Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Crisis

As I sit down to write this post, the headline on the Fox News website is declaring that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has agreed to support the Senate Democrats' Health Care Reform bill. He was finally coaxed to sell out for his 30 pieces of silver, just like Mary Landrieu before him. She set the bar pretty high with a $300 million bribe for Louisiana. I wonder if Nebraska did as well. Our tax dollars at work! This brings the Dems to sixty votes, the number required to defeat a Republican filibuster, and send the bill to conference committee with the House. Not a done deal yet, but one more step on the way to a legislative trainwreck of historic proportions. So you can imagine, I'm feeling a little depressed right now.

But I don't intend to wallow in despair for too long. I'd like to share a brief story with you. Last Wednesday night I attended a meeting of the 912 Delaware Patriots. Its one of those Tea Party organizations that have sprung up all over the country. We're mostly a bunch of gray or graying conservative citizens who love our country and are shocked by this juggernaut barreling down on us since the November election. I suspect the most common phrase you'd hear from this bunch would be, "I'm not usually very political but...". You get the idea. We feel like we have to take action to save this country from Barack Obama's vision of Entitlement America. At the end of last Wednesday's meeting, the founder of the group, Russ Murphy, got up and made some short closing remarks.

He said that Christmas was approaching, and this would be our last meeting until the new year. There are a lot of serious issues before us, and it might be easy to get discouraged, but he wasn't going to give up. Then he reminded us of another Christmas season 233 years ago. In December of 1776, the Continental Army was all but defeated. In August of 1776, they had lost the Battle of Brooklyn and had been forced to abandon New York City. They had been in retreat across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Ninety percent of the army that was present in Manhattan was now gone. Many had lost faith in their prospects for success and had deserted. Many more were reaching the end of their enlistment and would soon be gone. Winter was upon them. Morale was low. America's revolution was on the brink of failure. In an attempt to bolster morale and end the year with a victory, George Washington, who was Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, devised a plan to attack the Hessians at Trenton on Christmas night. Two days before that fateful battle, in an attempt to raise the spirits and strengthen the resolve of his army, Washington had the text of Thomas Paine's pamphlet, The Crisis, read to his men. Russ Murphy read the first few lines to our group last Wednesday night. It begins:


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." Thomas Paine, The Crisis

Washington won his victory, and though the numbers were small and the strategic value limited, this minor triumph has gone down in history as a turning point of the Revolutionary War.

Today, we are engaged in another conflict, not with armies this time, but still, as then, with ideas. We don't deceive ourselves that our sacrifice compares in any way to theirs. But as they served their country then, let us not shrink from our duty to serve it now. Let us live up to the example that they set for us. Stay in the fight. Don't be discouraged. Let every battle we lose make us even more determined to succeed in those that are to come. They fought for their children and their grandchildren. Are our children and grandchildren any less important? November 2010 is less than a year away. I am dedicating myself to the goal of taking my country back. I want you to join me in this effort. A recent 912 Delaware Patriots newsletter included a slogan that I am adopting as my personal motto. "I am not just one person. I am one more."

Jess

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