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The debate that exists in American today is a clash between two visions — that of our Founding Fathers who shaped the Spirit of 1776 and that of the mid-century Radicals who introduced the “Spirit of 1968” to the United States. I must give credit to Dinesh D’Souza, author, filmmaker and former college professor, for bringing this idea to light.   

Our Founding Fathers created a way of life full of revolutionary possibilities. Their vision was for freedom and liberty in all aspects of life to include religion and our governmental, economic, health care, and educational systems. They believed in American exceptionalism and crafted a whole-life plan that provided opportunity for underprivileged, ordinary and affluent people, everyone, to prosper.

Vladimir Putin wrote in a Sept. 11 New York Times op-ed, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

The Spirit of 1968 was imported into the U.S. during the Vietnam War. D’Souza maintains that the Spirit of 1968 is about “anti-colonialism” and looting. The premise of anti-colonialism is that the rich countries of the world invaded and occupied poorer countries and stole from them. Consequently, the rich countries remain rich and the poor countries remain poor.

Vietnam became a French colony in the 1880s. Ho Chi Minh got his foothold among the Vietnamese masses claiming that Vietnam had been the victim of theft. France, a rich country, invaded, occupied and plundered the poor country of Vietnam.

Unfortunately, some of our current leaders concur with the Spirit of 1968 and are embarrassed that America is a prosperous nation. The radical left, who dominate the national Democrat Party today, buys into this argument and believes that American prosperity is based on thievery.

America, a rich country, stole to make itself prosperous in three ways. First, Europeans stole land from the Indians. Down with Christopher Columbus! Next labor was stolen from slaves to help the American economy thrive. And finally, as a result of the Mexican War, at least half of the west (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and southern California) was stolen from Mexico.

This kind of thinking leads one to believe that our entire economic system is based on piracy. Your success is the result of what others accomplished and what you took away. Capitalism is rooted in raiding and pillaging. In other words, “You didn’t build that.”

The Spirit of 1968 sees American affluence as a major problem that needs to be corrected. All people must have the same level of material comforts, and the very best way to accomplish this is through the “redistribution of wealth.”

Certain elected officials on the left see eye to eye with that kind of thinking and believe that Americans need to be brought down to a level that is more on par with the rest of the world. Since our prosperity is viewed as a negative, why then do people around the world risk their lives to come here hoping to achieve the levels of successes that America offers?

For 20 years America has been the world’s only super power. D’Souza said, “History shows that once a country loses its pre-eminent position in the world, it never gets it back.” The left seems to be uncomfortable that America is the solo super-power and is attempting to dismantle that status.

Recall the words of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev when he said: “We do not have to invade the United States; we will destroy you from within.” Khrushchev avowed that we can’t expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism, and one day they will awaken and find communism on their doorstep. This is coming to fruition.

The Spirit of 1776 is truly why our nation was born, and the reason our Founding Fathers risked their “lives, fortune, and sacred honor.” We have to resurrect and return legitimacy to the Spirit of 1776. This can be accomplished without the White House, but it takes the Grey House, the Lee House, the Grant House, my house, your house and the neighbor’s house. Don’t underestimate the power of a little army.

The opportunities that our patriots created must be available for future Americans. May they, too, be the architects of their destinies. Let’s breathe new life into the Spirit of 1776. Involved, caring Americans have immeasurable influence.

WILLEE COOPER is a former teacher and military spouse. A Hopkinsville resident, she is past president of the Kentucky Federation of Republican Women. Her column runs on the first and third Friday of each month. Reach her at

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