About You
The Challenge
“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”
-Patrick Henry
Before you start thinking “Sure, things aren't looking good now, but give it time. I'll just close my eyes long enough, so maybe when I open them, things will be better. After all, somehow things always work out. I mean, there are people who work on this sort of thing . . . aren’t there?” consider these words from Patrick Henry:
"Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it…"
Maybe you like what you hear but just can't find a way to become involved. Consider Mr. Stevens' experience:
"For almost two decades, I have been told by those who have seen the evidence, and every year watch it accumulate more, that they support the cause but can supply nothing to it other than well wishes. “I am busy earning a living - I have much business to attend to - I have other interests that presently occupy me - I just don’t have any energy right now - At this time my efforts must be directed solely upon my family. But I wish you well in your endeavors. If you should get to where you are going, please give me a call. I’d love to live in such a way, especially if it comes with a job and steady income.”
Or perhaps you're thinking“ What can a handful of people do to bring about change against such powerful economic interests?” Again, Patrick Henry:
"They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?...Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?"
We believe that many people talk and walk this way because they fear the change they yearn for. This double-mindedness could be expressed as “God forbid that any wave should ripple my pond and rock the boat.” This is unrealistic and childish. In this regard, people have given up parenting themselves, fictitiously putting government in that place and resorting to distractions (television, i pods, catalogs, malls, sports, concerts, video games, and public events) more fit for the adolescent mind. As journals and newspapers fill up weekly with political debates about government this and government that, we have become a nation of quasi-citizens who point the finger and complain about what “they” are doing to us or not doing for us.
Such magical thinking is not only wasteful, it is dangerous. As far back as 1992 Mr. Stevens said:
“I tell you now, that when the time comes—and it must shortly come—of the collapse of either our ecology or economy, which ever one shall precipitate the other, then we shall have no power to do anything. A starving man has no energy to plow a field, nor can he bide the time for planting and patiently await the season of harvest. He will dead before then.”
Most people are aware that back in 1775-1776, the Founding Fathers knew they couldn't afford to wait any longer, so they took action. What they don't know is that they actually constituted a small minority of colonists. (Why do you think Patrick Henry was making those speeches?) So before you think that you don't have the time, energy, knowledge, means, or wherewithal to get involved, consider this: Can you really afford not to?