Monday, July 30, 2007

Inheritance

When my wife's father passed away several years ago, we came into some inheritance money. With funds split among the four surviving children, we became the beneficiaries of this man's years of hard work and wise management.

As an heir to her father's estate, my wife received a portion of property that once belonged to him. He created the wealth, and by right of succession and the devising of his will, she reaped some of the fruit of his efforts.

Like all fathers passing their plenty to their progeny, my wife's father expected each of his four children to steward their inheritance well. No parent wishes the fruits of his life's labor to be squandered away foolishly.

As 21st Century Americans, we often forget that this wonderful country of ours is also an inheritance. We benefit greatly from the brilliance and wisdom of our nation's forefathers. But our inheritance is much more than this bountiful land of plenty. Characterized by our "amber waves of grain" and our gleaming "alabaster cities," this land of plenty is merely the fruit of their difficult labor to birth a governmental system that would not only serve them, but serve the generations which would follow.

Thus we are heirs, inheritors of a nation created by their "liberating strife." They loved their country more than they loved themselves. Their passion for liberty and justice is to be emulated.

Their illustrious, ideological legacy is seen in every American born into poverty that rises to one day live in comfort through hard work and persistence. Blossoming all around us are souls who, through liberty inherited, found ways to better their lives, and the lives of others. But these are merely the fruits, the offspring of the seeds our forefathers planted long ago.

And it is those seeds above all, that we must learn to treasure. They possess far greater value than the fruits they produce.

When our nation's forefathers labored to establish a system of self-government, they planted a garden with a core set of ideas and principles. The fruit will continue to grow as long as that garden is properly tended.

In our Declaration of Independence, a document that many consider to be our nation's charter, we find the following claim:

"... all men are created equal, ... they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

What a magnificent statement of a fundamental truth! Planted and tended, this marvelous idea gave birth to a nation. Four score and seven years later, Abraham Lincoln would echo this truth, proclaiming that our nation was "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Though penned by an American, and claimed as core American ideology, the beauty of this wonderful idea, is its universality. The five words, "all men are created equal," are the great democratizer. They are the birthright of every human ever born.

But though a universal truth, it was OUR forefathers who first put it to work in a lasting and practical way. Thus we, the American people, by birthright, are the only ones who can lay rightful claim to the fruit it has produced in THIS land.

A few nations have, in various forms, implemented this idea in their own, unique way. But the founders of most nations have failed to plant this marvelous seed in their own native soil. Thus their progeny have not benefitted as have we.

Those who crash our borders without permission, claiming to have rights to the same benefits as American citizens and those who reside among us with our permission, are thus thieves. They seek to lay claim to an inheritance that their own forefathers could not provide to them. So they want ours.

The failure of their fathers to plan well does not, even under the guise of high-sounding political rhetoric, entitle them to what we have received as a gift from our own fathers. If we choose to share our plenty with others, which we certainly have done, then that is our choice. It is our plenty to share, not theirs to take.

America does not own the seed. Everyone who has ever lived enjoys the same birthright-seed of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But Americans do still hold the patent on our particular method of planting the seed and growing its fruit. Our unique formula of just the right mixture of soil and nutrients, and our special method of cultivation, is our mark of ownership on the process and its produce. We have inherited this garden from our our nation's founders, our ideological fathers. And only we have the right to harvest our garden's fruit, and the privilege of determining how both our fruit and our gardening process will be passed to our children, and if we so choose, to others outside of our American family.

1 Comments:

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Patti L said...

Wonderfully written and well said!

 

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