We are our brother’s keeper. The bell tolls for all of us. These very old — and, yes, Bryan, very Christian — concepts really do undergird our experiment in self-government. We all have an investment in the institutions through which we apply these concepts to each other and to ourselves. We have to nurture those institutions and guard them, because they are so very much more easily destroyed than they are to build. And, yes, dammit, we have to pay for them, and we have to pay the salaries of the people who work for them, because we are their keepers, too, and because the bell tolls for them the same way it tolls for all of us.
Resist, then, the forces who tell you that the creation and maintenance of that commonwealth is too expensive or too complicated, or that it is an appeal to a time now lost to technology and modernity and the glories of free trade. Resist the frauds and mountebanks who seek to prosper from fragmentation and isolation, and who tell you that your “freedom” exists in a place outside of that creative process of self-government, and that, in fact, the institutions produced by that process are the enemies of that “freedom.” Resist, as strongly as you can, the people who seek to profit by isolating you in your homes, and in your anger, and in your wounded sense of aggrieved entitlement, and with all your guns.
We, The People. Those words are not an accident. They come before everything else in the document. Yes, even before the Second Amendment, they come, and there is a reason for that. When we commit ourselves to the American experiment — and our military does this formally, but we all do so when we accept the freedoms and benefits of that experiment — we commit ourselves first to We, The People, and the public institutions that are the manifestations of our political commonwealth in our daily lives.
The news is still rolling in, worse by the minute. An entire class of kindergartners is “unaccounted for.” The bell tolls, on and on.