On July 6, 1775, our Continental Congress issued its “Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms,” which included this call for unity “before God and the world”: “Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. . . . With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.”
My last article, “Inconvenient Fact — Our Constitution Has ‘Domestic Enemies’,” concluded: “The point at which we have ‘crossed the [Insurgency Act] threshold’ is a discretionary call that Congress long ago acknowledged belongs to the President.”
The term “domestic enemies” is deeply embedded in American history. In our July 6, 1775, Declaration, Thomas Jefferson and his co-authors observed that “schemes have been formed to excite domestic enemies against us,” and in that context declared that, “We are reduced to the alternative of chusing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. — The latter is our choice. — We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery.”
In the context of what today can likewise be described as “schemes . . . to excite domestic enemies against us,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, wrote an open letter to President Trump on June 7, 2020, suggesting that “the riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances.”
Archbishop Viganò’s letter, about which President Trump tweeted, “So honored by Archbishop Viganò’s incredible letter to me. I hope everyone, religious or not, reads it!,” begins:
“In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority. And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination which places them in a situation of moral inferiority with respect to their adversaries, who often hold strategic positions in government, in politics, in the economy and in the media. In an apparently inexplicable way, the good are held hostage by the wicked and by those who help them either out of self-interest or fearfulness.”
The Archbishop’s letter concludes, “United against the Invisible Enemy of all humanity, I bless you and the First Lady, the beloved American nation, and all men and women of good will.”
In addition to Archbishop Viganò’s call to prayer in the face of our “Invisible Enemy,” President Trump as our Commander-in-Chief should regularly and publicly remind us of the foundational principles that animated our 1775 call to arms, which in an earlier article I described as our American “First Things.” Those principles are enshrined in our 1776 Declaration of Independence, our 1789 Constitution, and our 1791 Bill of Rights.
As a practical suggestion, President Trump should direct all government officials who take the statutory oath to “solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” (5 U.S.C. § 3331) — including but not limited to every Inspector General whose statutory mandate includes “to provide leadership . . . to prevent and detect fraud abuse in . . . programs and operations” of our national government (IG Act, §2) — to take up arms, both literal and figurative, and to live their oath by actively engaging “all enemies, foreign and domestic,” including our “Invisible Enemy.”
Our pledge of allegiance proclaims that we are, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In this light, we can defeat any enemy, even “the Invisible Enemy” described as Biblical by Archbishop Viganò.
The final sentence of our July 6, 1775, Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms is equally pertinent today as we confront domestic conflict and riots, even if not yet officially declared insurrections — especially as we engage “the Invisible Enemy”: “With an humble confidence in the mercies of the supreme and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe, we most devoutly implore his divine goodness to protect us happily through this great conflict, to dispose our adversaries to reconciliation on reasonable terms, and thereby to relieve the empire from the calamities of civil war.”
Joseph E. Schmitz served as a foreign policy and national security adviser to Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The opinions expressed in this article are his personal opinions. Schmitz served as Inspector General of the Department of Defense from 2002-2005 and is now Chief Legal Officer of Pacem Solutions International. He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy, earned his J.D. degree from Stanford Law School, and is author of “The Inspector General Handbook: Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Other Constitutional ‘Enemies, Foreign and Domestic.’” Read more reports from Joseph E. Schmitz — Click Here Now.