I was 17 years old in the Summer of 1972 while cruising on a 24-foot Bayliner a few miles off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico on a day that I will never forget. These were my formative years as a teenager living in Yabucoa, barely recognizable as a town.
We were energy construction families, whose parents were sent to the island for a years-long project of building and operating an oil refinery.
My high school friends, including my girlfriend and future wife, spent every moment that we could in the water. On this day, we enjoyed the treat of a boat outing to nearby, uninhabited islands. Somewhere between Yabucoa and Vieques Island, a couple of us spotted a pole sticking out of the water.
None of us thought that it could actually be a periscope, but nothing else made sense in water that deep.
The unforgettable sight was watching that pole grow into a nuclear submarine rising to the surface about 400 feet from us. Simply appearing from invisibility to majestic presence inside of a minute was an overwhelming display.
A little bit of the ominousness was softened when we saw the sailors zeroing in on our girlfriends with their binoculars. But seeing the authority of that sub gave us expats a sense of comfort, along with the awe.
Two years earlier, I had carelessly verbalized to one of the priests at our distinguished high school just how much I missed the United States and how special of a place it seemed to be. Father Donald responded with, “Your home country is indeed a special place. And if you want to understand why, you should read your founding document.”
At Colegio San Antonio, a suggestion like that was more of a directive. So, I read for the first time the Declaration of Independence. The impact on me of reading those famous words, “We hold these truths to be self evident...” was greater than a nuclear submarine scaring the salt water out me.
While the full meaning of the Declaration’s wording continues to mature in me over the past 40 years, I immediately understood that it was these founding principles that made the United States of America such an exceptional nation. It also sensitized me to the contrasts between the credence of America’s Founders’ and the waywardness of America’s liberals.
Like many of you, I involve myself in politics in an attempt to preserve what we still have of the original dream. And while I may not have spent sufficient years on this planet to be considered wise, decades of observation have made me certain of this; those who respect life, liberty and property are also those who recognize that one unique and specific Creator described in the American Declaration.
Over the generations, liberals have learned to work smarter, occupying the strategic grounds of the mainstream media, public education, AARP and unions. The practice of creating dependent citizens for their loyal votes is perhaps the most insidious insult to a citizen’s self-esteem. Paying the mass majority of Puerto Ricans with U.S. subsistence has resulted in keeping them at half the income level of the poorest American state.
This is more than a civic debate and I am calling on America’s clergy to step it up.
Those of us in the political arena are doing our level best to slug it out against the ever-encroaching march of liberalism which seeks to replace the Creator with the state. In some cases, they have actually succeed. We need a sense of urgency from pastors, priests and rabbis to boldly teach oblivious citizens about the Creator.