My fellow Americans, my fellow Republicans:
The 2012 election is not a contest between two men, but between two entirely different visions of America. President Obama and I are simply the standard-bearers of opposing and, may I add, irreconcilable visions of what America is and should be.
The Republican party and I represent American values as they have been understood since the founding of our country. The Democratic party and President Obama represent different values. This does not make any Democrat, let alone President Obama, less American or less patriotic than any one of us here. But millions of Americans who love our country hold values that emanate from elsewhere.
How could it be otherwise?
Given the influence of academia, Hollywood, and the news media, of course many Americans have embraced more of the French Revolution’s values than those of the American Revolution.
And, to make things worse, too many Americans of the last few generations have never learned what American values are. Schools stopped teaching them. And many parents did as well.
#ad#Let me be specific: American values are not a matter of any individual’s, or newspaper’s, or professor’s opinion. We can surely have different opinions about how to realize those values, or how to apply them in any given situation. But American values exist beyond personal opinion. They have been enshrined for nearly all of American history on our coinage and our bills, not to mention in our hearts and in our minds, and emblazoned on the walls of Congress.
They are: Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One).
The Democratic party seeks to replace liberty with equality. Not equality before the law — that we all believe in. Not the equality of human worth — all Americans believe that all men are created equal. But the Democratic party and this president believe in material and social equality — and for them this equality is a greater value than liberty. That is why they seek to control more and more of Americans’ lives — in other words, take away more and more of our liberty — for the sake of some utopian ideal of equality.
The basic liberty to keep the money you have earned is the most obvious example. For most of American history, when some of our fellow Americans honorably earned more than others, they were not resented, they were emulated. But in the eyes of today’s Democratic party and in the eyes of our president, such Americans are to be resented — and as much of their money as possible must be taken from them — in the name of equality (sometimes referred to as “fairness”).
Our opponents do not value prosperity as much as they value equality.
And instead of a society rooted in God-based values, the Democratic party seeks a society as devoid of reference to God as possible. God can barely be mentioned in our nation’s classrooms. I do not think it is a coincidence that in a little more than one generation we have gone from students asking a blessing for their teachers to too many students abusing, sometimes even cursing, their teachers.
#page#In the moral confusion that inevitably flows from devaluing God, many Americans have replaced the sanctity of the unborn human with the sanctity of rodents and fish.
And this president and his party have also rejected the third great American value, E Pluribus Unum, which has created the uniquely successful American experiment in rendering blood, race, ethnicity, and national origins insignificant — by replacing all of them with one unifying American identity. They seek to replace “From many, one” with so-called multiculturalism, with a cult of “diversity,” and with the hyphenation of all Americans.
That is why, my fellow Americans, the upcoming election is not merely an election. It is a referendum on whether America retains its unique value system or not.
#ad#Big and bigger government is not an American value. Because the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.
Handing our children and grandchildren unprecedented debt is not an American value. Because selfishness and irresponsibility are not American values.
Dividing Americans by race and class is not an American value. Because race and class are not American values.
And a weakened America is not an American value either. Indeed, given the unique role America’s military strength has played in spreading liberty, a weakened America is not a moral value either. No peace movement on earth, and no peace-studies program in the world, has done for peace what the American military has done for peace.
A vote for Paul Ryan and me is a vote to return America to its values, the values that are the reason this country became the greatest nation on earth. Unlike our opponents, we are proud to say — here and abroad — that America is exceptional.
My fellow Americans, few elections in our history have offered Americans such a clear choice.
And the clearer Americans are about these differences, the larger will be our margin of victory.
— Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk-show host, is the author of Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.