Remembering Thomas Paine and ‘The Crisis’
I had a few subjects which I had intended to write about today–the UN Small Arms treaty is back, so is LOST, there is talk of a VAT and a carbon tax heading our way, and the Benghazi hearings are upcoming to name a few–but I decided to take a different course today because I sense something in the conservative blogoshpere which I feel must be addressed before we get back to the issues at hand.
Naturally, I see disappointment and despair but beyond that I sense that there are many people who are ready to give up because they now think the cause is hopeless and the battle is no longer worth the time or the effort, and while I understand these feelings–to be truthful that is part of the reason I decided not to write about the aforementioned issues–now is not the time to give up the cause. In fact, it is more important than ever to rejoin the fight as difficult as it may be and as futile you think it may be at this time.
In December of 1776 the American revolution looked lost, soldiers were deserting after several losses and General Washington faced the prospect that many soldiers would leave the battle and return home instead of reenlisting when their enlistment was up at the end of the year.
At that point the revolution was in great peril and could have easily been lost but Thomas Paine was not willing to give up so he penned ‘The Crisis’ in an attempt to rally the troops around a cause he knew was just.
Here is the full text of that great article, and below are some quotes from it that I think everyone who is considering surrendering should read first.
Of course we all know the opening sentence of that great work:
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 here is what follows that famous line:
but he that stands by 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. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
The tougher the struggle the more glorious the victory is what he is saying here; if it comes easily we simply won’t appreciate it.
However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet
We tried and we failed last Tuesday, and we need to look at ourselves to see what we did wrong because all though it looks bleak right now it is still not over.
‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before.
Many may be in panic mode right now, and again I understand why, but the mind can overcome this and if it does our resolve will grow stronger.
But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him
I find this to be quite powerful and relevant today. Do not let this government divide us because if we are divided we are more easily conquered and we all saw this play out in the last election, that was Barack Obama’s whole campaign strategy. If we continue to be divided it will invite Barack Obama to continue to hold an advantage over us although none of us is willing to join him because we think his vision for America is wrong.
Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it
We cannot let this loss sap us of our hope that a better country can emerge; we must RISE UP NOW AND REPULSE Barack Obama’s liberal agenda while we still can lest the future generations look back and say we wilted after one big loss.
The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
We might be depressed, stunned, and in shock, but brave men and women use this to grow brave and strong. Do not shrink at this most critical stage, use this loss to regroup and live to fight another day.
By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.
Thomas Paine was writing to men who were fighting and dying in a war for a cause they believed in while we are fighting a political battle and a fight for ideology. While our fight looks bleak it is nothing compared to what these men were going through.
Two days after penning this piece George Washington crossed the Delaware and delivered a stunning blow in the fight for freedom. So I ask you all now which path you are going to chose; are you going to cross the Delaware or are you going to shrink in the face of duty?
The choice is yours, but to quote another famous founding father, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty of give me death!”
I will not stop as long as I breathe, what about you?