Former congressman: People don’t remember stories that made U.S. great
by Cassie Burton
September 10, 2015
Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram
Former Florida congressman Allen West began a speech in Midland on Wednesday with a legenda about what Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said after the creation of the U.S. Constitution. When asked by a New York socialite if the government was to be “a monarchy or a republic,” Franklin is believed to have said, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
West used the Constitution-Franklin anecdote (the anniversary of the Constitution’s creation is Sept. 17) and other historical references as a frame for his keynote speech at the Midland County Republican Women’s luncheon on Wednesday.
That republic is in danger because many Americans no longer remember the stories about “what makes America great,” said West, who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
“We have too many people that are telling the stories of how to be dependent, and not how to create more opportunities in America,” West said. “That’s not the America we’re supposed to be.”
Originally from Atlanta, where he grew up in an inner-city neighborhood, West cited his story of being elected to Congress as an example for the American dream.
“In the year I was born, 1961, blacks could not go on the beach of Fort Lauderdale,” West said. “Fifty years later, I was sworn in as a congressional representative and I represented Fort Lauderdale beach all the way to Palm Beach Island, which is the highest per capita zip code. If we don’t tell our children those stories, then you get more Trayvon Martins. You get more Michael Browns.”
West said that it was stories like his own that need to be shared to spread the Republican Party’s conservative message to traditionally Democrat-voting areas and people who move to Texas from out-of-state. If not, the party is “never going to be able to win at national-level elections” and will lose its power at local and state levels, he said.
“I say that because it’s great that you’re out here and you’re building this incredible bastion of energy security,” West said about Midland. “You’re building the next generation of small, independent ownership and entrepreneurship in the oil and gas industry.”
West said that U.S. citizens need to remember the “core” values of industrialism and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as constitutional values of religious freedom and individualism, in the upcoming election cycle.
During the subsequent question-and-answer session, West answered questions about the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration is attempting to pass. The decision by President Obama to give Iran frozen assets when they are the “No. 1 state sponsor” of ISIS is reminiscent of deals struck with Adolph Hitler during the 1930s, according to West.
“What we continue to be told is if we don’t do this, it will lead to war,” West said. “History shows you that when you make agreements with despots and dictators, you will have war because they sense weakness, and that’s exactly what we’re on the path toward.”
West said that if Iran gets the funding, people should remember which elected officials -- most of them are Democrats -- support the Iran deal and vote them out. Since some areas are predominantly Democrat, West said that may mean supporting an incumbent Democrat’s opponent in their primary.
West also covered education, listing school boards as the “most important elected position” and stressing the importance of school choice. West did not state his public support of the currently 17 people vying for the Republican presidential nomination. He did say that he believed the end of the year would mean the “crème rising to the top.” A recent surge in polls for Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, who have no political experience, is not guaranteed to last but indicates that voters are “not happy with the political class they have,” according to West.
“It’s very confounding to the political punditry and the political class,” West said. “I don’t think it’s going away.”
West, who has appeared on Fox News as a contributor, is author of “Guardian of the Republic,” and currently is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.