I’ve been reading a lot about the Revolutionary War while writing my historical fiction novel, Maiden America, which follows a young patriot in Princeton during the arduous close of 1776.
Contrary to myth, war efforts weren’t all that popular as 1776 wore on. In fact, they weren’t popular at all, with the newly-declared states broken up into the following brackets:
· Traditional Loyalists who truly believed in king and country
· More self-focused Loyalists who were in it for their own personal gain
· Average Americans who knew King George III was setting dangerous precedents, but wouldn’t decry him so forcefully when they had other obligations to think of
· Americans who were all-in when the war was popular… but lost much or all of their fervor when things weren’t going so well. (In their defense, things REALLY weren’t going so well by December 1776.)
· Americans who were all-in when the war was popular and still so when everything and practically everyone turned against them... but were certain they were facing a humiliating and all-conclusive defeat (General Washington even felt that way.)
Out of the five categories, that last one was by far the smallest. Depressingly so.
It was in the midst of all that when Thomas Paine published a piece called “The American Crisis,” which starts out like this:
“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 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.”
Now in 2014, we’re once again being overly taxed, overly regulated and disrespected by our superiors. Case in point for that last one is how Obama just told us that Joe Biden would make a “superb” president. If that’s not a sure sign he thinks we’re stupid sheep, I don’t know what is.
We’re also having our borders overrun, with anti-American leaders urging our anti-American president (King George III reincarnated) and anti-American citizens (Loyalists) to “punish those” who protest this exceptionally dangerous precedent. And let’s face it, the rest of us are too brainwashed to know we’re being taken advantage of, too afraid to speak up or seemingly not being heard at all.
So let me take a moment to put Thomas Paine’s “American Crisis” into modern-day language…
The national picture is painfully difficult right now. And there are many among us who don’t want to fight for what’s right, for one reason or another. But there’s going to come a day when those cowards and quitters will have to thank those among us who truly lived for freedom. Oppression isn’t any more easily conquered than the powers of hell, but our successful efforts will be more than worth it in the end. We’ve seen how little we value the freedom we received through no personal effort; this is a wake-up call to treasure what we now have to fight for.
A few brave men and women standing up for that freedom changed the course of history way back when in 1776 and beyond… Today’s America, it’s high time we did the same.