Photo by Jason Wheeler.
Originally Published: August 14, 2017 6:01 a.m.
Updated as of Monday, August 14, 2017 10:11 AM
Liberty and tyranny. Those were the two words Lt. Col. Allen West said he wanted everyone to remember at Saturday night’s “Guardian of the Republic,” an event presented by the Republican Women of Prescott.
The difference between liberty and tyranny is something that must be talked about in the United States, West said. It’s not about Republican and Democrat, but what each person believes in as the principle of governance and the relationship between the individual and the federal, state and local government, he said.
“That is the philosophical problem we have in the United States of America, but until the Republican Party starts to talk about what liberty and tyranny truly is, they’re going to continue to miss the boat,” West said, stating that the difference between liberty and tyranny is the difference between believing the individual is able to do what they want with themselves and the fruits of their labor and believing someone else in a far off place is the one who makes that decision. Elected officials need to be pressured to make that delineation, he said.
“Tell me which side of the line that you’re on. Tell me when you go to Washington D.C., are you going to vote for and advocate for the policies that allow me to have my liberty, that allow me to have my freedom, that allow me to go out and take care of my family, that allow me to go out and choose what’s the best form of education for my children, that allow me to go out and say I want to be able to provide health care for myself.”
West, who retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel, is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a member of the Republican Party. He represented Florida's 22nd congressional district in the House (2011-13).
People voted into office need to be able to see the difference between liberty and tyranny as it’s a strategic battle, West said. At the same time, children need to be taught civics and what it means to live in the republic that is the United States of America, he said, noting that there are some adults that don’t understand it.
Further, the Republican Party doesn’t know its history, West said, remarking it was established so everyone can enjoy freedoms, rights and liberties.
“It’s always been the champion of the individual irrespective of class because they believe that everyone has equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes,” he said. “Equality of opportunity means you have liberty. Equality of outcomes means you have a state of tyranny because someone is deciding where you can go, how far you can achieve.”
West urged the audience to make sure they’re talking about what they believe in that makes the Prescott area “such a great little piece of heaven.” Here, Phoenix and Tucson are where the fight really is, he said.
It’s all about the next generation and passing on a better place to them, West said, inviting a boy by the name of Gage Lee up to the stage with him. The question everyone needs to ask themselves is if they’re going to leave a legacy of liberty or tyranny for their grandchildren, he said.
“Ask what I did to advance liberty for Gage and this generation. If you’re not doing that, you really don’t understand what it means to be an American. Our commitment has always been to pass on a constitutional republic, to pass on through our DNA that which is liberty,” West said.
He added he doesn’t care what people call him because he sees Lee and those more worried about being called a name than standing up for liberty and the next generation don’t understand the essence of what it means to be an American. “You need to leave out of here tonight with a commitment to Gage and all these other children and grandchildren up here in Prescott, in Yavapai, that it won’t happen on your watch. That one day, Gage will be able to look and say ‘they gave it all for me.”
In the end, a person’s grave will have a start date, end date and a dash in between that either says they fought for liberty or succumbed to tyranny, he said, mentioning that leadership is not about what a single person achieves or attains, but what they enable to others to achieve and attain.