Who Is the Ornery American?

The word "ornery" began as "ordinary." In the days when you were either of the "gentle" class or merely "ordinary," parents would say to their stubborn children when they refused to do as they were told, "Don't be so ordin'ry."

On this website, we look for the voices of those Ornery Americans -- the common folk who don't pretend to be intellectuals or elite in any other way, but who are just stubborn enough to think that we ordinary folk are the ones to whom this nation was entrusted from the start.

1. We aren't impressed by your credentials, Dr. This or Senator That. We aren't going to take your word for it, we're going to think it through for ourselves.

2. We don't like being spun. That doesn't mean we aren't sometimes fooled by the way reporters slant their stories, but when we find out how we've been manipulated, we get a little mad and we refuse to trust that writer, commentator, that magazine, that newspaper, that news network, or that politician again.

3. We think America is larger and more important than our self-interest. You can't buy our integrity with a boomtown economy, and we won't let you shame our country just to avoid risking American lives. We Americans have never been afraid to make sacrifices for a worthy cause.

4. We believe that character matters -- our own character, the character of our leaders, and the character of our nation as a whole. We don't like bullies and cowards, liars and hypocrites, and we don't appreciate it when our leaders make our nation behave as if that were what Americans are.

5. We'll forgive your misdeeds, but only if you apologize sincerely and never do it again. Our trust, once betrayed, is not lightly restored.

6. We vote.

7. We know that good, wise people sometimes disagree. So we listen to the views of others, and have no patience with those who shout others down or use ridicule or coercion to silence serious arguments. Only fanatics and dictators assume that anyone who disagrees with them must be evil or stupid.

8. We believe in right or wrong. Individual cases may merit compassion, but the law must be respected. Along with individual freedom must come responsibility for others. Along with compassion for the minority's needs must come respect for the majority's will.

9. We believe in representative government, with the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution. Judges do not have the right to create law. Presidents do not have the right to lie to, conceal information from, or ignore the prerogatives of Congress. Congressmen must act first for the good of the nation, and only secondarily for the benefit of their constituents.

10. We reject violence except in self-defense or to protect the weak against aggression.

If you are an Ornery American, we hope you'll take part here and invite others to join us as well.

On this website, we welcome serious discussion about events, ideas, leaders, candidates, parties, principles, governments, religions, philosophies, and programs.

If you post something and someone disagrees with your idea, their disagreement does not erase your original statement. There is no need to answer except to clarify or offer new material.

Personal attacks, mockery, or speculation about the motives of people posting here are not allowed, and such posts will be removed without notification. Repeated offenders will be banned from the site.

Personal courtesy is the fundamental condition of free discussion, and free discussion is the fundamental condition of democratic government.