Rep. Rich Cebra: A Republic if you can keep it


By the Hon. Richard M. Cebra

In October of 1964 Ronald Reagan gave his landmark speech generally known as the “A Time for Choosing” speech. In that speech Reagan famously stated: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” This question was posed to an already divided nation that was being run at the time with an increasingly intrusive heavy hand from a far-distant Washington DC.

Reagan could clearly see the divide between the competing philosophies of government within the Republic. Reagan also saw the results of the Fabian Socialists in the 1960’s as well as how these competing views would affect the people of this nation. It was a big question, would a growing nanny state, in a remote capital, creeping toward socialism, be the choice of government of the people? Or would the people retain the liberties and individual control of their lives that the Founding Fathers had established in the Republic?

We, now living at the end of 2020, have the benefit of looking back over the last 55 plus years of history to see the extraordinary prescience of Ronald Reagan’s words. Having gone for most of the last half of a century down the ballooning government path that Reagan warned us about, we can track a growing government intrusion into our lives, and in every area of government involvement, a dismantling of  rights. Time and wordcount limit my ability to list here the many areas that display this, but if you the reader have been paying attention at all in the last few decades, you can simply pick the first example that comes to your mind as an illustration. I am thinking about things from a growing Federal Government perspective, such as the creation of the US Department of Education, and the US Department of Energy, as well as the intrusions into our Constitutional liberties post 9/11 for our “safety”, the list is very long.

There are two questions that need to be addressed considering these existing intrusions, as well as the growing list of usurpations promised by the coming Biden Administration.

First, how has the Left been able to have so many successes in advancing Socialism in a nation that was founded on the advancement of individual freedom and liberty, which is the opposite of Socialism?  We can look back historically and learn from our observations. I believe the single most important observable element in this effort has been the extent to which the left has been able to carefully create and control the narrative. A narrative that has been an historically enormous deception presented to the public, and then is doubled down on repeatedly until the desired result is achieved.

There are two major aspects of the Left’s narrative. First, the overarching narrative that presents some groups of people as victims, while at the same time it portrays other groups as evil and responsible for the victim’s victimhood. This media driven “blame game” is not based on fact, its purpose is to build the greater narrative. Blame and division have been used with surgical skill to leverage political advancement and policy gains, and at the same time almost always presents larger, more intrusive government as the solution to these struggles. Secondly, the Left uses individual examples presented in the media to humanize and build upon the narrative in an effort to slowly shift the public’s attitudes and opinions. These are often presented as factual, when in many cases they are opinion or outright fabrication made out of whole cloth. This is where the heavy lifting has taken place slowly changing hearts and minds. One need only look at any number of social issues that 15 or 20 years ago would have been laughed out of the room but are now generally accepted as the norm.

The Canadian author and philosopher B. W. Powe has written: “We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN.” This warning needs to become ingrained in the American conscious in these “post truth” times. We need to literally question and verify everything we are being told in the media. The official Progressive Socialist narrative does not allow the entire story to be told by the media they control. As a result, we must look toward other sources for the truth that puts the mainstream or official media presented narrative into perspective. If we do that our opinions and decisions can be formed on fact and not their narrative.

The second question is, what happens when the American public begins to truly resist the professional political narrative? We can presently see the stirrings of resistance in the social media world with an increasing rejection of the big social media manipulators like Facebook and Twitter, and the advent of more free platforms like MeWe and Parler. This may be the beginning of the shift in how the public interacts within social media, however at this date, that is yet to be seen. What is going to be required for this shift to truly take hold is for these sites to grow to a sufficient size to have a critical mass that attracts people to them while leaving the old social media sites behind. I personally have made the shift to Parler and am now checking my Parler feed first before checking my Facebook feed. It’s a start.

The other area that resistance can be applied is in personal video media habits. I now subscribe to The Daily Wire and The Blaze, both of which have great informative content. I have left the cable TV world behind, and because of its totally skewed state news coverage, local Maine TV news coverage as well. Whatever our sources, we should be verifying each one’s claims.

Fighting for our Republic and her founding principles has never been easy, a familiar well-known story tells of a group of citizens who asked Benjamin Franklin, as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention: ‘What sort of government have you given us sir?” Franklin’s reply was “A Republic, if you can keep it.” This short 7-word answer should be our clarion call. While a Democratic Republic is formed upon “the Consent of the Governed” it will only survive with the active, well informed, morally grounded activism of its citizens holding fast to our founding principles. It is time for Americans to pick up the torch and make the choice. As Ronald Reagan stated in that same 1964 speech: “We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.” Now is truly a time for choosing.

All the best,

Rich Cebra

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