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Proud To Be American - Old Glory Renewed

by Mary Leppert

[I wrote the following Editorial before the events of September 11 and I feel especially patriotic and proud of the freedom we enjoy here in the U.S., now more than ever. We have run a Tribute page (page 85) of photographs from people all over the world paying their respects to the United States for the tragedy we have suffered. We at The Link feel sad for those who lost loved ones specifically, but the loss is all of ours. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of our fellow Americans in this painful time. Religion is something I am always thinking about, because I have been married 23 years and my husband is a Christian and I am not. We talk about each other's concepts of Life and God on a daily basis. I really feel now, more than ever, that this is a time that we should be open to learning from each other as far as religion and similar views go, and overlook our differences, in general. I had this in mind when I answered Eric Ridley, in the Letters to the Editor, p. 49. Now, more than we are usually aware of, Together We Are One.]

This past July 4th, we had some friends over for a barbecue. While getting things ready, I hung our American flag outside and turned on a CD of Revolutionary War music by Keith & Rusty McNeil. When our friends arrived, one of them said "Oh, I am surprised that you have a flag outside." I asked her why and she said, "I thought you guys were anti-government." I was stunned and surprised by her comment and really thought about it a lot. I suppose we have given that impression to some people because we don't want government interference in our lives. We prefer to make most of our own choices. We want to decide how we should live; how we should raise our child; what values to pass on to him and at what age. I do suppose that most homeschoolers are the same as we are. If our children are not ready to read until age 10, we will decide how to deal with it - or if to deal with it -- with the clarity of knowledge that only a parent can have about his/her child. If our children do or don't do well around a huge crowd of kids, we will decide if and when to place them in such a group and have them handle it. We as homeschoolers (and Americans) have the liberty to decide how we teach our kids about many things that are in the world. We will decide when and if to teach and explain things to our children like, violent crimes, hatred, terrorism, murder, sexual issues, divorce, slang words, and all of the things of this world, good and bad that might not be tolerated well by children under a certain age. For our family, we believe that that is our right as Americans to raise our family the way we see fit. It is not for the government to decide for us ANY issues that we consider to be our job as parents.

Thinking about what my friend had said, reminded me of how confused our society is about patriotism. In my eye, I see it as very unpatriotic and contrary to the American tradition to not exercise the liberty and freedom to say "No" to government interference in my home and my life. I consider myself very pro U.S. Constitution because I value my freedom of choice - and yours as well. I consider the government to be appropriate for paving roads, maintaining police and fire services, public libraries, municipal buildings and so forth. The government is supposed to be us - we, the people. However, in reality, it is not we, it is "them" or "they." As in "They require attendance at school." Or "They require vaccinations before mandatory attendance at school is allowed."

I do not consider the government's function to be forcing citizens into its view of mass-schooling, mass health-care, mass living. To me the American flag symbolizes self-government and what the Founding Fathers established - not the "they" government we have today. So, when I display the American flag, I am not demonstrating my support for this or that government program, but I am demonstrating my support for individual liberty and the sanctity of the rights of the self-governed. Ironically, the Founders were against government, themselves. They felt it was a necessary evil to maintain order and perform certain large-scale functions, but realized that government very easily became a sort of monster that quickly took on a life of its own and outgrew its original necessary purposes. Once this occurred, it would sweep over the individual citizen like a tidal wave and ultimately he/she would become its indentured servant. If you are confused as my friend was, I hope this will help you to see patriotism in a different light. What we need is not another government program; what we need is that government by, for and of the people shall not perish from the earth.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue of The Link. It features the debut of the "Dear Learning-Success™ Coach" column by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis & Victoria Kindle-Hodson. The Link is full of its usual features, as well. Please see the registration information for The Link Conference 2002 on p. 76 and from Conference 2001, this issue features the keynote montage, entitled "A Patch-word Quilt." It was very popular with our conference-goers and we wanted to share it with all of you! Thank you for reading The Link!

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