Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted makes a point of take the message of how America was founded and the principles of the republic to students around the state. On a recent visit to The Portsmouth Daily Times editorial department, he reflected on the history of the nation and patriotism.
“I go out and do my Grads Vote program,” Husted said. “I go out to schools and talk about freedom and democracy and we’re caught up in Memorial Day and I was at the NRA (National Rifle Association) Convention in Louisville over the weekend.”
That is where Husted met Jason Redman, a navy seal, who was wounded in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in Afghanistan. The result was 37 reconstructive surgeries.
“When you meet these people, they’ve got this great attitude,” Husted said. “They’re grateful to serve their country. Even though all these terrible things happen to them, they believe in freedom and know that you’ve got to fight for it. That’s been the story of America from the very beginning. We fought for it. The people who signed the Declaration of Independence were all pretty well-to-do people. They put a lot on the line. They put their life on the line. When you signed that, you died.”
Husted cited the Continental Army and their efforts that came as a result of their willingness to put themselves at risk for the birth of this nation.
“A lot of people who could just have gone along and gotten along, been loyal to the crown (England) and not really sought independence,” Husted said. “But they got tired of taxation without representation. They got tired of seeing their profits from their hard labors going off to support a monarchy that did nothing for them in return and they decided they wouldn’t take it anymore. That’s been the story of America through the Civil War, through Women’s Suffrage, through World War I, World War II, Korea, the Civil Rights movement and to this very day.”
Husted said it has been incumbent on every generation to step up and do their part.
“I know that we hope that every generation will continue to do that,” Husted said.
Husted was preparing to take that message, May 26, to the Ohio State University football team.
“I talk to everybody. Anybody who wants to hear the story about sacrifice and courage,” Husted said. “Freedom must be accompanied with responsibility. Particularly personal responsibility. And you have these generations of people who have fought and died to give us this freedom and what are we going to do to preserve it?”
American’s don’t have to fight and die for freedom today.
“We just have to use it,” Husted said. “We have to participate in it. We’ve got this great instrument of freedom and we have to use it and most people around the world don’t have it.”
Democracy is on the decline in the world today.
“Places like Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, and places where they used to have democracies,” Husted said. “The Cold War came, the Berlin wall fell, and then democracy sort of hit its peak, and since then it has kind of gone on a slide, to the point that only one in four people live in a country where they’re free. It’s up to us to preserve it.”
Americans have a duty.
“You have to tell the story. I have to tell the story,” Husted said. “We’ve got to let every generation know that nothing is a given. Freedom and personal responsibility go hand-in-hand. To the greater extent that we can be personally responsible is to the greater extent that we get to enjoy more freedom. But when we show we can’t be personally responsible, that’s when more rules, more laws, more regulations, more of those things that encroach on our freedom come into play when we are less responsible as a society.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.