American Values

I was reading the letters to the editor in the Nashua Telegraph and I came across one attacking Jennifer Horn for a letter she wrote.  The letter itself shows hypocrisy of both sides by criticizing Jennifer for calling out Obama and Democrats for their version of free speech zones then turns around and attacks Bush for doing the same thing they just said Jennifer was wrong for attacking.  But that's not what really caught my eye.  It was how the letter concluded that I found interesting.  You can read the letter in full HERE, but here is the excerpt that caught my eye.

Please support President Barack Obama. Please support real reform. Please support real American values and freedoms.

What are "real American values and freedoms"?

The "freedom" part is fairly easy to define as our freedoms are clearly defined by the Bill of Rights.  Freedoms like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to address the government of our grievances, the right to bear arms and so on.

What then are American values?  To answer this I'd have to look back at the words of our founding fathers.  Benjamin Franklin was asked after the Constitution Convention concluded in 1787 what have they given us, to which his answer was "A Republic if you can keep it."

So what is a "Republic"?  Here's what is written about it on

Today, the terms republic and democracy are virtually interchangeable, but historically the two differed. Democracy implied direct rule by the people, all of whom were equal, whereas republic implied a system of government in which the will of the people was mediated by representatives, who might be wiser and better educated than the average person. In the early American republic, for example, the requirement that voters own property and the establishment of institutions such as the Electoral College were intended to cushion the government from the direct expression of the popular will.

So the idea was to prevent the majority of people from being able to will the government into doing whatever they wanted and granting them whatever they wanted.  It is for this precise reason that the founders drafted the Constitution the way they did limiting the Government's powers to a list detailed within Article I Section 8.

Looking at the words of the founders themselves this becomes even more apparent.

An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation. - John Marshall

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." - Patrick Henry

"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." - Thomas Paine

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.  Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address.

It's clear by their statements and writings that the founders of this country had values which supported a limited government.  They did not want us to entrust the government with our lives and our well beings.

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. -Thomas Jefferson

Nothing I've read from the founders of this country support the ideals being pushed forth by our current leadership so I would seriously question if they themselves knew what "American values" actually are.