In his syndicated column of July 4, 2008, Pulitzer Price-winning columnist for the Washington Post and Newsday, George Will wrote concerning the birth of our nation, specifically of those in Mecklenburg County, N.C.: “The impatient patriots here had splendidly short fuses in 1775.”
But now, our current age is described by G.K. Chesterton as “a miserable truce,” wherein “everyone is walking on eggs, afraid to offend and suppressing the truth on account of this fear.”
“We tend to live in egotistically soft, thin-skinned times,” writes Msg. Charles Pope. “The pervasive relativism seems to require that if we are going to believe in something, we ought not to hold it too strongly, because then we might have an ‘agenda’ and actually let slip that we think there is a truth to be upheld and insisted upon.
Even – and no doubt especially so – in anger, “an ordinary and necessary human passion,” the necessary fuel that lights a necessary fire.
In fact, it is quite unlikely that justice will prevail, or truth will be spoken, or declarations signed unless we are vexed and incensed about the injustice or deceitfulness or wrong that should give us no rest until it is made right.
Pope continues, “Rare indeed in the American setting is someone who will respond in a way that both admits anger and owns it as something positive and important, perhaps by saying: ‘I am angry. And I am angry because I really care about this matter. I am not merely a neutral observer. I fully admit I have an agenda, an agenda I passionately believe in, and I experience grief and anger when what I value is dis-valued. Yes, I am angry, and I care about this.’”
Oftentimes throughout history, those who “questioned and upset the status quo and the judgments of those who held power,” writes Msg. Charles Pope, were deemed “unpatriotic, even downright dangerous.”
They were truth-tellers, and no one escaped.
“Most of us struggle with the truth to some extent, especially those of us who prefer a more gentle discourse with large doses of honey and very little vinegar.”
In his article entitled “Activists Not Pacifists” of January 28, 2019, President of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia Allen Whitt writes of the need of our lives to be lived with “the expectation that our armor will become muddied, and dented, and torn, as the enemy’s tactics are intensifying.”
But of our Founding – and sword-wielding, musket-carrying, cannon-firing – Fathers, they had backbones where it appears, apathetically so, many people today have a wishbone.
Theirs was not an age of spin but of spine; not of tolerance and go-along-to-get-along-ness but rather a tea-thrown-in-the-harbor, not-going-to-take-it-anymore toughness for which they most certainly paid a price.
They lost their families, property and lives but we, in our can’t-be-bothered stupor, are paying a price as well: we have lost our minds, and along with it, our backbone, our tongue and, in the process, we are sacrificing truth and freedom.
Now it’s vogue to be vague; careful communications are couched in euphemisms (shields) as opposed to dysphemisms (weapons); and generally speaking we speak in generalities.
Caler la voile, we have lowered the sail rather than nailing our colors to the mast.