By Lt. Col. John Ragan, USAF ret, USAFA ’71
Currently a State Representative to the Tennessee House of Representatives
STARRS Board of Advisors
Philosopher George Santayana famously opined in 1905: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Therefore, we must remember! We must remember duty. We must remember courage. We must remember ideals and values.
We must remember those whose names are engraved on courthouse monuments and gravestones scattered across our country.
We must remember they willingly laid their lives on the altar of liberty on our behalf. These brave individuals swore before God to protect and defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Remember… they readily shouldered the burdens of this oath demanding service to others before self even at the ultimate price. They left the comforts of family, friends and home to go into harm’s way on behalf of their fellow citizens. The hardships of training, the ache of loneliness in foreign lands and the horrors of combat were costs they voluntarily accepted because they felt it was their duty.
Now, it is time for us to also remember our duty. As Ronald Reagan famously observed, “freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.” Therefore, if our liberties are to survive, we, and all of our fellow citizens, must courageously stand by some critical principles.
The impacts of great evils are never resolved by dogmatically condemning some collective error of the past.
Furthermore, the correction for these impacts is not a morally vacuous promise to some group or the other of extra rights or reparations. Rather it is the courage to recognize an individual human is capable of giving a great contribution to the progress of all humanity.
Acknowledging the divine spark in every free individual gives them the courage to overcome onerous obstacles and achieve great things.
We must also recognize that courage comes in many forms and is seldom as Hollywood usually shows it. Hollywood most often seems to think that courage is the absence of fear. In reality, without fear, courage has no meaning.
In stark contrast to the Hollywood variety, it is real courage we must remember. The courage we must remember is the motivation to step up with the full knowledge of potential consequences. Without that kind of moral and physical courage our republic is doomed.
Therefore, it is for us to be dedicated to the great task of continuing to protect our Constitution and our American ideals from foreign enemies as did the heroes we remember.
However, equally, or, perhaps, more important, is also protecting it from domestic enemies.
I put those in this category those who vow, against the will of the people, to fundamentally transform our nation and its values.
These misguided souls demand we surrender the freedom speech enshrined in our Constitution because a politically incorrect word upsets a member of some perpetually offended group.
These same charlatans try to force us to abandon our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion to mandatorily celebrate what our faith calls abominations.
Likewise, they would take our rights to decide what is best for our children, whether it is something as important as medical care and moral instruction or as trivial as personal pronouns.
Indeed, some have called these unholy infringements on our constitutional rights and liberties part of a culture war.
In agreement, even, those, I call domestic enemies, have publicly and brazenly proclaimed the same situation as a “battle for the soul of America.”
I identified these culture antagonists as brazen, because they unashamedly, publicly publish and boldly declare what they intend to do.
Read some of the 45 communist goals read into the Congressional Record as a warning to Americans over 60 years ago:
Congressional Record–Appendix, pp. A34-A35
January 10, 1963
EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, January 10, 1963
• Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
• Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
• Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
• Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
• Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
• Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
• Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
• Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.” (Drag shows, pornographic children’s books in school libraries, etc.)
• Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
• Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
• Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
• Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.” (1619 Project, clamor for removing statues/monuments and renaming college buildings because some founders owned slaves, etc.)
• Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over. (1619 Project, “cultural appropriation,” claims the land was stolen from American Indians, etc.)
• Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI. (Hunter Biden laptop, Russia Collusion Hoax, etc.)
• Infiltrate and gain control of big business. (Target, Anheuser-Busch, etc.)
• Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat]. (gender dysphoria, etc.)
• Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals. (rewrites of the DSM, gender dysphoria, etc.)
• Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce. (Over a 30% “single parent” family rate with some demographics over 70%, etc.)
• Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents. (School districts keeping child claims of gender dysphoria secret from parents, etc.)
• Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use [“]united force[“] to solve economic, political or social problems. (BLM, ANIFA, etc.)
We must win this culture war, but we cannot do so as spectators. Rather, we must actively engage in the “battle for the soul of America” and keep foremost in our minds President Andrew Jackson’s warning that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
In closing, I exhort us to remember, well, our fellow citizens’ courageous and bloody battlefield sacrifices against foreign enemies.
However, I even more ardently call for us to remember the American ideals that these heroes gave their all to save.
Therefore, in the currently raging battle for America’s soul, let us boldly engage the enemies of constitutional liberty with similar moral courage.
Let us also make sure to also remember the admonition of our second president, John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
A member of the STARRS Board of Advisors, the Honorable John D. Ragan, Lt Colonel USAF (Ret.) is a 1971 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in engineering science and served 24 years as an Air Force fighter pilot. He earned a master’s degree in Aeronautical Sciences from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Ragan amassed more than 4,000 jet hours and flight time in two combat theaters during his 24 years in the service. His Air Force duties included wartime command and also experience in managing civil engineering operations, logistics, communications and police organizations. In 2010, he was elected as a State Representative from Oakridge to the Tennessee House of Representatives, where he continues to serve.