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— I was asked to give a short speech on behalf of the Benton County Tea Party at the Old Time camp meeting held recently in Bella Vista.

In this column I try to share with you the best thing that I wrote during the week. This week, I suppose this speech was it. What follows is an excerpt from the speech.

It is great to be among those who love God and country. Really, if you think about it, loving your country is the logical extension of loving your neighbor, for what is the country but all of us neighbors together? And the practical way for love of country to be manifested is to show concern for the integrity of its government.

You cannot love the country while remaining indifferent to its government, just as you cannot love a brother or sister in need while you remain indifferent to their affairs.

So, if we love our neighbor, and even our own children, then it follows we will have love of country. Now an important distinction must be made here. It is possible, even typical, to have a strong love of country while maintaining a deep suspicion and even disapproval, of the actions of its government. The reason is simple. The government is not the country - we are. We do not exist in order to fund its programs.

We do not exist to glorify its officials. Rather, they exist to protect the God-given rights of We the People. At least, that is the way it was intended.

When fallen men are in charge of government, it tends to go corrupt over time. Fallen men left in office unchecked produce fallen government. Fallen government does the exact opposite of what government was ordained by God to do. Instead of protecting the rights of the people, the corrupted government becomes the biggest violator of those rights. Instead of protecting the weak from plunderers, the government itself seeks out the most defenseless among us and leads in the plundering. All such plundering is evil, but the most cowardly form of this evil is the use of debt to pay for their outlandish promises. This plunders the most defenseless of all, the unborn and children who will be stuck with the tab, but who cannot vote to defend themselves.

Today, we have fallen government.

For too long we have entrusted to organizations whose headquarters are in a distant capitol the sacred jobof protecting our liberties.

To a large extent, the plunderers actually have better access to the levers of influence in these organizations that we do. It is time to learn the lesson. If we trust some organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., to protect our liberties, we will lose them, and deservedly so. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and this mission to preserve liberty is one American job that cannot be outsourced.

The Benton County Tea Party does not answer to anybody in Washington, D.C., or even in Little Rock.

We answer to our neighbors. We work together with groups in the other counties as a band of brothers, not a sub-unit of a larger group headquartered in a distant capitol. While we answer to the grassroots, we demand answers from those who have abused the public trust and violated their oaths of office. Right now, I believe that the Tea Party movement is the best vehicle we have to restore the government of this country to its proper role: To make them once again the protector of our rights rather than the biggest threat to them.

Opinion, Pages 4 on 09/16/2009

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