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In His Middle East Address, President Obama Must Note that Freedom is Respect for Individual Rights

JINSA Report #: 

May 18, 2011

As the Arab Spring slides into summer, with all its emerging difficulties, President Obama plans to address the region. What can he say in the middle of a process that surely will have starts and stops, forward motion and regression? How can he help in the name of the American people he represents? He speaks, after all, for us, not himself.

President Obama can remind the people and their rulers - especially their rulers - that the essence of freedom is respect for individual rights. Each person - his dignity, his property, his beliefs - is entitled to a respectful hands-off from his government and his fellow citizens. Laws have to be applied equally. Justice has to be meted out impartially. Government has to be a creation of the people.

Oh, Hell. There's no point in paraphrasing the Master. The President's speechwriters could do no better than to quote Thomas Jefferson. Not because we expect them to become Jeffersonians, but because we are Jeffersonians.

  • We the people...

  • We hold these truths...

  • When a long train of abuses...

But not only the high-minded; he should also read the Bill of Particulars presented against King George:

  • Refused his assent to laws...necessary for the public good

  • Failed to hold elections

  • Made judges dependent on his will

  • Erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass the people

  • Affected the military independent of and superior to the Civilian Power

  • Impos(ed) taxes

  • Depriv(ed) us of trial by jury

  • Establish(ed) an arbitrary government

  • (Used) foreign mercenaries

  • Set us against each other

"A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." We not only understand them; we were them. We were oppressed, we rebelled and we won.

The Founding Fathers wrote for their time and circumstance, but they believed in the universal applicability of their principles. We would like to see President Obama stand on the firm foundation they gave us - and him as our representative - and share them.

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