Patriotism: The Cowboy Way

What could be more American than being a cowboy? I had the opportunity as a teenager (and a young adult) to live the dream of being a cowboy, and that way of life is still a big part of who I am today.
Some years back, I wrote a patriotic monologue that I think captures the cowboy way of life and embodies the true spirit of America. This was my signature presentation as a rodeo announcer, and no matter where I recited it – from Minnesota to Florida – it never failed to evoke an emotional, patriotic response and a rousing ovation as “Old Glory” made her pass in true cowboy (or cowgirl) fashion. Take a listen.


That’s my beautiful wife Stacy presenting “Old Glory” at a bullriding event in Rochester, Minnesota.

While I’m certainly proud to have been a cowboy (once a cowboy, always a cowboy), my abiding love of our country is the driving force behind my motivation to serve, as I did in the military, and as I now seek elected office. Your support in that endeavor is graciously and sincerely appreciated.

True Faith and Allegiance

I remember well the day I took the oath of enlistment – January 2, 1985. On that day I solemnly swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

This oath is very similar to the oath that military officers take to which he/she solemnly swears (or affirms) that he/she will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that he/she will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that he/she takes this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that he/she will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.

The oath of office above is virtually identical to the oath of office taken by Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen, as well the President of the United States. In each case, the individual swears to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that he/she will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Again, very similar to the oath of enlistment.

However, note the responsibilities the enlisted service member is charged to uphold in addition to supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States. The enlisted man or woman swears to obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over him/her, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

What that means to me is that we are to rely on the sound judgment of those officers above us – military, Congressional, or Executive – to discern right from wrong and communicate that to their subordinates.

Notice that the oath of office, versus the oath of enlistment, does not prescribe obedience to the President of the United States, but does require the officer or officeholder to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Implicit in this oath is that the officer (or office holder) should discern those orders which would be morally questionable or would put the Constitution of the United States in peril. By deliberately obeying an order that is morally questionable or would put the Constitution of the United States in peril, the officer is not bearing true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

All that to say this: I believe the Constitution is in peril and we need officers – office holders – who “will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” We need leadership that we can trust to discern right from wrong, communicate that to those they represent, and stand for the right – whether it’s popular or not, politically correct or incorrect.

The day I entered the U.S. Army – January 2, 1985 – I swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

My oath has no expiration date.

The Importance of Agriculture

The importance of agriculture to Arkansas’ economy cannot be overstated, that being the state’s number one industry. This is particularly true in Arkansas’ First Congressional District. Farmers want to know they have leadership in Washington they can count on to do just that – lead. Not just in word, but in deed – helping to create workable solutions to address the substantial challenges facing today’s farmer.

I derive my livelihood directly from agriculture, as do many citizens of the First District, and it is vitally important that our leadership in Washington take a hands on approach in protecting our industry. So where do I stand on the issues? Following are some links to columns I wrote that were published in Northeast Arkansas Business Today which should provide some insight as to where I stand on farm policy.

Who Am I to Say?

Why Farmers Are Losing the PR War

Taxed to Death – And Beyond

“Step Two” is Step One in Anti-U.S. Ag Assault

Business Acumen Will Save the American Farmer

Bear in mind that these columns were written around four years ago, so a lot has changed. However, there are a couple (Why Farmers Are Losing the PR War and “Step Two” is Step One in Anti-U.S. Ag Assault) that were somewhat prophetic.

Read them yourself and you be the judge.

Out With the Old, In With the New

The following story is an example of exactly what’s been wrong with the GOP – a problem that, thankfully, is being corrected. For 30 years Sen. Arlen Specter took RNC money under the auspices of being a conservative and for 30 years we could only count on him to caucus with the dems. Good riddance – Specter’s defection is only good news for conservative Republicans.

However, the commentary on the late Jack Kemp, while unfortunate and certainly unnecessary, is truly indicative of the total lack of honor, integrity and moral courage of Democrat Arlen Specter.

Here’s the story:

Specter Hints Kemp Died of GOP Agenda

What’s Rainbow Stew?

I’ve never eaten Rainbow Stew, but it sure sounds good to me. I’ve always been a huge Merle Haggard fan and loved the song since I was a kid, and the older I get, the more I realize that Merle was way ahead of his time when he penned this one.

Sounds like some pretty good ideas to me.


Most of us know what Bubble Up is, but if you’ve never sampled rainbow stew, click
HERE for the recipe.