Current Progressive Dairyman digital edition
Advertisement

Just dropping by ... Thanksgiving in our over-stuffed recliners

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 24 November 2018

It is easy to sit in our over-stuffed recliners and watch the news splattered with the carrion of gossip and conclude America is going to heck in a handbasket and there is no hope for the future.

We shake our heads over the slow death of the Constitution and decide there is nothing to be done. We forget Americans are not passive when it comes to freedom. We can look back only a few generations to find those fiercely independent souls who were willing, like Patrick Henry, to say, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

advertisement

advertisement

Our forefathers, the Pilgrims, left England to brave the Atlantic and the untamed wilderness of North America to escape tyranny and bigotry against their passion to worship God. Their concern for life and comfort were a second thought to their desire for freedom.

The Revolutionary War brought freedom-seeking heroes out of the shadows: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Nathan Hale, John Paul Jones, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Richard Stockton and Joseph Hewes, to name a few. These men “mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”

Back then, sacred honor meant something. Like virtue, it was a cherished passion teeming with valor and integrity. They were not chameleon politicians who change color and philosophy to every wind of public opinion. They were firm and steadfast in their purpose and united in the cause of freedom.

They were opposed and ridiculed by their friends and neighbors who were content with the status quo, but they were willing to make the sacrifice. They did not back down or cower when the war looked the bleakest. Washington’s army braved the winter of 1777-1778 facing starvation, disease and malnutrition.

More than 2,500 soldiers died of exposure. It wasn’t foolish pride that kept them going. It was a tenacious belief in an idea. Freedom from tyranny and injustice trumped everything. The hand of Almighty God intervened, miracles happened, and the magnificent idea became a reality.

advertisement

The Constitution was born with the same kind of tenacity and struggle. Dr. Richard Beeman said of the process, “Benjamin Franklin, ever the optimist even at the age of 81, gave what was for him a remarkably restrained assessment in his final speech before the Constitutional Convention: “… when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views.”

He thought it impossible to expect a “perfect production” from such a gathering, but he believed the Constitution they had just drafted, “with all its faults,” was better than any alternative that was likely to emerge (Perspectives on the constitution a republic, if you can keep it).

After the Constitutional Convention, a group of citizens asked Benjamin Franklin what sort of government the delegates had created. His answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Four score and seven years later, another hero stood amid the white crosses of Gettysburg and challenged the people to re-dedicate themselves to the magnificent idea of freedom:

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln)

advertisement

The Civil War brought heroes from both sides of the war. It touched every soul with pain and tragedy, but the Constitution rose triumphant. Americans were united once again in the cause of “liberty and justice for all.” America, united again, would face war again.

First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from July 28, 1914, to November 11, 1918. Contemporaneously described as the “war to end all wars,” it led to the mobilization of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history.

An estimated 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a direct result of the war, while it is also considered a contributory factor in a number of genocides and the 1918 influenza epidemic, which caused between 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. Military losses were exacerbated by new technological and industrial developments and the tactical stalemate caused by grueling trench warfare.

It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and precipitated major political changes, including the revolutions of 1917-1923, in many of the nations involved. Unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War about 20 years later.
(World War I)

The terrible suffering of the people entangled in that war is a testament to the need for heroes to stand up and say freedom from tyrannical governments is a price worth paying.

World War II was nipping at the heels of the ironic “war to end all wars.” Many of our fathers and grandfathers helped to win that war. Their desire to preserve freedom was no less heroic than those who bled out their lives in the Revolutionary War.

Wars have followed wars, and many today stand as heroes who sacrificed their lives and limbs in the cause of the Constitution. We owe them our undying gratitude. Yet we sit in our over-stuffed recliners and stare at the news knowing something must be done or we will lose it all, but we are so bombarded with the hope someone will stand up and say, “Enough is enough” that we are paralyzed.

The war we are waging today is not of weapons and artillery. Radical ideas of tyrannical leaders have the Constitution in a stranglehold. People are espousing a Robin Hood form of government. The rich owe the poor a living. What is worse, everyone needs to be identical, not equal.

Gender needs to be abolished and Christianity squashed because someone might get offended. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are being bombed on every side. The media wields the bayonet of half-truth, and modern soothsayers bombard the world with their opinions without regard to human suffering. Men and women’s reputations are crucified in the arena of public opinion.

Who needs due process? You are guilty until proven innocent. A talking point, whether true or false, is spewed over the airwaves like mustard gas, and we watch the dismantling of our way of life.

What is to be done? We have hope in the same being who blessed our progenitors, even Jesus Christ. This Thanksgiving, let us be heroes sitting in our easy chairs, let us pray remember a proclamation Lincoln gave during the Civil War, which helped to bring the war to a close. Read the entire proclamation at www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm

The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come … In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, … peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed …

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States … last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions … with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.  end mark

LATEST BLOG

LATEST NEWS