Charlie Hebdo

Welcome back America. I say that with a certain amount of humility as we look inside who we are and we are Americans. Uniquely defined by our heritage and those who have gone before us. Uniquely identified by what we believe. Uniquely identifiable by the message of hope and freedom we spread throughout the world.

America, the United States, grew out of a vision that is richly documented in a time when our masters forbade us to practice that unalienable right to speak freely of what we thought. The penalties were severe. Ridicule of the King was forbidden. But we had great Americans who wrote great documents to counter every abuse by the crown and not once did any of our founding fathers censor another man or woman. Not once did we declare off limits the satirical characterization of one of our national heroes or religious figures. Not once did we declare freedom of speech off limits.

The Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. They did not always agree, but they put to paper their closely held beliefs in how we should be organized as a Republican form of Government. Their work was instrumental in our definition of freedom and democracy. James Madison went on to write the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. Open discourse and disagreement was the watchword of the day as our nation was formed. From Debates to Duels we worked out our differences and formed a nation that would emerge as a beacon of hope to many nations of the world. Our form of government has lifted all boats around the world. We have lifted more of our brethren from the depths of economic despair than any other nation on earth. We have brought democracy to more people than could have ever been imagined by Thomas Jefferson when he said that as a nation, we will not pay tribute or sign treaties in order to negotiate for the safe return of our citizens or our property. We have brought about more freedoms, starting with freedom of speech to more people around the globe than any other nation, starting with our inspiration of the French Revolution to the purple tipped fingers of virtually every Iraqi adult at the conclusion of that war. It was far more that James Madison or George Mason could have every imagined.

Every day, every week, every year the world is threatened in incremental steps by those who see themselves qualified to dominate a city, province, nation or the world. Now we have a new player who has a great plan that might just work. It has the hallmarks and vision to go a long way if left unchecked as it is now.

Radical Islam has struck again; this time in Paris, the home of the French Revolution and our ally during the American Revolution.   And the pain is intense, but more pain will be felt by Radical Islam in the wake of the global backlash. Egypt is not the only Arab nation to condemn their actions and the condemnation from within the Arab countries who see a glimmer of hope and freedom for all of their people is the best hope we have for defeating the ideas and ideals of Radical Islam.

We are not alone in the world. Sometimes it seems that way, but we are not alone. When Charlie Hebdo was attacked in Paris, the world stood in solidarity. We are not alone, and the world grew stronger in the light of the freedom of speech while mourning the loss of those who stood on the front lines of our very right to speak our minds, wherever that speech leads.

With or without leadership from the United States where it is badly needed, the nations of the world grew stronger as a result of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. With or without leadership or vision from this administration, the world will defeat Radical Islam because freedom is vastly more powerful than the absence of free though, free expression or the freedom to practice one’s faith in public or in private at any time or any place. We stand with Charlie Hebdo as one in solidarity. We do not fear Radical Islam, we do not quake in our boots, we do not cower in our corner, we do not hide nor shirk our responsibility to speak freely against those who rise up against our way of life and our freedoms of expression, assembly and religion. My only concern, our only concern is that freedom of expression remain the First Amendment among Ten, in a document that defines liberty and gives us not this one singular requirement with regard to Radical Islam, but ten.   We shall not shrink or fail to rise in steadfast determination to stare down any other form of Government that seeks to diminish the values which uniquely defines us as American. And whether you agree with me or not and whether I agree with you or not is not my concern as long as we are allowed to disagree openly and without fear of reprisal.   We are Charlie Hebdo. I am Charlie Hebdo.

We will see you here again tomorrow. Thank you for listening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *