For the last two years it has been my honor to write for our campus paper. From the beginning, this column, along with my political activism, has made me a controversial figure. As a deeply committed conservative who considers it his responsibility to do battle with the left, this is not in the least surprising.

We live in an era when honesty itself has become controversial. We are told not to speak truthfully or even clearly, but instead in a fashion that is politically correct. These politically correct dictates are anathema to American values, yet many Americans have sadly surrendered to them a long time ago. The price for this surrender has been immense.

Consider the realm of issues where political correctness most strangles the debate-race.

For many at Duke, the last year offered a horrifying tutorial in the moral bankruptcy of the left's politically correct orthodoxy and the corruption of our culture at its hands.

Three of our peers faced a devastating year-long persecution because they were white and their accuser black. Imagine that Collin, Reade and David had been black students, accused of raping a white girl and that they faced a witchhunt led by a prosecutor re-elected thanks to the overwhelming support of the white community. Then imagine this witchhunt was supported by hordes of student protesters, prominent white activists and a large portion of an elite campus faculty, many of them affiliated with the European Studies Department. Imagine also that the University president suspends the almost all-black sports team of which these students are members and fires their black coach. Further imagine that the accuser in the case has continually changed her story from the first night, that there is no evidence against the players, that they've cooperated with the police and passed polygraphs and that extensive evidence exists to prove their innocence.

You think that scenario would have lasted for a year? Try a week.

To understand the lacrosse tragedy as simply the result of a rogue district attorney would be a grave revision with dangerous consequences. Ignoring the racial and political agendas that propelled the case from the beginning, and our politically correct culture that paralyzed the powers that be from stopping it, not only would invite further disaster in the future, but also would mean erasing culpability from those people and forces in our society dissolving the common bonds that hold us together.

As a columnist I have endeavored, as best I can, to stand up for American values and expose those, such as the lacrosse persecutors, who hold them in contempt. In so doing, my goal has always been to change minds and open eyes. I realize that this is a long and difficult process and that there is only so much one can do in two years. I just hope to have shifted the debate a little in the right direction.

To all who have read my columns, I sincerely thank you, and to those who have supported my writings and activism in my time here at Duke, I owe you a true debt of gratitude. You've always had my back and I'll always have yours.

And stand together we must, as this is a perilous time for America. Inside our borders, the nation of E Pluribus Unum threatens to be fractured across ethnic lines by racial animus and divisive multiculturalism. We suffer from sagging patriotism, growing malaise and a loss of faith in the noble history and principles that have made us great. Abroad, we face an enemy the likes of which we have never known, that believes spilling our blood will open the door to eternal salvation.

Yet we are apathetic.

Ronald Reagan's warning has never been more poignant-that if we should fail, "history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening."

From the green fields of Lexington and Concord to the distant shores of Inchon and the burning deserts of Iraq, the earth is stained wet with the blood of American heroes who died in defense of our people, our country and the cause of freedom.

And if the American nation is to survive, and the cause of freedom along with it, then her people must love and protect her. History is filled with great nations now long gone. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

We must remember that America is a living thing, with a beating heart. She is not simply some abstract ideal, but the very embodiment of the American people. Her greatness lies in us. Her perseverance, or her downfall, lies in us.

History has bestowed you and I with a great blessing. We live in a country many would-and have-given everything to be a part of. This blessing, however, comes with a burden, for it falls on our shoulders to preserve the "last best hope of mankind."

Just as it was in our earliest days as 13 colonies, only united can we shoulder the burden. Only united, will our beloved republic endure.

And God willing, may it be so.

Stephen Miller is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Monday. This is his final column.