I was reading the words of Thomas Paine last night from his work The Crisis and it got me to thinking how a piece written over 200 years ago could be as relevant today as it was back then. The circumstances might be different but the concepts are as cogent as they ever were. The first paragraph which I will copy below has a message for our inpatient youth who may think that these problems, that took decades to develop, will somehow be resolved in a week or two or even a month or two. How quickly we have forgotten our own youthful endeavors but for us the time is running out. We can only hope to leave this earthly coil with the satisfaction of knowing we left behind something better, something more compassionate and inclusive.
December 23, 1776
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.
If you take the time to read Paines' entire piece you will note that this was no highly orchestrated American army going up against the British but men from every walk of life who decided to take a stand for a cause greater than their own petty problems. Many of whom were from England itself. If they had the will and the strength to face such a formidable adversary in the dead of winter with less than adequate provisions then I'd say it can be done again. Yet the people of the marches and rallies that are happening at present fail to realize what strengths and resources they may have.
To step back and look at what is transpiring from a distance you see what appears to be the cries of a baby but when that child learns to walk it will be a different story.
What was glaringly evident in the piece is that even though our army of the 1700s was ill prepared it managed to prevail under the worst of circumstances. What it had then and we have now is the ability to solve problems on our own. Ignore it or ridicule it if you will but I'd say it will become a force to be reckoned with.