by Thomas J. Centrella
The foundation of this country is the Constitution. It is the mind of the nation. The cornerstone of this foundation is the Declaration of Independence. It is the heart of the nation, and the spirit with which the Constitution is to be interpreted. And the cornerstone of the cornerstone is this shining passage within the Declaration:
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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….
Sadly, this cornerstone has been ignored, in one way or another, right from the beginning, and now it is being ignored more than ever. This nation cannot endure long if the very cornerstone of our existence and strength as a country is trampled upon. If we are ever to rebuild this once great nation and restore her to the hope that was hers, we must start with the founding principles upon which this nation was built in the first place. If we do not repair the foundation, we may have a flashy, attractive-looking house, but we will not have a home that will endure.
So, let us start from the beginning: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”
The first word that should burn within our hearts is truths. These truths are the lights God has given us, to lead us—as a nation and as a people—to happiness, prosperity, and security. If this nation would just glance up, she would see these lights guiding her from above, and showing her the way to that “shining city on a hill”—the land of the free which those with noble minds have always thought this nation could be.
However, as long as she refuses to accept these truths, she will continue in a dark fog, blindly walking down the path that leads to her own destruction.
We have to start somewhere. So, let’s start by accepting the conviction, so clearly expressed by our founding fathers, that there are indeed real, objective truths—unchanging expressions of reality that do not depend on place or time, but rather transcend all space and time and endure throughout the ages. Opinions may change and policies may vary, but truths never change. They are always right and always true. There is a right, and there is a wrong. And these truths show us what is right and what is wrong. We must never tire of pointing the way to these radiant lights from above.
Our founding fathers held these truths to be “self-evident,” and recognized them as the very basis of our hope as a nation. We cannot overcome the current crises we face, or any other crisis, if we do not accept these truths and live by them. Only when this nation accepts these truths will she truly become all that our founding fathers envisioned she could be.
Only then will she truly be that shining city on a hill.