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Ask Dr. Land: Why is Trump’s Advisory 1776 Commission so important?

Myriad attempts are, and will be made to describe and evaluate the Trump legacy now that his presidential term has ended.

I believe one of the most important parts of President Trump’s legacy will be his establishment of “the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission” last year “to enable a rising generation to understand the history and principle of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive and form a more perfect Union.” 

The Commission, consisting of 23 accomplished scholars and experts, went about their task very diligently and produced a scintillating and highly informative and inspiring report a few days ago, just before they were decommissioned and put out of business by President Biden’s Executive Order. 

President Biden’s action was extremely counterproductive to his stated goal of “unifying” the country.  However, the report has now been published and is available online (at least for now), unless and until the high tech cartel (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Apple etc.) decides it is too dangerous for the American public to read.

My question is, “dangerous to whom?” The Commission’s report is certainly dangerous to those touting The New York Times’ nefarious and fanciful “1619 Project,” purporting to show that America was really founded in 1619, when some African slaves were brought ashore in British North America.

The 1619 Project is revisionist historical fiction driven by Marxist cultural theory and political ideology attempting to show that America was an evil and racist society from the beginning. 

My goodness, even the Pilgrims did not begin to arrive until a year later with their “City on a Hill” mission to light the way for the Old World. 

Be advised that the 1776 Commission shreds the 1619 Project for the dangerous historical fantasy that it is.  It is dangerous because it undermines our unity as Americans of differing ethnicities and perpetuates racial and ethnic division in perpetuity.

As the late, great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously observed “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts” — regardless of what post-modernism may think.  As our second president, the brilliant, but dour John Adams declared, “Facts are stubborn things.”

And the 1776 Commission deals in facts – lots and lots of them.  See for yourself at:  info.hillsdale.edu/1776-commission.

The 1776 Commission report is a great document, summarizing the amazing history of the noble American experiment better than any document that I have read of similar size (41 pages), and I have read literally tens of thousands of pages over the last half century on precisely this subject.

The Commission’s report “repeatedly focuses on both the ideals of the American Founding and the centuries-long quest to live up to them” explains Victor Davis Hanson, a commissioned member, “Thoughts on the 1776 Commission and its Report,“ (Real Clear Politics, 1/21/21).

The following is just one example of the constant stream of priceless nuggets contained in the report:

“America’s principles are named at the outset to be both universal — applying to everyone —and eternal; existing for all time.  The remarkable American story unfolds under and because of these great principles.  Of course, neither America or any other nation has perfectly lived up to the universal truths of equality, liberty, justice and government by consent. But no nation before America ever dared state their truths as the formal basis of its politics, and none has strived harder, or done more, to achieve them.” 

The Commission notes that President Lincoln (it does always seem to come back to Lincoln and his thorough and complete understanding of what the Founding Fathers were attempting to accomplish) “described the American government’s fundamental principles as ‘a standard maxim for a free society,’ which should be ‘familiar to all, and revered by all, constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated.’  But the very attempt to attain them — every attempt to attain them — would, Lincoln continued, constantly spread and deepened the influence of these principles and augment ‘the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere.’ The story of America is the story of this ennobling struggle.”

The power of this story to inspire succeeding generations is perhaps best typified by the following quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:  “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

The bottom line is this: read this report. Download it. Share it.  Recommend it. Do everything you can to wallpaper the country with this critical report. Put the words of this report in your heart. Teach its truths to your children and grandchildren. Talk of this report when you are sitting in your house, and walking about town, and when you lie down and when you rise up and write these truths on the walls of your home and on yours gates (paraphrasing Deut. 6:1-9). 

And, you might, along the way, give some thought to thanking the Almighty that in His providence you are privileged to be a citizen of the noblest country yet devised by the mind of man on this planet

Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.

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