I am proud to be an American.
I am proud to be an American and to live at this time in history. I am a student of American history. My wife of 35 years, Tanya, and I have traveled all over the country and the world. We enjoy visiting historical sites. I especially enjoy studying the United States revolution, the Civil War, and both of our World Wars.
I have visited Lexington and Concord, stood over the USS Arizona in Honolulu and 30 meters under where the atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, walked the beach at Normandy, France and Flanders Field in Belgium, toured the Berlin Wall in Germany, and visited Gettysburg and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City as well as countless other historical sites.
I am in awe of all the American lives that have been lost or changed over the centuries that have lead us to where we are as a country today. I am grateful to every individual who has risked his or her life for the sake of our nation, many of whom paid the ultimate price of giving their lives, and those who continue to risk their lives for our nation today.
We live in a great country. This is why others seek to move here. There have been countries in the past that have had to build walls to keep people in. We build walls to keep people out.
We must be proud to be Americans, but remain humble.
Seeking to see the world objectively.
I lived 60 years of my life as an independent and purposely chose to not be a party member. This didn’t make me any better or any worse than anyone else, but it was an effort by me to try to not get politically fixed into any party’s positions and to try to remain objective regarding leadership regardless of the party.
When I decided to run for President in New Hampshire I chose to be a member of a party to get on the primary ballot. Seeing the world conservatively, my views are more in line with the Republican party. Therefore, I chose to become a Republican. My wife has been a Republican since she was eighteen.
It is my desire to bring back a unified nation. How do we accomplish this? It has to come from respect for those in leadership positions. It starts with politicians who truly discharge their office duties in an honorable manner and are working out of respect and honor.
We need to remember we are one nation.
I think we as a nation have lost sight of this. I created this website “Seeking One Nation under God,” to focus on what our country has had at times in the past, but we seem to have wandered from today.
As children we memorized and recited daily the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge of Allegiance, in its current form, was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy. According to Wikipedia, Mr. Bellamy is believed to have said “At the beginning of the nineties patriotism and national feeling was at a low ebb. The patriotic ardor of the Civil War was an old story...The time was ripe for a reawakening of simple Americanism. The leaders in the new movement rightly felt that patriotic education should begin in the public schools.”
The first version of our Pledge of Allegiance was short and sweet, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The phrase “of the United States” was added in 1924 and “of America” was added in 1954.
A flag in every classroom.
Also in 1892 there was a push by a James Upham to get a flag in every schoolhouse. Flags were sold to schools at cost and 25,000 schools acquired flags in the first year of 1892 to 1893. It was the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas. President Benjamin Harrison declared October 12, 1892 to be Columbus Day.
The pledge was put in the official Columbus Day program and has become a staple of our country ever since.
Children all over our great nation have stood, faced the American flag with their hands over their hearts, and begun each day of school reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Becoming one nation “under God.”
In 1954 President Eisenhower, recently baptized, supported adding these two words into our Pledge of Allegiance. On February 8, 1954, Rep. Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to that effect. A Joint Resolution of Congress was passed amending Section 4 of the Flag Code and Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.
Eisenhower said, “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”
Over the years there have been many challenges to these words and they have remained despite efforts by some to have them removed.
They were challenged in New Hampshire. On November 12, 2010, in a unanimous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston affirmed a ruling by a New Hampshire lower federal court which found that the pledge's reference to God does not violate non-pledging students' rights if student participation in the pledge is voluntary. A United States Supreme Court appeal of this decision was denied on June 13, 2011.
What does "under God" mean?
I believe in the Bible. My parents were missionaries in Nigeria when I was born. They moved back to the United States when I was one year old. I was raised in a Christian home by Christian parents. My wife and I raised our children in a Christian home.
I believe God created this country and He has blessed our nation over the years. I believe He does not change, but we do. I am a Christian and in my life I do my best to follow biblical principles.
I fumble regularly, but not because I don't try. I am not better or worse than you are, your life is as important as mine. But my faith foundation comes from biblical principles. There is a true north in my life.
I share this openly and without apologizing so you know how important the words "under God" are to me.
It is important to understand that I am not judging you for who you are. You may not beleive in what I do, but you should know I believe in what I do. Given enough time together, we would find there are beliefs you have that I don't. That is alright, we can be respectful of each other's beliefs.
My job as a leader is to meet the needs of those I lead and balancing them with the best interest of the organization independent of how each person I lead sees the world.
How do these words apply to my seeking the Presidency?
All this being said, as I run for the Presidential nomination in the State of New Hampshire, I would like to see our country get back to being both “one nation” and a nation “under God.”
Today we live in the most powerful country in the world. This has been said by many nations over the years. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Romans, Great Britain, as well as many other countries all thought they would rule the world forever. We have developed the same attitude. History shows our role as world power will be for a season.
Unfortunately our country doesn’t seem to come together unless we are attacked. It takes a Pearl Harbor or a 9/11 for us unify as one. It takes an outside threat to unite us. We live in time where we don’t feel threatened externally as a nation.
I don’t wish for an attack on our country, but we have got to do something about the polarization we are experiencing today.
Our country was built on freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. We have provided accountability to our country by having two major parties and giving choices to citizens as to who they desire to be President. This is a good system, but today it has been taken to an extreme.
Leadership is difficult.
Leading any organization is difficult. The leader, to be effective, must make decisions that some of the followers disagree with. Every leader makes bad decisions from time to time. These decisions are not necessarily done intentionally, but because a decision must be made with the circumstances presented. Later everyone else is able to play “Monday morning quarterback” asking why did he or she took such actions.
It is impossible to make 100 right decisions in a row. A leader should be praised when a decision turns out correct and it is alright to point out decisions that turn out poor. Just understand that whether it is a surgeon making an impromptu decision in surgery, an attorney making an immediate strategy decision in open court, or a sports coach putting in the wrong player, you need to look at the circumstances under which the poor decision was made and recognize no leader is perfect.
I have made many leadership decisions and most of them have turned out well. I have also made decisions that did not turn out well. There are no leaders today in either party or leading any sizable organization who have not fumbled from time to time.
In our country, if a person does not lead well and does not adequately serve those he or she leads, their accountability is ultimately to those who elected him or her. They can be replaced by voting citizens.
Every decision by a party becomes a bad decision retroactively to the other party.
It is one thing when your party tells you how to vote and each significant vote is along party lines. It is another thing when everything you do is based upon how to wrestle power from the other party.
A parties' focus becomes how do we maintain or regain power. This can become the highest priority for a party day after day, year after year. I understand this is part of politics, but somewhere in the focus a government needs to stop fighting itself and focus on meeting the needs of those they are serving.
It is like everything each party does is wrong. This is not determined in advance, but retroactively.
Leaders must make decisions that are unpopular. If a leader in one party decides to go right the other party says they should have gone left. If they go left the other party says they should have gone right.
I sometimes wish the "naysayers" would commit to the decision they think is best for our country and write it down before the other party makes their decision and then praise the other party if they make the decision previously committed to by the other party.
This is what bothers me. It is a relational issue. The parties are looking for things to fight about.
Let’s fight hard, get our issues resolved, and then respectfully get back to business.
Government exists to provide order and benefits to a people. In our case in America, it is to provide order and benefits to over 325 million citizens.
We all have limited resources. This includes our time and our financial resources. I think our country today is spending too much time on efforts attacking each other rather than focusing on issues to advance our country nationally.
I have practiced law for over 37 years and I have litigated countless cases, often several times in the same week. As an advocate for my client I prepare well, I step into the court arena and I argue my position the best that I can. On the other side there is at least one attorney who does not want what I want and he or she argues his or her client's position. We fight like crazy, but we respect one another in the process.
The judge, whose role is to administer justice, makes a decision. We leave the Courtroom sometimes happy and sometimes sad and then we move on to the next case.
Our war with one another is respectful. Whether we like the outcome or hate it, we move on. It is a necessary process. It is civil process, one we seek to not take personally.
Retaliation leads to retaliation.
I don’t have a corner on the market on wisdom, but I do approach leadership differently than what I am observe our leadership is doing on a national level.
Each of us, even in our daily lives, need to defend inaccuracies stated about us, but we don’t need to live a life of “attack, attack, attack."
Understand, I am not endorsing the leadership of either party against the other.
I am disappointed in the leadership of both parties. I have watched as both have participated in repeated attacks. You can make your determination on this (and you have probably already done so).
Retaliation leads to retaliation. This is how we get to the level of polarization we have today.
Over 60 years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. in a sermon to his church in Montgomery, Alabama, told the story of an evening trip he took with his brother driving. His brother got annoyed because too many cars were coming at him with their bright lights on. So his brother angrily turned his brights on in retaliation. He was going to show them.
Dr. King looked at him and said “Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody’s got to have some sense on this highway...Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at the other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs.”
In our political world today we have politicians using their bright lights on purpose to offend their opponents and then their opponents turn their bright lights on in retaliation. We need to cut this out.
This is not a good place to be and it does not lead us to “one nation,” but two factions seeking to destroy one another. We are party members first and citizens of the same country second.
In Dr. King’s 1963 book “Strength to Love” he wrote “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my heroes. He was a man who was far from perfect, but we can learn a lot from his core philosophies. I am not completely naive that our country can be run on “love,” but if we can get to a level of "respect," maybe we could rise above the current atmosphere.
It is alright to disagree.
There are things you disagree with about me. That’s alright. Given enough time together we will find things that I don’t agree with you about also. In America we have the freedom to think or believe what we want. This is one of the characteristics of our nation that makes us such a great country. But let’s agree to disagree respectfully.
My job is to be the best me I can be. My job is to take the three foot circle around me and to develop and grow it the best I can with the time I have here. Disagreement is alright, but obsession with disagreement is not. We live today in a polarized nation. We are either proud of what party we belong to or we are afraid to say what party we belong to because of what others may think.
How do we unite our country?
I begin with the premise that we are one nation first. Our enemy should not be each other, but those who desire to bring harm to our country.
I think we have lost track of our being a great country first and, because we don’t have any external threat, we have decided to fight ourselves.
This is similar to a couple who has a child with a lingering life threatening health issue. Fighting the disease unites the couple together for the sake of the child, but when the child passes, they suddenly turn against one another.
Again, our enemy is not ourselves. We have a process in place that involves regular elections from the community level to the presidential level and if we elect the wrong person into office, we elect them out of office at the end of their term. That is why we have terms for elected positions.
Abraham Lincoln once said "The ballot is stronger than the bullet." I agree. It is important to me that you are both educated and that you exercise the power of your vote.
In summary, I believe in positive motivation.
I have written weekly motivational columns for 19 years, over a thousand of them. They are syndicated across the country. I have done this because I feel my purpose in the few years I have on this planet is to add value to the lives of others. If I can add value to those I come into contact with, then my life has value. In other words, the value of my life is in what I am able to do to add value to others.
If elected to serve in a leadership role, my view of the world does not change, it just takes shape differently. Ultimately, as a leader, the daily question is "How can I best meet the needs of those I serve?" and "How can I add value to your life?"