Freedom is not Popular

Having been to fourteen other countries in Europe, Asia and Central America, I have the right to say that not only am I glad to be an American – PROUD TO BE AMERICAN – but I have the perspective to say that we are lucky to be Americans! Unless you are an immigrant – you are an American because you were born here and THANK GOD for that blessing! There truly is no better place on earth and may I say I am sick and tired of people, especially politicians and news reporters who talk like WE are the scourge of the earth and deserve every bad thing that happens to us. If we are hated, it is because we are better, and we ought to be proud of what makes us better, not make excuses for those who seek to destroy us. I’m not saying we are perfect, but we are not only #1 in the world in freedom and opportunity, we are #2 and #3 and #4 as well. Their is hardly a runner up in what America offers its people. It is no mystery why we have enemies – but it is because we are good, but because we have done anything to deserve the hatred of those who seek to end our way of life.

But before I get ranting any more on that, (!), I wanted to post some pictures from a trip our family took to Springfield, IL in the fall of 2006. Because there are some very important similarities between our current President and the beloved Abraham Lincoln.

Baby Luke hanging with the First Family

Me, discussing the current war with some civil war commanders.

Baby Luke playing outside Lincoln’s childhood home.

Baby Luke trying to sneak up on and stop Booth!

Nice that the pubic restrooms at the museum were authentic!

Did you know that President Abraham Lincoln was a Christian? Do you know who lead him to Christ? Here is a photo that tells the story:

Sara’s Dad, a relative of Lincoln (seriously),
sharing the Peace Track with a young Lincoln.

Baby Luke marked with the Official Presidential Seal!

Baby Luke at Lincoln’s Tomb

That’s grandma, grandpa and mommy
in the background in front of the Tomb.

If you have never been to Springfield and to the new Lincoln Museum, it is well worth the trip. And DON’T MISS the Ghost of the Civil War show. It is amazing, and leaves you stunned and amazed at some special effects that are truly hard to figure out “how did they do that?” It’s better than any show I’ve seen at a Disney park. Simply incredible.

Back to the Rant…

There is something amazing about visiting the tomb of Lincoln. It brings this amazing historical figure into reality – he really lived, and the events you’ve read and heard about really happened. And the thing that I admire the most about Abraham Lincoln is that he did what was right – what was best for American – despite whether it was popular or not. We have the America we have today because this man cared more about his country than he did for himself or his future. The fact that he is so universally loved today often blurs how incredibly HATED he was by so many who blamed him personally for the many deaths and broken families caused by the Civil War that he started. He was vastly unpopular and it was only after his death that many came to understand just how critical his role had been to very preservation of our United States of America.

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Now there is a national monument in Washington D.C., museums, and an memorial tomb and countless other tributes to this man that he never saw, and most likely, never expected or would have sought. (Unlike a more recent President who pathetically talks about his “legacy” – if you have to talk about it, you don’t have one!)

When Ronald Reagan died n 2004 and I listened to the speeches given at his national funeral, it was like living Lincoln all over again. (not that I lived then!) Reagan was also a man ridiculed and severely hated during his presidency. While being mocked and belittled, he also put our great nation above his own reputation or career and nearly single handedly brought down the Soviet Empire and ended the Cold War and brought peace to many other nations while preserving our own. (Doubt many kids are taught this in school!)

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The freedom we enjoy every day, even the freedom to mock and belittle and ridicule our President is a costly freedom. It cost blood. Blood of fathers and brothers and sons, and even mothers and sisters and daughters. The cost is still high and precious. And when Americans forget why we are at war and what our enemy’s goal is and fail to support our troops – they are insulting the men and woman who are in harms way TODAY that we might live free.

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Our current President sees the future with a clarity that few Presidents have in recent years. He understands not only the cost of war, but the cost of not agressively defending freedom; a cost that is much higher. He understands that we must be on the offense, not merely on the defense, and that only by taking the battle to the enemy and fighting our their soil will ours remain safe. Safe even for the critics and the ignorant to whine and complain and wring their hands attributing the painful costs of freedom to our leader instead of to the enemy who takes the lives we mourn and miss.

Is our President perfect? No. Do I agree with everything he says or does? No. Do his idiosyncrasies humor me and his mannerisms sometimes make me smile or even cringe? Yes, but his integrity and courage and steadfastness in the face of a real national threat from outside and power hungry critics on the inside make me proud to be an American and proud to have voted for him and to call myself a Republican.

When I visited Washington, D.C. last year and went around with a George Bush mask on taking pictures of our Capital, it was fascinating to experience people treating me, when the mask was on, with the same attitude and words as they would if they met our President. I had people asking to shake my hand and pose for pictures. I had people literally walk up and thank me and give me short speeches of gratitude, what they’d like to say to our President, were he walking the streets of the city. But, to my sadness and surprise, I also had people hurl insults, make obscene gestures and one man even threatened me suggesting wearing the mask could endanger my life! Most surprising was how many young people hated their president. One group that I got to talk to after they insulted our President, I asked what they were doing and they answered they were touring all the memories. I asked them when they visit to actually take the time to read the memories and to keep in mind that each of the men who now have memorials were not popular in their day but they did what would save our nation over what would save their popularity, and now thousands of people visit annually to see their monuments and memorials, to read their words, and in some cases to stand near where the body of the man was laid to rest. I tried to help them see what what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right. (Something my political science teacher in high school taught me) Indeed, freedom is not popular, at least not what it takes to be free!

A boy asked me, “What? Do you George Bush will have a memorial someday?” My answer was that I don’t know, and that’s not the point. The point is that if he does, it will be because he doesn’t care whether he gets monument or not – he will do what is best for our nation either way. That is the only way to get a monument – to do what is right in the face of severe opposition. There are no monuments to popular men. Only to brave men who boldly do what is right no matter what the masses around them say.

Monuments are only built for unpopular men who do what is right.

As the presidential election season gets into motion – please, I beg you – as one who enjoys freedom and has seen much of the rest of the world – don’t be fooled by empty promises and words that tickle the ears. Listen for the ones who love our country. Get behind the ones who see hope, and a better tomorrow, but those who are willing to be unpopular to do what is right and what is needed. I know it’s tricky to win a popular election without seeking popularity, but it has happened many times in history, and can happen again. Americans need to stay the course we are currently on – improve, adjust, adapt, learn, yes – but stay the course of fighting the war on terror and preserving our great nation for the next generation.

I’m a dad now – I will vote first and foremost for the president who will protect us. Social issues are not as important – without freedom – there will be no social issues. National security is the #1 issue in our country and world and please don’t hand it over to anyone who thinks we should cut and run or surrender when the reality is we are winning and advancing freedom in the part of the world that needs it most and keeping our homeland safe.

Freedom of the press is wonderful, but I wish the press was for freedom. Americans, don’t be fooled by the agenda’s of much of today’s media – many past generations have stepped up to save our way of life, and it’s our turn now.

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Karl Bastian is the founder of, the creator of, and the author of His personal website is He is Big Kid with a passion for equipping and encouraging those who minister to children.


  1. Wow, Karl! That was extremely well said. I agree with you. The silliness of these early “debates” make me sad. National security is the #1 issue, for us and for our children to remain free.


  2. Great post Karl!

    About a year ago I took my family down to Sprinfield, IL after the International Festival of Christian Puppetry and Ventriloquism in Kankakee,IL. Growing up in IL, going to Springfield was a normal thing for my wife and I…but the kids had never been there.

    It’s a wonderful place to visit! The Lincoln Museum is amazing and you really do get the sense of how hated Lincoln was (especially in the gallery of political cartoons of the day). The Ghosts program left me trying to figure out how they did that!

    Lincoln’s tomb is a sacred place. That’s the feeling you get as soon as you enter the cemetary. Something just comes over you. As you stand in front of Lincoln’s casket, it’s hard not to get the sense of how much of an impact this man had on the lives we live now, close to 150 years later.

  3. Let me just start by saying that I love my home country of the United States of America and I am grateful for being born as an American.

    Living outside the US for two years now, has given me a greater perspective, though, on how the rest of the world sees the US. I have a better understanding for the negative comments on the US. Do I completely agree, no. What I am saying is that I understand and am not so quick to become defensive.

    Instead of simply being reactive to negative attitudes towards the US, I think we really need to see where all this negativity is coming from by stepping outside our limited contexts and seeing the US as others see us. Maybe then we can truly start to change perceptions of the US by changing how we present ourselves to the world. Let’s be honest… as Americans we can be pretty arrogant and ignorant of the world around us.

    Again, I love my home country. I think that we should celebrate and remember the sacrifices that were (and are continued to be) made for the freedom of America. I just think that sometimes we get too caught up in an us against them mentality and waste time and energy that could be better used towards building God’s Kingdom rather than maintaining a temporal way of life.

  4. i agree henry. my issue isn’t with how outsiders view us (or media and movies make us look pretty immoral for starters) it is Americans who are overly critical of America that bug me because they have no idea how good they have it here, since they’ve not been to other countries. sometimes our worst enemies are Americans who don’t appreciate the good. we are far from perfect, but we are far from how negative many Americans act like we are. but i wont get going again. :-D

    we miss you here in America!

  5. This post reminded me of a quote I stumbled upon earlier this very week.

    “Patriotism is both a moral and a religious duty. It includes not only the love of our neighbors but of the present and of the future generations.”–Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813); signer of the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War doctor.

  6. I do miss being in America sometimes… especially my friends :)

    I agree, though, that critical Americans are the worst.

  7. Excellent post, Karl. Can I copy it and give it to a few people? Just the other day, I was talking to a teenager who told me how “bad” the U.S. was. Most of her rhetoric had been either been learned at school or from negative media presentations. How sad.

  8. thanks timothy. of course you can share it, that’s what blogs are for! :) if you dont want it shared, dont post it. :-D

    it is sad how unAmerican and unPatriotic so many teachers are.

    American is a wonderful and beautiful place… not perfect, but the freedom and potential for every American is unmatched anywhere else in the world.

    At least in American, this young man has the opportunity to succeed and address the issues he sees. He can be a change agent, unlike in other nations where he might have to just live with it,

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