The Choice Is Yours – Ethics, God, Integrity … Or The Corrosion Of Conformity

  It takes a lot of guts to do the right thing. Takes even more when those closest to you tell you not to. Tell you you’re wrong. Wrong to think.  Wrong to speak.  Wrong to believe.  Wrong to act. Herd mentality is real. And within the human herd we have everything from generic group swagger to cliques and even cults. People seldom like to walk alone. The narrow way is just too lonely when you place your value as a human being in other human beings. Jesus said “If…

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You Are The Judge and Jury In The Court of Public Opinion

by Oletta Branstiter “Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.” This quote, by Founding Patriot James Madison, needs to be shouted from the rooftops today. Social media is all atwitter with allegations, apologies, and reports of settlement payments by men who forget that pride goes before a fall. In the otherwise laudable speech by former President George W. Bush, in which he rebuked leaders who would divide the nation with dissentious pronouncements and policies, I’m afraid he went too far by referring…

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National Unity Rests On Pillars Of Principle

Pillars representing five styles of architecture

by Oletta Branstiter Unity rests on the strength of our Principles. When I teach Our Nation’s Foundations to 5th and 6th graders, I create a huge graphic on a Library wall that includes metaphorical representations of our Republic. My purpose is to portray our nation’s government founded on solid ground and strong ideological support. My hope is that these lessons will inspire unity on those principles so that the next generation will work to restore our Constitutional Republic.   The bottom layer of Bedrock represents the Natural Law of our…

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Restoring Unity Through Patriotism – The Values That Can Bring Us Together

graphic image combining the American flag and the Declaration of Independance

by Oletta Branstiter Facts + Principles = Opinions I teach my students that forming a strong opinion consists of filtering facts through personal principles to make an ideological conclusion. They learn that if our opinions differ, it’s because our valid personal principles differ. I impress upon my students that opinions cannot be wrong, and should be shared and accepted with respect. It has occurred to me, especially in light of recent divisive statements and protests in current events, that while opinions cannot be “wrong”, they can foment disunity. Diversity at the…

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Our Nation’s Foundations – Lesson Four: Individual Liberty

Lady Liberty and U.S. Flag

Individual Liberty Our nation’s Founders and Framers of the Constitution wanted people to make decisions for their own lives. They wanted the most liberty possible while respecting the rights of others. Remember, the pillars we’re erecting atop the Rule of Law should represent eternal principles that will strongly support our system of government. The first pillar of principle was Limited Government.  The next pillar of principle is just as vital for strengthening a Republic designed to protect our liberties. Our next pillar is Individual Liberty. Create another pillar to erect…

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Our Nation’s Foundations – Lesson Three: Limited Government and Bill of Rights

Senator Kerry looks at copy of Bill of Rights

by Oletta Branstiter Now that we have laid a solid foundation of Unalienable Rights and Rule of Law, we can start building our government with more detail. But we need to agree on the most important ideas and priorities. These will be ideals or principles that never change. Unchanging Principles Immediately following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a citizen named Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitating, Franklin responded,  “A republic, if you can keep it.” Laws and policies and…

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