I have been lucky in life in that some of the doctors I see professionally, are people that I also consider as friends. One is an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist who went to Yale Medical School. My father, son, and grandsons share the Yale name as we are descendants of the Yale family. Another friend, my optometrist passed away from cancer about a year ago. He was a good friend with whom we shared a love for many things including bees.
I have two good friends who are dentists. However, one lives a good distance away, so most of the time the local one is my “go to” guy. This morning I had a visit in his office. A trip to the dentist is normally not enjoyable, however, I am able to make the best of it as we visit about things. He was telling his young assistant about my “former life” as an airline pilot. I described some of the training we went through, and he remarked how important it was to have a passion for what we do. He is passionate about his work and how he is able to help people.
The conversation was chopped up, and often one-sided, as he had his hands in my mouth, but at one point he paused and asked if I felt blessed as he did. I replied, “I am greatly blessed and highly favored.” He paused and looked at me, then said, “You know, I never thought of it that way, but you are exactly right.”
I think of Red Skelton’s description of the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, a nation “so blessed by God.” In all the nations of the world and all the time in history, how blessed was I to be born when and where I was? And what brought the likes of Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and the rest together in their time?
Providence? Happenstance? Coincidence?
We have become a nation of negativity. This past election cycle, and indeed it continues, is full of vitriol towards the “other side.” Even those we formerly would have joined and ignored minor our differences are at odds with us.
I believe this is intentional.
It serves the power structure and status quo for us to fight among ourselves and fail to unify. And please don’t misunderstand me, I am not talking abandoning principles. What we should abandon is a reliance on bureaucrats and politicians to save the republic.
I believe that not only are we greatly blessed, but we also have a much higher expectation placed on us. It is our responsibility to stop talking and “do.” Those of us who are parents understand a child who says they love us and then refuses to follow the rules allows their actions to speak much louder than their words. We have left our “first love,” the way of life and principles that made the WWII generation the “Greatest Generation.”
We readily point fingers at progressives and many of the younger generations as the “Me” generations, but are we really much different? We demand a smaller, more constitutional government, and then scream bloody murder if a program WE like and use is to be cut or taken away.
But I digress.
The reason behind my novel Spare Time was to encourage people to return to being good people-- good neighbors. Social media has given us a false sense of knowing people and being involved. A false sense of self-importance. We can be brave and say things because there is no consequence beyond being unfriended or being scolded by another anonymous blogger.
I mentioned the timing of the founders coming together. I frequently hear our problem now is that “We don’t have a Washington or Jefferson today.” There are a couple of reasons why. One is that they would be eviscerated by the media and social media opponents. Another is, who would be selfless enough to pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor?
In December 1776, Thomas Paine gave a very timely speech, for then and now. The first paragraph follows.
“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. 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. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
There is little difference between what King George and England were doing to the colonists and what Washington is doing to us now. Our nation was not made up of Washingtons and Jeffersons then, but there were enough. We have a more difficult task before us. In the 18th century, most people were personally responsible and less self-absorbed because their daily existence depended on it. Today, not so much.
It is easy for us to post on social media and feel we are “making a difference,” and in the end have less than zero impact on the republic. I say less than zero because in thinking we are making a difference we do not become involved in ways that WILL make a difference. Education, of our children, grandchildren, schools and those with whom we have contact is essential. Find a group such as Founder’s Keep to aid in that effort. Get out of your comfort zone. Are you willing to make the pledge our founders made?
I leave you with a very touching video from the late Paul Harvey. Understand the legacy that was left to us, and the price that was paid. Consider whether you are willing to do what it takes? Are you a “sunshine patriot” or “summer soldier,” are you satisfied with random Facebook rants and Tweets? Do you act as though you are greatly blessed and highly favored?
Cover photo: https://www.flickr.com/people/alicepopkorn/