by Richard Thompson, Hillsdale College
With the recent addition of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to the Romney ticket, critics on the left have been attacking him for everything from his stance on Medicare to the fact that he was voted “biggest brown-noser” in high school. Even his love for the Declaration of Independence has put him in the line of fire.
In his acceptance speech, Ryan quoted Jefferson’s words from the Declaration of Independence, stating that individual rights do not come from government but rather from God and nature.
“The thing I really have against him is actually how [Ryan] and Gov. Romney have misused the Declaration of Independence,” MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said on Saturday’s edition of Hardball. “I’m deeply irritated by their notion that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ means money for the richest and that we extricate the capacity of ordinary people to pursue happiness. When they say ‘God and nature give us our rights, not government,’ that is a lovely thing to say as a wealthy white man.”
It’s hard not to be frustrated by what seems to be another attempt to elevate government as the supreme power in the lives of the American people. What would Ms. Harris-Perry have preferred the vice presidential candidate to refer to? The Communist Manifesto? Certainly that takes the government’s power into account and provides for universal equality. It is perfectly clear that the left, under the guise of seemingly harmless concepts such as tolerance and equality, is seeking to undermine this nation’s founding and to move towards their Progressive agenda of government dependency. Anyone who praises the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is deemed a racist or out of touch with the plight of the lower and middle classes.
Simply put, Paul Ryan poses a threat to that mission. He preaches equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. He believes in fiscal responsibility and free market principles. He stands for everything that this country was founded on, and this scares those on the far left.
Ryan’s initial Gallup poll numbers may seem discouraging, but then again first impressions aren’t everything in politics. Look at John Edwards, who soared in the initial polls, who now has fallen from grace. The fact of the matter is that a Romney-Ryan ticket represents a diversion from divisive Democratic tactics and a refreshing acceptance of the foundational ideals that have led to this country’s success.