Every so often, the value of liberty must be relearned and such a time may be upon America.
In 1750, my fifth great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Archibald McMullin and Martha Richards, departed Ireland and braved the Atlantic Ocean in search of liberty and opportunity in America. Martha passed away a few years later in Massachusetts, leaving Archibald alone with three sons until he remarried Anna Powell, with whom he had six more children, including Archibald Jr. By 1778, the younger namesake had enlisted in the Continental Army and would serve two nine-month tours in the Revolutionary War.
Their respective struggles forced both McMullin generations and their contemporaries to answer a fundamental question: What is the value of liberty?
For the past several decades, our basic rights and the integrity of our democratic system that protects them have been relatively secure. For many, they’ve seemed even automatic.
Extreme partisanship is more dangerous than most people realize. It leaves nations vulnerable to authoritarianism whether in the Middle East, Asia, or America. Autocrats commonly exploit—even foment—animosity between political groups, races, and religions because it helps them to consolidate power. When groups despise each other, they’re more likely to believe the falsehoods despots disseminate about their perceived enemies.