I’m the guy who tends to vacillate between the confident smiles when I consider of the historical writing on the wall (Democrats WILL overreach, which guarantees their power will ebb swiftly) and knee-buckling fear of potential irreversibilities (entitlements can NEVER be undone! EVAH!).
Stepping back to examine life’s broader perspective convinces me further that fear and panic are weak and fleeting emotions in the calm, steady face of those forces greater than current political realities and their attendant implications. When Faith, Hope, and Love remain, even if everything else in a man is defeated, his condition can be bettered.
My faith is not in our legislators, my FAITH is in Americans. A national collective reaction to George W. Bush led us to take a flyer in November. We gambled on the rhetoric of hope and change. It was a calculated risk, but it was NOT a declaration of permanent political intent. Painful as it is, Obama will be my generation’s (30 somethings) teachable moment, just as Jimmy Carter was to my parents. But we will pick up, dust off, and move forward. I take comfort that President Obama is as different from Candidate Obama as North is from South. My comfort comes from the assurance that American’s don’t like to look like victims of slickery and bait-n-switch. Faith assures me that regardless of the legislative freak show he foists on the people, nothing is irreversible in America. I don’t believe Americans will accept that we can’t do whatever the hell we want. After all, we were created free!!
I also cling to a deeply embedded hope that things aren’t what they seem. At the San Antonio Tea party,16,000 of my closest friends and I found that hope does not disappoint. My time as a hippie, on the road with the beautiful people, following a band qualifies me to say that the Glen-Beck-loving, Ted-Nugent-cheering throng in San Antonio understood that we were a part of something bigger than all of us, and that participation was as satisfying as show I went to… better smelling too! I don’t believe even Fox news (much less those others) can adequately capture or convey the steady quiet beat of the American heart for freedom. The shrill, parroting voices of our media culture never hear, and will never drown out the steady persistent whisper of freedom loving Americans.
My hope is rooted in the fact that those men who identified the divine gifts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as the philosophical cornerstone of this nation, handed down far more than a quill scratched parchment… they handed us a heritage, a stewardship, a deep-seated legacy of personal and national freedom. It is the ideas and ideals that this great American experiment is built upon that give me hope. That principled hope fosters an active belief that a nation of men who have never known anything but liberty will eventually tire of experimenting with the freedom-pinching philosophical remnants and philosophies that are once again fashionable in far away and out of touch places like Washington D.C. I hope in the knowledge that those most committed to living free are least committed to public quibbles over new-again civic philosophies slipping in and out of academic vogue. No matter how badly Obama and friends wish it: we are not Europeans, and as a national demographic (I love what I’m about to write) we’re closer to George W. Bush than to Barack H. Obama.
Finally, I love this country, and I am not alone. Some of our global neighbors (probably far fewer than we might have been led to believe) undoubtedly “dislike” us and are offended by us. It’s a dark facet of human nature to revile what we don’t understand. They derisively mock us as imperialists cowboys, and they aggressively import our culture every day. They call us aggressors and tyrants because they don’t understand our ready willingness to defend the principles that have made us great, even at the cost of our own sons and daughters. Because we are free, and only because we are free, can we bear the weight of their insults and disrespect as the price of global leadership. To whom much is given, much is required.
Historically, If anything were permanent, eternal, and timeless, it should have been colonial Britain at the twilight of the 18th century. Yet, the greatest imperialist force since Alexander the Great was tossed aside by a poorly assembled group of committed idealists. Those patriots bent the curve of history toward freedom, and they stand today as a faithful cloud of witnesses, urging us on, encouraging us to embrace the concept that only one thing is Eternal: the Creator who endows us daily with the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Legislation can be overturned… maybe not easily, but it can be done.
I love that Glen Beck used “Common Sense” as the title for his latest treatise. Thomas Paine’s inspired patriotism calls us forward to take hold of our inheritance in “The Crisis.” Paine challenged weary revolutionaries, and calls to us today when he says, “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… 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.”
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness will never pass from the American consciousness. Even if it seems they have been beaten into dormancy like a rolly-poley protectively curled, and even if this current administration were to become a force of tyrannical oppression, Faith, Hope, and Love will remain and have their way.
We are Americans. That is enough.