Civil War

Help Bring "In God We Trust Plates" To Virginia

Virginia drivers could have the option of a new specialty license plate on their cars next year if approved during the 2011 session of the General Assembly — the "In God We Trust" plate (depicted below). Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) and Delegate Dickie Bell (R-26, Staunton) are the patrons of the legislation that would create the plates. Because the General Assembly requires at least 350 pre-filed applications to be on hand for the legislation to be approved, anyone who is interested in obtaining these plates should file their applications as soon as possible (click here to download an application form). A $10 check must be included with the application (the address is provided on the form). If the plate does not get approved, the money will be refunded.

InGodWeTrust Plate

Although "In God We Trust" became the official motto of the United States in 1956, it first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864, during the Civil War, and continues to appear on both coins as well as paper currency to this day. However, the words first took root much earlier, when Francis Scott Key included them in the fourth stanza of "The Star Spangled Banner," which he penned in 1814 during the War of 1812

At least nine states already have approved similar "In God We Trust" license plates, including Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. In addition, eight states have plates that include a reference to God, such as "God Bless America" and "One Nation under God."

For more information, contact the Valley Family Forum at family@valleyfamilyforum.org  or call 540-438-8966.

Has The Culture War's Decisive Battle Begun?

It has, according Herbert E. Meyer, who recently wrote a column entitled, "The Culture War's Decisive Battle has Begun," for The American Thinker (read it here). Meyer, who served President Ronald Reagan as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, and who is the host and producer of the video The Siege of Western Civilization and author of How to Analyze Information, writes the nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for vice president was the battle's shot across the bow. Meyer writes with clarity in defining the two sides in the culture war — "traditionalists" and "Left-Wing Liberals." He writes that the differences are so irreconcilable that we are experiencing a second Civil War and that in every war there is a decisive battle. That battle won't end the war, but it becomes the tide that changes the course of the war and decides its fate. For example, Gettysburg, he writes, during the Civil War, or Midway  during WWII (although, he must mean the Pacific theater; certainly D-Day was the turning point in Europe and perhaps for the entire war).

He then defines the two types of wars: Military ones, which are relatively short; and ideological wars, which can last decades, such as the Cold War. Such is America's culture war. He writes:

And there are long ideological wars, such as the Cold War, in which short bursts of fighting are separated by long periods of political maneuvering.  In these long ideological wars, the outcome isn't determined by firepower but by will. That's because the aggressor's objective isn't to kill the defenders, but to wear them down until they no longer have the courage and stamina to keep resisting.

The defenders win only when they stop merely resisting — in other words, trying just to not lose — and start playing offense. For example, by the late 1970s the Free World's will to resist the Soviet Union's endless challenges had nearly evaporated. Détente was just a palatable word for surrender. And then — unexpectedly and virtually at the same moment — three individuals most people had never before heard of exploded onto the scene and into power.  They were Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John-Paul II — none of whom, by the way, had any foreign policy experience before taking office. Their objective wasn't to "not lose" the Cold War, but rather to end it with victory for the Free World.  Together they threw the switch from playing defense to playing offense, stunning the Kremlin's over-confident leaders who believed that history was on their side. Within a decade, the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

More than interesting, it is a profound observation. As much as John McCain is not perceived as a culture warrior by some Christian conservatives, maybe it took a Cold Warrior to understand what it takes to win an ideological war. McCain is one of the last still-in-office politicians to have been at the political forefront during the Cold War — certainly at its height. Two minor disagreements here: Ronald Reagan certainly was well known, for a variety of reasons, including a 1976 run for president and two terms as California governor, and who had met plenty of world leaders. John Paul II had plenty of "foreign policy experience" as it were: He had been fighting, ideologically, the Nazis and then Soviet communists inside the Iron Curtain his entire life. But as for his larger point, of leaders with a clear, unwavering vision of right and wrong, and the importance of defeating wrong, we agree.

He continues:

By choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate — and by staking his own claim to the presidency on "Country First" more than on any specific policy initiative — John McCain has thrown the switch and put us Traditionalists onto the offense. By doing so he has unleashed the energy and the will to victory among Traditionalists that have been dormant for so long the Left-Wing Liberals mistakenly assumed we'd lost. And by taking the over-confident Left-Wing Liberals so completely by surprise, McCain has stunned them into revealing themselves for the vicious phonies that they are.

As a result, what started out as a typical campaign between Republicans and Democrats — each party trying to hold its base while attracting enough independent voters to win — has exploded into the Culture War's decisive battle.  

Commanding the Traditionalist armies is a war hero whose personal courage and patriotism have overwhelmed any disagreements within the coalition about specific policies and issues. His second-in-command is a pro-life hockey mom with genuine executive talent, star quality, and the most valuable asset of all in politics: a common touch. Commanding the Left-Wing Liberal armies is an elegant, eloquent cosmopolitan whose most striking talent is his ability to push past everyone else to the front of the line. His second-in-command is the U.S. Senate's leading plagiarist, whose only undeniable talent is his ability to use Senate confirmation hearings as a platform from which to trash honorable Republican appointees such as Bill Clark, Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas.

Meyer's column certainly is clearly thought and crafted, with precise analysis. It's also, if not a call to arms to those long-since armed, it's a rallying cry not to lose, for a resurgency, to see through to victory that ultimate, war changing battle, and drive on to final victory. We encourage you to read it, then take action. It's not too late to engage the opponent.

Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Henry And The Sovereignty Of The People

We are in a great location, if not a great space, in downtown Richmond, less than a block from perhaps Virginia's most enduring landmark, its Jefferson designed capitol; and perhaps a mile yonder east in Church Hill, St. John's Church, identified with another Revolutionary hero, Patrick Henry, who also knew well the grounds of Shockoe Hill. When people think of Richmond history, they think Civil War (or War Between The States). It's a shame in that it obscures the city's Revolution-era history.

During this fast approaching Independence Day weekend it is easy to ponder our ancestor Virginians' lives and for all they stood. Doing such, I ran across a quote from Henry that pairs nicely with a Jeffersonian quote with which I was already familiar.

Both men were key instruments in the Revolution: Jefferson the Pen, Henry the Tongue. They fought for a democratic republic, free from the chosen few to lead, but open to all — that is to say, open to all. Not just open for all to seek public office, but open to all to participate; and not only to participate, but to know what the people's government was doing, lest it no longer stay the people's government.

So it is on this occasion that we again call on the successors to Jefferson's and Henry's General Assembly to consider ways to further open our government: In particular, through the use of modern technology, making available the Virginia budget online via a Google-like, easy-to-use search engine. (What better way to honor Mr. Jefferson, who was no slouch inventor himself and who was keen to the latest technology of his day?) As the General Assembly reconvenes to consider what they might take from us during this ongoing Special Tax Session, shouldn't we be able to easily learn how, what, when and with whom they our spending our money?

Said the first governor of the commonwealth, Mr. Henry:

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

Said the author of the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson:

Information is the currency of democracy.

Before the General Assembly runs off with what remains of our financial currency, remind them we have every right — rather, it is their responsibility — to keep the operations of the people's government open and free to easy examination. To be sure, that's what this weekend commemorates, for if the people's sovereignty is subjugated to the "rulers" who are few, we become less free; less the sovereign over the elected that our Revolution guaranteed, and more the subjects to new, modern-day monarchs.