Ron Paul
1999 Ron Paul Chapter 59

Flag Day 1999

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14 June 1999
Monday, June 14, 1999

1999 Ron Paul 59:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to a great symbol of our nation, the flag of the United States of America on this Flag Day 1999. I wonder how frequently we take for granted this symbol, how often we fail to consider what it is and indeed what it represents.

1999 Ron Paul 59:2
The flag contains 13 stripes and 50 stars. Those 13 stripes represent the first thirteen states, each of which emanating from colonies of British America. These 13 colonies came together because they were opposed to continued oppression by the British executive and the British parliament. After numerous and significant entreaties seeking reconciliation, the British American came to understand that political independence and local self-government was the only way to insure against the most dangerous of tyrannies.

1999 Ron Paul 59:3
Was this eternal truth forgotten immediately upon the founding of our nation? Hardly. From the Articles of Confederation through to the original U.S. Constitution a clear understanding of the necessity of the separation of powers was maintained. And the genius of that division of powers lay only so partially in the three federal branches, each reliant upon some different direct authority but all resting government finally on the consent of the governed. Indeed, it has rightly been said that “the genius of the constitution is best summed up in that clause which reserves to the states or to the people those powers which are not specifically delegated to the federal government.”

1999 Ron Paul 59:4
So those states came together to form a compact, indeed to form a nation and, they gave specific but limited powers to the federal government. From those original thirteen stars and stripes, representing the individual states, came one. E pluribus unum. And this is what the flag and those stripes represent.

1999 Ron Paul 59:5
Today the flag contains 50 stars to represent the 50 current states. From 13 came 50 and in this way “E pluribus pluribum” is also true. From many came more.

1999 Ron Paul 59:6
Yes, Mr. Speaker, our flag is a symbol of our nation. It is a symbol but certainly not the sum. America means so much more to us than symbol devoid of substance. It means those rights, inalienable and indivisible, which are life, liberty and property. Property not just as an object of ownership but as an idea. Private property is indeed the bedrock of all privacy. And private enjoyment of property is not simply exemplified by the right to hold, but to use and dispose of as the owner sees fit. This is at the very essence of property, and it is in fact the meaning of the pursuit of happiness.

1999 Ron Paul 59:7
And those stars and stripes represent an idea about how it is that we should hope to actually realize the protection of all these rights that we as Americans hold so dear. Namely, we the people vest in those very states that formed this union, the power to legislate for the benefit of the residents thereof.

1999 Ron Paul 59:8
This is the idea of federalism and of local self-government. This idea is sacrosanct because it is the necessary precursor to all of those things which we hold dear, most specifically those rights I have enunciated above. Our nation is based on federalism, and state governments, indeed the nation is created by the states which originally ratified our constitution.

1999 Ron Paul 59:9
Now confusion has come upon us. We are far removed from the days of the constitution’s ratification and hence it seems we have lost that institutional memory that points to the eternal truths that document affirms.

1999 Ron Paul 59:10
Today there are calls to pass federal laws and even constitutional amendments which would take from the states their powers and grant them to the federal government. Some of these are even done in the name of protecting the nation, its symbol, or our liberties. How very sad that must make the founding fathers looking down on our institutions. Those founders held that this centralization of power was and ought always remain the very definition of “unAmerican” and they understood that any short term victory an action of such concentration might bring would be paid for with the ultimate sacrifice of our very liberties.

1999 Ron Paul 59:11
To do what is right we must understand and honor the symbol and the sum of our nation. We must contemplate the flag and the constitution, both of which point us to the key basis of liberty that can be found only in local self-government. Our flag and our constitution both honor and symbolize federalism and when we undermine federalism we dishonor our flag, our constitution and our heritage.

1999 Ron Paul 59:12
The men who founded our nation risked the ultimate price for freedom. They pledged “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to the founding of a republic based on local self-government. We should honor them, our republic and its most direct symbol, our U.S. flag by taking a stand against any rule, law or constitutional amendment which would expand the role of our federal government.

1999 Ron Paul 59:10 unAmerican probably should be hyphenated: un-American.

1999 Ron Paul 59:10 any short term victory probably should be hyphenated: any short-term victory.

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