush (or any president) to violate his oath of office and trample the rights and freedoms of the American people! And anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't understand the first thing about America!

Since when did conservatives forget their history and heritage? When did they decide that security was more valuable than liberty? When did they lose their love for freedom and loyalty to our Constitution? When? When George W. Bush became president. That's when.

Ever since Bush was elected, conservatives have been capitulating and compromising basic American values to the point that they have become slaves! Yes, slaves. Slaves to the Republican Party! Slaves to George W. Bush! Slaves to security! Slaves to their own ambitions and comforts!

America has always stood for liberty! All nations promise security, but America has only promised freedom. A bird in a cage is secure, but it is not free. George W. Bush wants to put America in a cage. And, unfortunately, most conservatives seem fine with that.

Shame on us! Shame on us conservatives! We sully the memories and stain the honor of our forebears!

Listen again to the words of America's founders. Hear again their cries for freedom. Hear George Washington when he said, "The thing that separates the American Christian from every other person on earth is the fact that he would rather die on his feet than live on his knees."

Hear Samuel Adams when he declared, "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Listen to Benjamin Franklin when he said, "They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Hear Patrick Henry one more time, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

There is more to life than living! There is more to being an American than being secure! Patrick Henry understood that.

Chuck Baldwin

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