Think about other dark times in our history … gather strength – and get back to work!
Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying on our backs and hugging the elusive phantom of hope, until our enemies have bound us hand and foot?
– Patrick Henry
I don’t know about you, good reader, but I am tired. I am tired of talking and hearing about politics. I am tired of talking heads on “expert” panels telling me what “most Americans” truly want, or truly believe in, when those same experts clearly have no idea what I think or what anybody I know thinks.
I am tired of losing. I am tired of losing elections, my income through taxes, my country through a trampling of the Constitution, my culture to hedonism, my children’s future through liberalism – and my once energized political campaigners to depression.
When I am honest with myself, since the election there have been times when I’ve had to force myself to write my columns. I wonder if anybody is listening, or if anyone cares about what is happening. Even among those loyal Americans who are reading this and that care very deeply, even among my fellow conservatives, I sense an overall feeling of burnout and defeatism. I know it is there because I’ve struggled with it myself.
But the message I want to share with each of you today, and the message I think Patrick Henry was communicating back in his era was this: Get over it!!
Remember, I am talking to the man in the mirror as much as I am talking to anyone. But do any of us really have anything to be “burnt out” about? When we compare the challenges and sacrifices that we face to those faced by our founding fathers, the soldiers at Valley Forge, the prisoners on the Bataan Death March, or the paratroops and Army troops who shivered and died during the Battle of the Bulge – we begin to feel very soft and very silly.
I recently had chance to talk to a man whose father flew fifty combat missions as a waste gunner in WWII. His father NEVER talked about the war. When he tried to talk about it, he got so emotional that he couldn’t finish the story. This man told me that one day his father did share one of his most difficult experiences. He had completed the milestone of his fiftieth air combat mission, and therefore the war was over for him. He didn’t have to go up again.
He could have caught a flight back to the US, but he chose to wait for his best friend, who was on his 49th mission. When his friend was leaving for number 50, the two agreed that they would celebrate and then fly back home together. His friend’s plane came back to base terribly damaged. When it landed the father knew in an instant that his friend was dead. He had to fly home alone.
“You don’t know,” the father wagged a finger at my friend that day. “You don’t know what we went through. I can’t describe it in words. You don’t know what we went through, so that you could be free and have the quality of life that you have now.”
So what should our generation do? Should we throw up our hands and quit trying to change the government through the legal and peaceful means that were won and preserved for us? Should we dig bomb shelters and buy survival food, and then turn on “American Idol” – and tune out of the public discourse, as we wait for the whole American system to collapse?
I know many of us are discouraged. I know the “mainstream media” force us to compete in a heavily rigged game. I know that we have been, and continue to be, blindsided by the ferocity with which our protections against an intrusive state are being bulldozed, and the way our values have suddenly become passé. Still, we barely know what tough times are.
We have yet to absorb anything like the blows that our ancestors took, while never wavering.
If we learned nothing else at the Conservative Political Action Committee events, we should have learned this: The heart is there. The fight is there in the people. Our fellow political soldiers have not given up.
It is therefore incumbent upon every one of us to fan those sparks to a flame. We have to be our own media. Rush, Beck and Hannity, et cetera are not enough. We must inform our own neighbors. We must cajole the non-participants in our own communities into full engagement and participation.
We have to fight, and then falter, and then get up and fight some more. With or without this or that minority group or special interest group’s vote, there are more than enough people in this country to defeat the nation-collapsing progressive agenda.
Ninety three million eligible voters did not vote in 2012. We must make it our mission to bring those voters to the polls in 2014 and 2016 as conservative voters.
Patrick Henry’s challenge to his countrymen is all the more fitting now. This is no time to let up, no time to give up, and no time to surrender.
Chris Skates is an energy specialist and novelist who won the best historical fiction award from the Christian Writers Association for The Rain: A Story of Noah and the Ark, and rave reviews for his second novel, Going Green: For Some It Has Nothing To Do With The Environment.
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