As we observe this holiday season, it is appropriate to take a moment and consider what we have to celebrate. We are a free people blessed beyond all others, but afflicted by an official rate of almost 10% unemployed; a moribund economy; national insolvency; and a consensus the nation is badly led.
However, tribulation has occupied our doorstep before. We are, after all, a people born in adversity.
27 August, 1776, Washington’s Address to the Continental Army before the battle of Long Island:
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.
Our future depends, not on the army, but on our will to remain a free and independent people. The pillaging that threatens our time is not by force of enemy arms, but by the iron fist within the velvet glove of the Nanny State.
“The time is now near at hand” when we will determine whether to remain free; whether “to have any property to call our own,” or if “economic justice” will replace the rule of law. “The fate of unborn millions” will depend upon our choices.
According to David McCullough, there is a way out of our present difficulties.
In his book, 1776, he explains how George Washington managed.
He was not a brilliant strategist or tactician, not a gifted orator, not an intellectual. At several crucial moments he had shown marked indecisiveness. He had made serious mistakes in judgment. But experience had been his great teacher from boyhood, and in this greatest test, he learned from experience. Above all, Washington never forgot what was at stake and he never gave up.
“Serious mistakes in judgment” pretty well sums up how we got here. If we could turn to Washington he would likely recommend that we learn from experience, understand what is at stake, and never give up. After all, it worked well for George, and for us.