The idea was conceived in 1923. Research began in 1924. The project was commissioned in 1925, and progress began in 1927. The project ended in 1941. It took 18 years to preserve 150 years of American history on the side of a mountain in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore was born.
When sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose the four presidents to be portrayed in the carvings, he selected Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln because of their roles in both preserving the Republic and expanding her territory. Some 400 men along side Borglum worked tirelessly for 14 years blasting and chipping away at the granite, amazingly with no fatalities. But that doesn't mean injuries did not occur, along with endless amounts of blood, sweat and tears shed for the cause.
Today, upwards to 2-million people a year flock to South Dakota to marvel at the 60-foot carvings and the majestic masterpiece of Gutzon Borglum. It is a never-ending battle to preserve this beautiful monument.
Because of our limited time on earth, we are "temporary stewards" of this great monument.
As parents, we are given temporary custody of our children by God. He is the owner, by virtue of creation, of all things, therefore, it is by His infinite grace and wisdom that we are blessed to share in this awesome responsibility. From diapers and teething, to bruises and broken limbs, to graduations and marriages, parents share an unspoken oath to "preserve, protect and defend" our children.
As Genesis 2:24 states,
"for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh,"
we realize as parents we are only "temporary stewards" of our children.
Shortly after the French threat against the North American Colonies in 1763, the Revolutionary Era of American history began. By 1772, groups were forming throughout the provinces and within two years, the first Continental Congress was formed in 1774. Seven months later, "The Shot" was heard from Lexington to London, beginning 8 years of armed conflict. Independence was declared in Philadelphia in 1776 and America's sovereignty was recognized by Britain in 1783. Four years later, "We The People" spoke our Constitution into existence, thus our government was born.
Since that time, each of our presidents have stood before the American people and have recited the last few lines of Article II, Section 1, which states,
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
It is in these words we realize all government leaders are "temporary stewards" of our country and her governing document.
But in all three cases, there is another similarity. You and I as inhabitants of this land, as parents, and as citizens of this nation, each have a choice to "preserve" our monuments, our children and our governing documents. We are not forced to do so, but, rather, we are given the ability to choose whether or not we will do so.
I find it rather distressing that of the three examples given in need of preservation, only one seems to have been given the best care throughout the years, and it, in my opinion, is the least in need of saving.
Mountain carvings and monuments can always be created...remastered...even remade. Children, on the contrary, are unique, finite beings here on this earth for a limited time. The Creator designed, formed, and delivered each one to us in His time and for His purpose. We cannot remake that. God is perfect and His creation is perfect. It is we who have tainted perfection.
Likewise, governing documents that are able to withstand the tests of time and hold true to the founding principles on which they were created are rare, and, in fact, no nation in the history of civilization has ever been governed by one document for as long as the United States has existed under our Constitution. This lone document, written more by the blood of great patriots and principled men than by ink and quill, has proven to be steadfast and true, time and time again. Only the people can render it otherwise.
It is because of this truth I find it rather un-American when I hear our president, Barack Obama, say it is time to begin "remaking America." By what authority does he find his role to be that of "creator?" On what grounds, and for what reasons, does he see it necessary to "remake" our country? Furthermore, on what premise and historical perspective does he gather the ideas that another form of government is actually better than they existing one?
Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker and historian, and author of "Democracy in America," said,
"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Apart from the democratic republic in which our country is governed presently, and based upon the agenda put forth by our current administration, I can only assume President Obama means to "remake" our nation into a socialist government.
"Restraint and servitude?!" Is that what the 53% of Americans who voted for Obama wanted?
de Tocqueville also commented that
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
To be honest, I am struggling to find the words to follow that statement. Do I really need to elaborate? Is this not what has been going on in the halls on Capitol Hill since 2006?
Article VI of The United States Constitution dictates that "this Constitution...shall be the supreme Law of the Land," and that our Senators and Representatives "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation" to support our Constitution. Each Senator states,
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
Today, it seems as though the majority of Congress has "mental reservation(s)" regarding our founding documents.
By virtue of the two oaths mentioned in this piece, our federal elected officials are to protect, preserve, support, and defend our Constitution. No where in those oaths do we find the words "remake" or "change." No where in the Constitution do we find power to rewrite or ignore certain parts of it. Yet, over the past several years our Congress has chosen to "restrain" the American people, and now, with the help of a new president, they are beginning to indenture our citizens into decades of "servitude."
Our leaders are constantly telling us that government is the only answer to our existing problems. We are told to trust that the initial spending will turn into prosperity rather than debt. But throughout history, we see a different story, both in our country as well as in countries around the globe.
President James Garfield said that "history is the unrolled scroll of prophecy." We must not allow ourselves to become ignorant of the truths of the past. Such truths include the ability of of individual citizens to overcome major difficulties by hard work and perseverance, not government control. Truths like allowing markets to rise and fall on their own, thus correcting and strengthening itself over time. The government is not the solution; it's the American people.
"The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens." Alexis de Tocqueville
A French historian could see it, why can't we?
We are all "temporary stewards" of this great nation. We each have the ability and right to "protect, preserve and defend" her. This is not a political party issue, but an American issue. Democrats and Republicans have both sent us down paths of destruction. Again, de Tocqueville said it best when he reasoned
"There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle."
Our Constitution is a document of principles.
Liberalism seeks to "remake" and rewrite those principles. Conservatism seeks to "protect, preserve and defend" them.