All Commentary
Thursday, July 1, 1971

I Pledge Myself to Help Strengthen America

I will honor God.

Acknowledging the imperfections of human society and the fallibility of man, I will rely on my personal concept of the Creator, remember­ing Him as the source and repository of all that which is good, true, and beautiful.

I will respect law and order.

I know that true freedom is possible only in an ordered society, and I will accept the necessity of complete obedience—in spirit as well as in letter—of the civil statutes which bind my American society together. I recognize that this in no way prevents me from peace­fully working for the changes I feel should be made in improper or unjust laws, but I will at all times obey statutes while they are in effect.

I will instruct my children in the principles of moral order.

Drawing from the Judeo-Christian traditions, I will lay for my children a foundation of morality from which all right human action—private and public—must spring. I will not default on this paren­tal responsibility and leave it to chance in the public schools or in the churches.

I will strive always to be financially independent.

I will look first to providing for myself and my family. Thereafter, I will recognize my responsibilities in charity to others. I will seek at all costs to avoid becoming partly or wholly dependent upon public welfare.

This article is reprinted by permission as a column from The Lovington Daily Leader (New Mexico) of which Mr. Graham is publisher.

I will help protect my country’s fiscal integrity

  by rendering full value for the things I sell, whether they be my labor, my goods, or my intellect. I will prevail upon my elected repre­sentatives to engage in no deficit spending. I will set aside in savings some of my earnings, and I will purchase only those things for which I have a real need, or am in a financial position to afford. I will ask my elected representatives to have first consideration for the benefit and welfare of the nation as a whole, and to place less emphasis on sectional demands. I will not request nor applaud pork barrel politics.

I will make economic opportunity my first rule of business

and will place tax advantage at a secondary place in the scale of criteria for making business decisions. I will do this even under the penalty of tax disadvantage in order to help wean American business and industry away from dependence on the social engineers who have written the present American tax laws.

I will not give aid and comfort to my country’s enemies.

I will not contribute to the financial support of those who would subvert our American culture with alien ideas. I will not purchase publications which predominantly feature writers who mock our institutions, our moral values, or our cultural heritage. I will refuse to attend theater and motion pictures which deprave American social norms, American ideals, and which legitimatize degeneracy.

I will respect my personal image.

Although costume and appearance is not the final determinant of what a person is, I believe that unkemptness is a mark of indifference toward the best in life. I will therefore strive for cleanness and neat­ness in my personal appearance. I will take particular pains that I accept nothing in my style and habits that will emulate or honor the extreme practices of those who have made slovenly appearance a badge of protest and dissent.

I will restrain my personal appetites

  keeping my bodily and psychological desires in rein. I recognize them as healthy drives, but only when I control them; not when they control me.

I will reflect a good image.

By my speech and demeanor, I will strive to recapture the true image of the American citizen: a person of confidence, kindness, good manners, and a willing worker.

I will not desecrate the landscape.

In all my activities I will ever be mindful of my stewardship of the land. I will keep my private property in a neat and orderly appear­ance. I will respect the private property of others. I will not damage my interest in public property through acts of vandalism, careless­ness, or neglect.

I will pay my taxes willingly.

In recognition that there is a price to be paid to maintain a safe America, I will pay every tax legally levied upon my produce and my property. I will work to reform those taxes I believe unjust, un­necessary, or inequitable.

I will be an informed citizen

         acquiring knowledge on matters of public interest. I recognize that education is a continuing process, and I will read about and discuss with others matters that are important to the preservation and on­going of my country. I will maintain regular contact with my elected representatives.

I will maintain an active membership in my church

         and will not surrender it to the theological radicals, social mil­itants, and other disruptive elements whose presence is only a pass­ing phase in two thousand years of church history.

I will do my part to return charity to its rightful place

         by involving myself in some good work where I personally know the people and the problems involved. I will give willingly and joyfully that others might know the reality of human compassion and concern.

I will be a good steward of time

  refusing to waste it in idleness, unprofitable conversation, or fool­ish and vain activities.

I will say a good word for my country wherever I may have the oppor­tunity.