In last week’s column, I wrote, “Conservatives are walking a fine line. We need to maintain our gun rights, our justified anger, our vigilance. But we can’t lose it, folks. We can’t abandon legal and legitimate avenues of change in favor of gunning down abortion doctors or blowing up government buildings. That does nothing but make people furious – with good reason.”
This was interpreted by many readers to mean the conservative side of our nation should wimpily lay down our arms and accept whatever atrocities the left wants to impose. Some e-mails implied we should start shooting now, before things get any worse.
Time to clarify. Let’s look at history since, as Patrick Henry said, “I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.”
The Revolutionary War, as many people forget, was not a rebellion against a foreign government. It was a declaration of independence from our own government. Chaos, discontent and seething frustration built up and tipped the colonists over the edge. Into this fray stepped a few good men: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington … the list goes on.
Now let’s look at today. In Flyover Country, there is chaos and discontent and seething frustration. We have tea parties; citizens arming themselves; and literally millions of people protesting government education, interference in private business and of course massive taxation without true representation. We have a myriad of eerie similarities with the events of the late 1700s. So what’s missing?
Well, how about a few good men?
Consider the immortal words of Patrick Henry, quoted here extensively because every word is gold:
“Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? … They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. … Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? … Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Lost in the romantic mists of time, we tend to think our Founding Fathers smoothly hammered together the documents that forged this country with nary a disagreement. Wrong. It was an intense and messy process that took months. Some might argue years.
To quote the 1963 history series I use for my children’s schoolwork: “As the delegates crowded into [Independence Hall for the Second Continental Congress, after the Battle of Lexington], they were confused men. What authority did they truly have? Whom did they really represent? They had no leader, no program of action, no treasury. How could they deal with the problems of war against the mightiest nation on earth?”
Yet through this confusion came brilliant rhetoric and strong leadership. This is what we are missing today: Leadership.
Perhaps the time is right for a second declaration of independence. But when will violence become necessary? When do we start shooting? I don’t know. I’m a peaceable north Idaho housewife who would far rather kiss boo-boos than shoot anyone.
On the other hand, many of this country’s founders were ordinary people as well, until the moment they realized they must step forward and pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor or forfeit those liberties which, according to the Declaration, are given to us by our Creator (NOT the government).
Only about 10 percent of the colonists were initially in favor of separating from England, and what tipped them into active war was strong leadership. That leadership was an intelligent, far-seeing group of men who had a lot to lose – and thus knew they had to do things right the first time.
Today the left prefers to cast those of us in Real America as bitter radicals or face-covered anarchists. In reality we simply want a return to the foundational roots of this country. What we lack in order to return to those roots – with or without bloodshed – is strong leadership.
And until that leadership surfaces, it behooves us to be Minutemen. We need to continue educating our own children, maintain our firearms and ammunition, strive for independence from government handouts and stay vigilant.
So when’s the revolution? Will it be when we can’t take it anymore? Will it be when brave men and women come forward to lead it? How the heck should I know?
I fully expect that something is going to happen soon. I firmly believe that the only way we will survive as a great nation is to adhere – strictly – to our founding documents. But there are nonviolent methods that must be tried first.
And I still maintain that the way to get our point across is not to murder abortionists or blow up buildings.
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not suggesting we passively lie down and submit to whatever atrocities the left imposes on us. When I say gunning down abortion doctors doesn’t advance our cause, I’m not saying the time for revolution is not at hand. But unless and until we have men and women of strength and leadership capable of rising up and uniting us in our anger, a revolution will fail … or breed something far worse than our present circumstances.
If you don’t believe me, look to history.