Having just read a forum post calling for “radical” solutions to our dire political and economic situation I thought back to a few famous words from our past, a past not all that different from today. The year was 1964, a heated presidential campaign was under way, the country was in the midst of a very unpopular war in Vietnam and Americans feared for both their domestic safety and the very real possibility of a widening conflict against foreign enemies.
So for all those like the author of the post I mentioned above who find themselves wanting action while members of both political parties seek to compromise or do the “safe thing” for their own careers. For all those who find themselves wanting the truth at any cost and a real solution no matter how painful, let us remember:
“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” – Barry Goldwater
Click here to read the entire transcript of the Barry Goldwater Republican Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech – July 16, 1964
On this date in 1917 American soldiers saw action for the first time on the front lines of France.
From that struggle I can think of no more poignant words than this short verse penned by Siegfried Sassoon.
Suicide in the Trenches -
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
I was just chatting online with a friend, Curt Loter, who is currently serving with the US Army in Iraq. I asked him to name a military personality that he most admired. He replied with Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Rogers Clark, and George Patton. I was impressed with the list as my friend is quite young and before that comment I had no idea he possessed such knowledge of history.
But from that list it was Eisenhower that most caught my attention. (Most likely because of this year’s 2008 presidential election.)
The quote below, I believe, is very relevant to today’s political climate. With so many social websites becoming nothing but a home for anti-government conspiracy theories, (such as the US Government secretly blew up World Trade Centers) and with more and more of our citizen being brainwashed every day by what 60 years ago would be called enemy propaganda, I think these words are worth remembering.
“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Earlier today, in much despair over our current political situation, I wrote on another blog: “It’s over. Our political parties have failed us becasue we have failed to understand what it means to be free.”
With this post I hope at least one person reflects on that, and where we as nation need to be if we ever wish to be free again.
“Freedom is not an unlimited license, an unlimited choice, or an unlimited opportunity. Freedom is first of all a responsibility before the God from whom we come.” – Alan Keyes