July 4 – Remember America’s Founding Ideal
Having served 22 years in the U.S. Army, it always fills me with great pride to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day.
The extraordinary tale of how 13 ragtag colonies stood up to the most powerful nation in the world at the time to form a free, constitutional republic is one of the greatest stories ever told.
Yet it seems many Americans are embarrassed to celebrate our history. In fact, there are some who are actively trying to rewrite and even erase it.
In recent days, we have seen vandals deface monuments and topple statues, all in the name of so-called “social justice.” While their main target has been memorials of Confederate figures, protesters have gone as far as removing The Pioneer Mother, a sculpture of a woman sitting with a Bible on her lap, in Portland, Oregon, and requesting that a statue of American poet Walt Whitman be taken off from Rutgers University’s campus in Camden, New Jersey.
State and local officials all across the nation also are acquiescing to the masses and have either removed or are planning on removing dozens of statues and memorials. In Boston, the city’s art commission voted to bring down a statue of President Abraham Lincoln — the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation setting African American slaves free!
Sadly, we have become a nation of victims instead of citizens.
Believe me, as a Black man, I fully understand the impetus to correct the wrongs of the past. I was born in 1961 in a “Blacks only” hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in the city’s Old Fourth Ward — the neighborhood that produced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and where the American Civil Rights Movement emanated. I am intimately familiar with the Black community’s struggle for equality — not of outcome, but opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
Our nation’s past is not all peachy, but over the years I have learned history is not there for us to like it or to dislike it. History is there for us to learn from it.
Independence Day is an opportunity for us to thoughtfully reflect on our history and remember what the heart of America is really about.
The United States of America is remarkable for many reasons, but the key detail that sets us apart from all other nations is that the cornerstone of our founding is the ideal that our rights are given to us by God and not by man.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence.
Later, after winning our hard-fought independence, James Madison codified and specified these rights in our Constitution, our rule of law. The first ten amendments to our Constitution are described as our Bill of Rights. They focus on the individual and our protections from what our Founding Fathers had experienced: the intrusive, invasive, and onerous nature of tyrannical governance.
It’s because of this founding ideal of our rights being endowed by our Creator that I, a Black man born and raised in the segregated South, was able to become a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who commanded a battalion in combat. After I retired from military service, I became a member of the United States House of Representatives, the second Black Republican congressman in Florida’s history.
Has my life’s journey been without difficulties? No.
Have I faced opposition and at times discrimination because of the color of my skin? Of course!
Yet, I have been able to persevere and attain remarkable success because the ideal that we are equal in the eyes of God is etched in our constitution. Today, this ideal empowers my two daughters to pursue their own American Dreams.
America has come a long way since 1776 because men and women who believe in our founding ideal fought for them to become a reality in our nation. This election year, it’s up to us to play our part in this story by voting for leaders who will protect our constitutional rights.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans — up to 25 million Christians — historically do not participate in our national elections. We cannot afford to do that this year.
As somebody who is living proof of the American Dream, I encourage you to not sit out this election. This coming election is not about person or personality — it’s about principles. It’s about the rule of law or mob rule. For Christians, the consequences are even more dire: either we keep our first liberty, freedom of religion, and the free exercise thereof, or we are relegated to the catacombs.
Let’s continue making American that great nation our Founding Fathers envisioned, where every citizen has the God-endowed rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and a former representative of Florida’s 22nd District. In 2020, he joined My Faith Votes as a spokesperson to mobilize Christians to participate in elections. His newest book is “We Can Overcome: An American Black Conservative Manifesto
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.
Lt. Col. Allen West,
Thank you for your clear voice of service, honor, and respect for the founding Judeo/Christian values of this incredible country, and its unqualified acknowledgment of God as the source of our rights. And thank you for your common sense and life-long effort to live an exemplary life and take advantage of the personal freedoms we share. May all persons of faith take courage from your example and accept their personal responsibility to vote!
I to thank you for your service. I thank you for your courage & wisdom. I thank you for informing & encouraging us to be part of the solution to help America to become a better place for all mankind. Thank you for reminding us how important it is to use our right to vote.
If you don't use it you may very well lose it. Until people's hearts soften, until there is forgiveness, until God is not cast aside nothing will change. We need godly people in our government to represent honesty & truth. I am so sad to see what is happening to America. I will continue to pray for her. I pray that godly men & women will rise up & help America be the country we would all be proud to live in. I am reminded of the saying, UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN.
YOU HAVE THE POWER IN YOUR VOTE. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Colonel West, I have followed you for years and have always been truly impressed!! America is definitely ready for a black president! We just weren't ready and never will be for a Barack Obama!! I have always believed,since learning about you, that you are that man!! Me and my wife Sandy would totally support and vote for you in a second!! We truly believe that the hand of God is upon you and one Glorious day this will happen!! Praise the Lord and to him be the glory!!
GODBLESSYOUANDYOURFAMILYABUNDANTLY!!! Alan & Sandy Williams Tulsa OK
I simply join the chorus of "thank you" for your service, your wisdom, and most of all your clear trust in the One Who made you and has given you clear insight into good versus evil and justice versus injustice.
Lt. Col. Allen West,
Thank you for your service to God and America! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and wisdom with us. I am deeply saddened by the destruction of our nation’s monuments and historical artifacts. I pray that Americans, especially our youth can see that destruction will never produce a positive change. If people truly seek to change others hearts and minds they need to show honor and respect. They have examples of those that actually accomplished such goals ie., Martin Luther King Jr., it was through peace and love that he helped change our nation. I pray that the eyes, ears and hearts of those people that are hurting and striving for change may be open to the truth not the lies that are being believed and causing more damage. May God continue to bless America!!
My prayers for God’s blessing for you and your family Col..
In God we trust,
Thank you for your service to our country God bless you Happy 4th to you and your family
Thank you Col. West for your service to God and to our country. You truly serve as an inspiration to all people. Your uplifting words are much needed especially at this time. Have a wonderful 4th!
LT Col. West, thank you for sharing your story and Your love of our country. America never claimed to be perfect but we strive to make this a more perfect Union and endeavor to learn from our mistakes and make our future brighter for all. I have taken for granted that our schools are still teaching American values and love of this great country. Sadly, we have allowed a take-over of our education system and now we have to fight to take it back. His Truth still marches on! God bless America!
I have followed you for years and have always admired your honesty and wisdom. I was sad when you did not run for office again because our country NEEDS more men like you at the helm. You are an example to us all but especially to the black community proving that in America everyone has an opportunity to succeed if they work hard, get an education and STOP thinking of themselves as victims. That ethic applies to all races.
Thank you for serving our country with courage and dedication.
GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU AND MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE.
Sir, thank you so much for your words! Thank you for serving God first, then serving our country, government and the people. God is still using your faith, values, and world to serv the government and people. May God bless you and your family continues always!
Thank You Sir for Your Service! Thank You For your wisdom and inspiring words! Happy Independence Day Sir! 🇺🇸
May God Smile upon you and be gracious to you and your Family!
In God We Trust,
Thank you Mr West for your comments. I am appalled by the actions of these vandals. However, I am equally appalled by Rino politicians who are siding with these liberals. They were elected because of their conservative values. Now, those who voted for them no longer have a voice. I am truly worried of what will become of this great nation if the radical left gets control of all three branches of government
I am approaching retirement and am deeply concerned that my retirement years won’t be worth living
Thank you for all you have done for this country. If you ever decide to run for office (if we even have a country) you certainly have my vote