My great great great great grandfather, Adam House, fought in the Revolutionary war. He was sixteen years old when he did it.
But that was a different time.
In those days, people actually believed in something special…something real. They believed in the idea of a nation where a people could truly live free, work hard, and be successful. It was a time of real hope and change.
A government was being formed in which the people had a voice that mattered, a voice that counted, and a voice that would be heard. It would be a government that would be small in scope, leaving the reins of power in the hands of the people; a government that would respect freedom, liberty, and faith. It would be a government that would be formed on the idea that God had given us certain unalienable rights, and that those rights should not, could not, and would not be infringed. It would be a government formed in the shadows of treason, strengthened in the fires of revolution, and given legitimacy by the unwavering grit and successes of those willing to fight.
It was the idea of all ideas, and the sixteen year old son of a German blacksmith and farmer believed in that idea enough to fight for it. He wasn’t a man of power or prestige, of title, or money. What he was is a young man who believed in something greater than himself. He was a patriot.
“Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”
– Edmund Burke
Skip forward two hundred and forty four years and ask yourself if people are still the same. The answer is simple. No…they are not.
In today’s world, you will be hard-pressed to find a thirty year old who pays attention to the politics around him, much less a sixteen year old willing to fight for those politics. You cannot pull a modern day teenager away from his video games or iPhone long enough to even read the Preamble to the Constitution, much less stand up for something as simple and outdated as the idea of freedom.
The “People” mentioned in the Declaration of Independence have grown complacent. As a whole, they no longer exist. Even worse, they no longer care. Where there was once a moral and civic duty to work hard to achieve one’s goals, there is now only taking the effort to sit on one’s butt comfortably enough, and long enough, to receive the next government handout. Where there was once pride and patriotism, there is now only a feeling of entitlement.
To put it frankly, The only feeling I have left is disgust.
I long for the days of my ancestors. I have proudly named one who fought against the tyranny of a kingdom. It seems to be a trend in my bloodline…a trend that I am happy to acknowledge.
So the question now is what do we do?
Do we continue to stand by and watch as our government strips us bare of the liberties endowed to us by God? Do we continue to hide in the shadows of hopelessness, yearning to be set free, yet unwilling to create that first spark to get a fire started? Do we continue to just…exist? Or do we choose to live, to speak out, to be free?
We can stand by and choose to let today feel like the end, or we can step up, step forward, and make today a new beginning. This country does not belong to the politicians. It belongs to us. And, like my great great great great grandfather, I say we take it back.
“In ye name of God amen”
– The Mayflower Compact, November 11, 1620
Note: This is a piece that I originally wrote a few years ago, but still has the same importance today that it had then. A few edits have been made for relevance.