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A Declaration of Conscience – Why It Matters for Our Future

Embrace the Future by Learning from Our History

The examination of history is a method of understanding the present and anticipating the future. Analyzing how the past has influenced global, national, and local relationships between societies and people, provides valuable lessons. Understanding these events and outcomes of history enables us to address complex questions and dilemmas in our personal lives and in the nation.

There is a growing trend in our Country, by some groups, to remove the study of important events in our nation’s history. Still others proclaim these events should be erased completely. It is necessary in society to recognize that each of our lives have been shaped by the good choices and bad choices we make each day. The expectation is that we learn from bad choices and focus on improvement. To facilitate this learning experience many people and organizations record their events in “journals” in order to leave a legacy of wisdom to those in the future – admonishing posterity to not make the same mistakes.

This process of analyzing history enables us to develop critical thinking skills which defined by the Oxford Dictionary is:

The objective, systematic, and rational analysis and evaluation of factual evidence in order to form a judgement on a subject, issue, etc.”

Oxford Dictionary

Critical thinking is essential for making informed decisions, solving problems, and communicating effectively by exposing us to different kinds of evidence. Studying history helps us recognize the limitations and biases of different sources and to question our own assumptions and perspectives. Learning how to critically assess various kinds of evidence improves our ability to discern truth from falsehood, fact from opinion, and relevance from irrelevance.

The benefit of analyzing history reveals the motivations, values, beliefs, hopes, fears, and emotions of individuals and governments throughout human development. We gain insight into the diversity and complexity of human experience, and appreciate the similarities and differences among cultures and civilizations. The study of history helps us reflect on our own identity, values, beliefs, and actions, and how they are influenced by our historical context.

A Declaration of Conscience

On Wednesday August 23, 2023 the people of America, and throughout many areas of the world, were focused on a history-making event – the “Republican Party Presidential Debates for 2024”. There were times throughout the debate in which I was appalled by the lack of respect, disgusted by the diminutive character attributes, and embarrassed by the childish bullying of these individuals that are vying for the highest office of authority in this world, that of President of the United States. These seem to be common traits embraced by many in our political, religious, community, and personal realms.

An illumination of hope can be found in the history of our political fore-bearers of this great country. On June 1, 1950 Senator Margaret Chase Smith rose to the podium of the Senate Chambers and delivered a speech now titled ‘Declaration of Conscience‘. The only finger-pointing that should be taken from this speech is at ourselves. We each have responsibility to rise above the pettiness that exists in the conversations in the Halls of Congress and our personal lives.

Following are key elements of this speech that should be embodied by all politicians and create an awakening for all citizens as we continue the journey to Election 2024 and beyond. The full text of Senator Smith’s speech can be found by clicking here

‘Declaration of Conscience’, Margaret Chase Smith, U.S. Senator, June 1, 1950

Our Call to Action

By learning about ourselves and others through history, we can develop empathy, tolerance, respect, and understanding for people from different backgrounds and perspectives. We cannot continue on our present course of divisiveness, pettiness, name-calling, unethical behavior, hatred, racism, and intolerance. We need to rise up. We are so much better. American demands this change. The World demands this change.

We each should adopt the “Declaration of Conscience” first introduced seventy-three years ago by several Senators in the 1950 U.S. Congress:

  1. …We are Americans first. It is as Americans that we express our concern with the growing confusion that threatens the security and stability of our country. Democrats and Republicans alike have contributed to that confusion.
  2. The…administration has initially created the confusion by its lack of effective leadership, by its contradictory grave warnings and optimistic assurances, by its complacency to the threat of communism here at home, by its oversensitiveness to rightful criticism, by its petty bitterness against its critics.
  3. Certain elements of the [Political] party have materially added to this confusion in the hopes of riding the [Political] party to victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance. There are enough mistakes of the [Political Parties] to criticize constructively without resorting to political smears.
  4. To this extent, Democrats and Republicans alike have unwittingly, but undeniably, played directly into the Communist design of “confuse, divide, and conquer.”
  5. It is high time that we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques-techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.

It is time for each American to accept the call of unity.

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