Before It Was History, It Was News is the title of a book written to connect actual news stories with the recorded history of the America Revolution. In this day and age, however, the words to an old chorus might give the careful reader cause to think:
The voice of truth tells me a different story…the voice of truth says do not be afraid…
In the world where today’s news becomes tomorrow’s historical account of what happened, the voice of truth must be considered if freedom is to survive and travel to the next generation. That voice is out there if the world is willing to listen.
This entry in the Voices of Freedom journal is a record of one of the voices which speaks the truth in relationship to freedom. Congressman Kevin Cramer is someone who understands that truth and freedom are inextricably connected in a post-modern era which has put truth on notice as either unknowable or unnecessary.
Because he is not afraid to confront the sources of news with the truth, his is a voice not always popular, sometimes ignored, but always worth listening to in the larger context of what is is said. A recent report in a local newspaper illustrates the importance of freedom from the fear criticism or disapproval which often paralyzes the expression of ideas. As a result, political correctness and false tolerance trump honest discourse and the freedom of the individual may be compromised.
Two weeks after Cramer gave the Commencement address for the 2013 graduating class at the University of Mary, he was credited with linking school shootings with legalized abortion. Without reading his remarks in the context they were given, the average reader may conclude that he is either radical or using fear tactics to further a political agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Congressman Cramer has always maintained a socially conservative philosophy which not only encompasses a pro-life position but also holds personal responsibility in high regard where individual liberty is valued.
If there are connections to be made between the decisions passed down from the Supreme Court in Roe V. Wade and indications of moral decline in the United States of America, it might be more helpful to analyze what is happening today in light of history than to marginalize an individual for stating the facts. When truth becomes subjective and is not subject to the scrutiny of empirical evidence, freedom becomes more a freedom “from” than a freedom “for.”
Taken in their context, Congressman Cramer’s remarks reflect his intended purpose which was to give the members of the Class of 2013 something “for” the next phase of their journey through life. He simply chose to remind them of the designation of the University of Mary as America’s Leadership University and then to expound on the idea of “leadership in the service of truth.” He was not afraid to challenge the students with the realities they would face in the real world or to shield them “from” difficult circumstances they would encounter. In a word, he told the truth.
Here is where the connection between truth and freedom comes in and how Congressman Cramer’s voice is truly a voice of freedom. He is simply not afraid to tell the truth. When asked by a reporter if he wasn’t afraid of how his remarks will be heard, he answered, “No, I wasn’t afraid of how they would be heard, I knew how they would be heard.”
The freedom in view here is directly related to the most fundamental freedom of all: Freedom from fear. Freedom from the fear of reprisal or criticism is the kind of freedom that comes from having a settled sense that what one believes is more than a personal opinion but rather a conclusion drawn from a body of reliable objective evidence. That kind of belief becomes a conviction which holds one to a standard unaltered by popular opinion.
Kevin Cramer understands that for freedom to prosper, the truth must be told without compromise and without fear. This is what he understands as “leadership in the service of truth.” This is not a new and novel idea, but a principle espoused and lived out through the ages.
One’s personal freedom is only viable as long as the freedom of another is not threatened. This implies a duty or responsibility which is entwined with personal freedom to form the solid ground for a free people to stand upon. To put it simply, there are rules. There must be a standard that is higher and more lasting than that of opinion and personal felicity.
The voice that this freshman Congressman from North Dakota has raised in Washington as a representation of the people he serves is a voice of freedom because he gets the essential connection between freedom and truth. This truth comes from the same source as that cited by the founders in the documents which define, direct and dignify this country: The laws of nature and of nature’s God.
Story after story make it clear that the average person in America is thirsting for the truth and is tired of political rhetoric and empty promises for change. It is the truth that sets a people free and it is truth that keeps them that way. Because Congressman Cramer is not afraid to let the truth speak for itself and trusts the people of North Dakota to hear it in the context and spirit for which it was intended, the voices of his detractors and critics will likely be forgotten in time.
Or better yet, perhaps those very sources will be challenged to pursue the truth for themselves. If that were to happen there is no question that the stories would be different and freedom would be free to move into the future.