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December 11, 2013                                 Vol. 3:4



bob sittingWithout question, Americans are growing weary of the neglect being shown by our political leaders. As Linwood Bragan so aptly makes the case in this month's article, the only policy they seem interested in is the one that best serves them. Wonder what would happen if they began to consider the "public" in public policy?


Duty, honor, and love of country were once the hallmarks of our society; but, is that still the case. It is something worth considering - as a nation and as the individual citizens who make up this great nation. Where do you fit in on this discussion? 


I hope as you consider this, you will also consider helping us with the work CapStand is doing by supporting our team in the "DC Office". Linwood is doing a great job there and is actively involved in trying to help find solutions to some of the policy issues that are negatively impacting our culture. 


I believe in what he is doing and hope you do, as well. To join me in investing in the work of CapStand, just click the donate button and then click the "Designate Your Gift" option and select "Bragan, Linwood: CapStand Council".




Thank you in advance for helping our cause. Should you have any questions or if we might be of assistance to you in some way you can connect with us by email at:


With Best Regards,

Bob Signature

Bob Waldrep

President, Crosswinds Foundation


PS: If you prefer giving by check designate to CapStand and mail to our administrative office at:


P.O. Box 12143

Birmingham, AL 35203



"Duty, Honor, Country" by Linwood Bragan

"....If you leave here with the word DUTY implanted in your mind; if you leave here with the word HONOR carved in your soul; if you leave here with love of COUNTRY stamped on your heart, then you will be a twenty-first century leader worthy...of the great privilege and honor...of leading...the sons and daughters of America..." - 

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf to the

Corps of Cadets on May 15, 1991



Our military knows and exudes an air of confidence and competence. Even with the occasional reported failings of command or individual service members, our military has for twenty years remained the most highly regarded institution in America according to Gallup polling. And, no matter what one's politics, it is generally agreed; they execute their mission with an unparalleled professionalism and are recognized for their hallmark attitude of honorable service.


The truth is, they do their duty irrespective of the partisan politics, philosophical predilections of foreign policy mavens or profit motives of the military contractors who produce their weapons and supplies. Their motivations are for the nation, the families they have left behind, and their hopes yet to be fulfilled; but even more so for the fellow-soldier with whom they stand shoulder to shoulder. They go where ordered, when ordered, whether to execute righteous relief efforts or failed foreign policy fiascoes.


An example of this service commitment can be found in Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Ty Woods who were killed when the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya came under attack on September 11, 2012. Though ordered to stand down and allow our ambassador and embassy personnel in Benghazi to fend for themselves, these warriors decided to move forward - to protect, defend, and rescue fellow Americans. Putting their own lives at risk, they disobeyed orders and attempted the rescue of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. Duty and honor demanded it; country came first.


They continued their fight defending other Americans until they lost their own lives. They did their duty most honorably. They died in the service to their country and those who served on the "front lines" with them. They fulfilled their oath, never knowing that their heads of state who were ultimately responsible for their mission never took their "3:00 AM phone call" for support or rescue.


Thousands of American men and women have lost their lives, sacrificed their health and their bodies, and suffered physically visible and invisible scars, honorably carrying out their duty to their country. They have done this for over 12 years in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hellholes around the world fighting the war on terror; fighting for a nation whose political leaders seem irresolute and unconvinced of the need to resolve these conflicts and to fulfill their duties to our military and our citizens.


In fact, considering the high standards of our military and its commitment to duty, honor, and country, the quality of our political leadership is all the more disheartening to say the least. Each party points the finger at the "other guy". But, truth be told, there is plenty of blame to go around.


For what supposedly passes as political leadership on the Right side of the aisle, Conservatism seems to be offering no answers just a loud shout of "No!" Republicans are unable to get their house in order. They seem more intent on fighting a civil war than in offering well reasoned and articulated alternatives to the economic, social and medical concerns of a nation staggering through war and economic unrest.


In a confluence of incompetent political opposition, bad strategy, and horrible timing Republicans put aside the call to Duty, Honor, Country and sought to burn their own house. Fortunately for them, in the midst of forming their "circular" firing squad, the Left fumbled and the nation suddenly shifted its attention and focused on the Democrats' problem - the failed beginnings of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare].


Since 2008 our President told us - in 36 separate broadcast speeches that - if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your plan and if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Elections were won on the basis of the reliability of those repeated statements as fact.


Now the public finds out that the rollout of the website is just the latest in a string of missteps, miscalculations, improper, inopportune and illegal manipulations of the legislative process. It can prove rather disconcerting, if not outright enraging to realize you've been repeatedly and deliberately misled.


From the President and their Capitol Hill leadership on down to the local spokesperson, Democrats have been trapped by their campaign rhetoric. The Affordable Care Act suddenly proved anything but affordable. A President who entered office with so much hope, proclaiming to lead the nation to a promised land of reconciliation and reclamation of the American dream for all Americans - instead has returned to the usual politics of division and derision.


But, he didn't ride this horse into town alone. His Republican counterparts have given him and his fellow Democrats ample targets about which to deride them! Where is the duty, honor, and service to country that these political positions demand?


American taxpayers are being left behind by the political gamesmanship played by both parties. National problems remain unaddressed. However, at the same time, campaign contributors, business cronies, special interests and insiders continue to prosper. Unfortunately, that's what we are becoming used to from our national capital.


The transfer of wealth from the American tax payers around the nation to the lobbying, governing, bureaucratic and chattering, classes of Washington has grown at an unprecedented rate. While the nation is roiled by economic distress and downturn, six of the 10 most prosperous counties in America are located immediately adjacent to the national capital.


Housing prices in Washington are on the upswing. Salaries in Washington are on the upswing. Employment in Washington metro area is on the upswing. Rush-hour traffic is increasingly more snarled. How does your area compare to this?


Tom Van Riper, wrote of the DC boomtown economy in Forbes Magazine:


"The economy may still be struggling to break out in much of the country, but not in Washington, where local federal spending has doubled over the past decade, boosting federal agency employment and contract spending. Lawyers and lobbyists have rolled in from anywhere and everywhere. The local unemployment rate of 5.5% lies well below the national average. It's also where median household income levels are the highest in the country.


For the second consecutive year, Loudoun County, Va., a 520-square-mile suburban mass that sits 46 miles from the White House, weighs in as America's richest county. . . .The neighboring counties of Falls Church City, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland all make the cut, giving the D.C. area six of the nation's ten wealthiest counties. All boast median household incomes between $93,000 and $117,000 annually." (America's Richest Counties, Forbes Magazine April 2013)


As most of the nation continues to suffer economically, the DC gang moves along at an unbounded pace that has never been seen in American history. The amount of taxes sucked up by the insatiable desire to spend in Washington has never been greater. And if our political leaders have any idea of the military code of Duty, Honor, Country, their behavior would best fit this, admittedly, cynical and inverted corollary: 

  • Duty to self!
  • Honor ourselves first!
  • Country, after I get mine!

Years ago, George Orwell wrote, "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us." He spoke of military men and women who uphold a noble code - Duty, Honor, Country. To this they always remain faithful. They ever remain true.


If only the same were true of our civilian leadership who, too often, employ their intellect and energies to further their own political interests and enrich themselves. The public having lost almost all confidence in - both Republicans and Democrats - must demand that they return the political arena to a place of honor, where duty is cherished and the country is served.


We too must join in this cause. We don't face a pledge of our life or fortune as the Founding Fathers did when signing the Declaration of Independence. But what if we consider that last concept in the Declaration - Sacred Honor? When did we quit demanding Honor of our elected officials? When did we quit demanding it of ourselves?


Most parents try to rear their children in such a way that they will be a noble success throughout their life. This principle is rooted in the Scripture: "Train up a child in the way he should go,and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (RSV)


Let us return again to the honor and integrity with which we were brought up. As citizens let us join our soldiers and set ourselves to the rough duty of defending our nation's character. Let's first demand of ourselves the integrity that we want, and then insist it be displayed by those who offer themselves to be our political leadership, no matter which political party they belong to. For, these qualities, duty, honor, service to country, are not just for the left or right - they are the sacred obligation of us all.


Change does not come easy but it is necessary. We can and indeed must change America, one heart at a time, one character, one life, one vote. It will require our time; some of our money and most definitely some hard work. But, surely it's worth it.


For in the end, we will truly have returned to One nation under God - for our time and our children's.



Linwood BraganLinwood Bragan serves as the Executive Director of CapStand. Mr Bragan has an extensive background in political activism having served on numerous political campaigns and, most recently serving on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Counsel and Legislative Assistant. He has lectured in 20 states on political activism, finance, organization and elections. He can be contacted at:





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Duty, Honor, Country


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