These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
The immortal opening lines to Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis still ring true over two centuries later. We are again faced with trials and tribulations. We are assailed from within and without.
Terrorists actively seek to kill our citizens without mercy. Innocent men, women and children are slaughtered around the globe by those who would seek to dominate their fellows. It is not just we who are under assault, civilization itself is being attacked.
Our own government lies to us. The denizens of Washington DC seek more and more of our hard-earned wages to finance programs that do not work. That have no hope of working. Programs based on a faulty understanding of both history and human nature.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
The government is handing out fish, it seems as if the goal is to make us all dependent on government. This is completely opposed to the way things are supposed to be. What we should have, and President Abraham Lincoln said it best, is a:
government of the people, by the people, for the people
Bear in mind, elected officials work for us, we do not work for them. We pay their salaries, they are supposed to do our bidding. But they must also operate in a manner which is for the benefit of the entire nation, not just their district. While this is not by any means an easy job, it is an important job. Too important to be governed by sordid party politics and far too important to be governed by whomsoever contributes the most money to a candidate.
Our politicians seem to be for sale to the highest bidder. The back room “movers and shakers” jockey for power and prestige, deciding who will be the latest “pretty boy” to be put up for election. Which candidate looks best on TV, which candidate can parrot lines from a Teleprompter the most naturally, which candidate appeals to the most voters.
Now it’s not all the fault of the politicians. If the voters themselves would just wake up and pay attention to the issues. Would just wake up and look beyond Twitter and Entertainment Tonight to see what is really going on in the country and in the world at large. If only the voting public would get off their butts and understand just how critical things have become.
Are we at the point where all we’re interested in is “Bread and Circuses”? Is this Grand Experiment, this thing called Freedom, doomed to fail? Are we in the last days of the Republic?
There are times when I despair for the future of my country. Is it too late? Will we finally wake up and take back our heritage, our freedom? Will we squander the many lives lost, the vast amounts of blood shed in the past to preserve our way of life? I cannot answer this to any reasonable certainty. All I can do is pray and hope that we, as a people, realize that democracy, that freedom is hard work. Freedom, most certainly, is not free.