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Human Rights and Freedoms
 
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Freedom of Expression

How stands the Union?


     Freedom has published the views of U.S. Congressmen on a variety of issues over the years. In one such commentary, written in 1976 in commemoration of the U.S. bicentennial, then-California Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr. made an especially poignant and memorable statement about the American way of life. This commentary was written at a time when public and media criticism of the American government was at an all-time high – following the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon’s resignation and the exposure in exhaustive Congressional hearings of legion abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies.




Barry Goldwater, Jr.

By Barry Goldwater, Jr.

 I
t has been said the last words uttered by Daniel Webster were: “Please, tell me, how stands the Union?”

      More than a century later, his question is of critical importance. But for the purposes of this short message, I am going to leave the words of doom, caution and warning to others. After 200 years, the United States of America is still synonymous with freedom, the world over. At the heart of this nation is still an absolute faith in the value and goodness of the individual human being.

      This is still the place where individual initiative is encouraged, and copied, in spite of a blundering federal government.

      This land is the place that has weathered—intact—a revolution, a civil war, crises in government, plain old changing times and all manner of natural disasters.


America is the place that gave birth to both Wrong- Way Corrigan and Neil Armstrong – and made legends, in their own way, of each of them.
 

      America is the place that gave birth to both Wrong-Way Corrigan and Neil Armstrong—and made legends, in their own way, of each of them.

      America is the place where 220 million people can each be educated and try to be anything each one chooses; where we are free to succeed and to fall on our faces.

      There is not adequate time to describe the true power, sensitivity, compassion, courage and strength that have been crammed into 200 years by millions of different people—who sometimes worked at odds, but mostly together.

      In fact, I believe ol’Dan’l answered his own question about how the Union stands. And as good as his question was and is, so is the answer:

      “Thank God! I—I also—am an American!”

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