I imagine that if you lived among the Israelites at the time they were within the borders of Egypt, the idea of leaving to form your own independent nation seemed absurd. When Moses came from the wilderness, showing signs that he was God’s chosen prophet, I wonder how many people among the Israelites thought what he prophesied would happen was impossible.
And yet, Israel has been freed, even though it took miraculous means.
Many of my fellow conservatives are depressed. They think that we are at the end of this glorious nation’s run, that the best days are behind us. I wish to inspire them by helping them understand what the historical context of this sacred day really is.
Turn back the clock. England defeats the Spanish Armada in the English Channel. Her people spread out across the earth, colonizing or conquering as they go. Among the casualties are some of the most ancient and powerful empires known to man. England stood supreme among all nations, her king and parliament the envy of all mankind. One English citizen is worth one hundred or even one thousand foreign citizens.
Although the Boxer Rebellion occurred long after the Revolutionary War, it represents something of what Americans must have felt. Even China can’t break the bonds of slavery that England had slipped around her wrists.
Americans stood at a unique position before the Revolutionary War. They had something everyone wanted. They were going to be the king’s cash cow, repaying important debts that had recently been incurred. Are we any different today? What nation among nations is most desirable to tax or to lend money to? Why do we enjoy this position? Because our work ethic, our morals, our values, and our charity, make us the most productive and prosperous people in recorded history, even in our depressed state.
When mother England began exerting her influence, it was a small fraction of the people that stood up and said, “No!” The Boston Tea Party represented a minority, extreme position that government leaders were unwilling to compromise with at the time. Negotiations between England and America by our nation’s Founding Fathers was to reconcile the ill-will and bring America back in under the king’s good graces. We wanted to be part of America, at least officially, and we wanted to pay taxes, we just wanted to be considered as peers, not subjects, of the English people.
Things happened rather quickly. I can barely understand what exactly occurred, but there was a dramatic shift in American thinking. “Common Sense and the Rights of Man” was published by Thomas Paine, someone who was no intellectual giant, and even later in life, advocated slavery for the citizens of America ala socialist-style policies. Yet it rang a few bells in people’s minds.
When the Declaration was signed, the signers thought they would all die in the most horrible way possible. Some did not think the war was winnable, but that the protest was important to make nonetheless, because it would put America in a good position in the future, or even that they were bound to represent their people, which demanded revolution despite the fact it was obviously wrong.
The Revolutionary War was nothing short of a disaster. Those who think we marched gloriously to our freedom live under a false memory. We struggled, we died, we starved. It was a handful of miracles that put us on top at the end. Our victory was not as decisive as we had wished, of course. England promised to return, and return they did, roughly 35 years later in the War of 1812.
Our fledgling nation was no paradise. We were poor, starving, petty creatures who fought over the smallest political issues while our currency collapsed and entire industries disappeared. The idea to reform the Continental Congress carried, the Constitutional Convention was formed, and it produced the Constitution of the United States, a document villified and opposed in the most powerful way you can imagine. After the compromise that lead to the creation of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, the constitution was born, and our nation started upon a new era of peace and prosperity under President Washington.
Things were not always rosy. If you think it is bad today, consider other periods of time under the constitution. There was once a time when criticizing the president could get you in prison. There was once a time when people rose up to fight and kill each other, even brother against brother. There was once a time where income beyond a certain level was taxed at 90%. There was once a time when gas prices were legislated, industries were managed from the White House, and gold confiscated.
Things are bad now, but they are simply NOT the worst. We have seen worse times. Much, much worse times. And yet, every time, the people remember their great guiding principle: the equality of man. They repeal those laws and remove from office those tyrants that harm our liberty. When the chips are down, and Americans are forced to choose between tyranny and freedom, they almost universally choose freedom.
America is at a turning point right now. You can tell because there are two sides of the issues fighting tooth and nail. You can tell because we are rapidly changing our policies, one president cutting taxes, the other raising them. This is what the constitution was meant to cause. When the nation is divided, the issues are brought to bear in every person’s home. We must, each of us, decide which side we align with, and fight to protect our right to do so.
When all is said and done, history books will record the early 2000′s as a tumultuous time in America’s history where America had to reject socialism once and for all. Once the last socialists are gone from office, and you are seeing them disappear one by one, we can begin rebuilding this nation on the sound principles of liberty and independence that made us great in the first place.
When I look forward to 2050 and beyond, I see gleaming skyscrapers, cars that hover, robots that keep our homes clean and cook our food for us. I see thousands of millions of people from every nation, of every religion and skin color, proudly calling themselves “American”, and working hard to create an even brighter future for their children. I have hope that my golden years will be a time when I get to witness such fantastic things that my mind cannot perceive of it now. Imagine those born in the 1920′s living today, imagine the things they see and compare it to the farm they were born on, where most of the work was still done by hand and sweat. That’s what our grandchildren will be saying about our time.
I am hopeful for the future because I know the past. We have exceeded every reasonable expectation by such a wide margin. Do you think Benjamin Franklin could’ve perceived that the very poorest among us zoom around in automobiles, or own devices so fantastic as the hand-held smartphone? Do you think Thomas Jefferson could’ve imagined a day when someone from China can communicate by video with someone from America instantly? Or a day when universities are so open that one need simply sit at their desk to get access to the world’s greatest lectures?
If you are still hopeless, then let me share with you my ultimate hope. Remember Christ. Remember that he has already defeated the world and all its wickedness. Remember that he promises to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, that he will descend from heaven in great glory, that all the wicked people will be burned from the earth. Remember that all he asks us to do to ensure this wonderful future is simply have faith, repent, and treat our neighbors with the same love we would treat the Savior. We are not asked to die on a cross or bear the world’s sin. That is already taken care of. We simply need to live by faith. So even if, EVEN IF our nation collapses, and we are in another Civil War, or everyone becomes impoverished, I will still look forward with great hope for the future.