Acts Of Manliness

My internal monologue gone external. Thoughts and ideas put on paper regarding the dearth of true heroes in the world; liberty & freedom; my responses to current trends and tragedies as well as commentary about the State of the Union.

Dusting it off….

After taking nearly a year’s hiatus from writing and musing in written form, I’m looking forward to putting pen to paper again soon.

Or, I guess, fingers to keys.

Tales from the Radio

I just started a new blog about my life and experiences as a 911 operator and dispatcher over the past decade.  Check it out at Tales from the Radio and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!

What Could I Do?

A week ago today, tens of thousands of people were gathered around one of the most storied athletic events in American history: The Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon is the premier long-distance running event in America and attracts many of the best endurance athletes in the world.  These folks are at the pinnacle of distance running shape and conditioning, having dedicated countless hours to their craft.

As the 2013 edition of the Boston Marathon was winding down, the elite athletes having crossed the finish line hours earlier, an event happened that no athlete could have possibly trained their body to handle: two bombs were detonated near the finish line.  These bombs, timed for near-simultaneous detonation, were placed just along the race course, near the finishing line.

As the smoke cleared and people started to recover their senses and realize what had just occurred, a thought entered everyone’s mind, a thought that united elite athletes, weekend warriors and couch-potato spectators alike: SURVIVE!

Everyone had the same flight or fight reaction in their bodies.  While many heroes emerged from the carnage and ran toward the danger even as the echoes from the blast were diminishing and the smoke was still heavy in the air, others ran away from the danger as fast as their legs, well-conditioned or not, would carry them.  These reactions are what our bodies are primed to do.  Some are warriors who, through training and mindset, rush toward danger to do battle with the enemy.  Others are not.  These are the people who I would like to speak of for a moment.

When faced with danger, many people do the first thing that comes naturally to them: they flee.  It’s a natural response and untrained and unprepared people should not be thought less of for doing this in times of extreme crises such as this.  Every fiber of their body screams at them to run away from the danger, to evacuate to a place of safety.

As I watched my TV screen from the safety of my living room on the other side of the country, I was amazed at the courage of the first responders, the soldiers, the doctors, and the civilians who went into harm’s way to help.  At the same time as I watched heroes in action, I was also watching others scramble away from the blast zones.  I saw people running, I saw people walking, I saw people carrying children and, eventually, I saw people carrying adults.  They carried them, they dragged them, they pushed them, and they pulled them in wheelchairs and in gurneys.  For the first time in Boston Marathon history, everyone was a participant.

I could not, under the best of circumstances, run even one mile without stopping for air.  I have no doubt that, if I had been at the scene of that horrific incident, I would have been of no use to anyone.  I likely would have not been able to pick up another adult and carry them to safety.  I likely would not have been able to carry my two children much more than a block or two away from terror.  In a terrifying revelation, I came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t be able to save anyone, much less myself, from anything.

You see, I am a happily married man who is the father of two very young children.  I work at a desk for twelve hour shifts from six pm to six am.  And I like to eat.  Oh boy, do I like to eat.  I’ve tried various diets over the years and had varying levels of success with them, but inevitably I end up putting the weight back on.  I have begun various exercise programs, ordered more health and fitness items from infomercials than I care to admit to and yet I still struggle with my weight and conditioning.

After watching events unfold in the days following the bombings in Boston and the ensuing manhunt, I began to seriously contemplate what would happen if I was in a similar situation.  My inner narcissist kept telling me that I would be fine and I would probably save lives with my heroic feats of strength and physical awesomeness; but my inner realist kept telling me that I would probably just fall over and die from a heart attack.  Then, after I fell over onto the ground, my small children, truly helpless, would be trampled by the crowd or picked up by some evil doer and sold into slavery, or worse.

Yet there I sat, with the TV remote in my hand, my smart phone in my other hand, my laptop on my lap and usually a large soda next to me, accompanied by some random unhealthy food in a staggeringly unhealthy portion.  I sat there, and I sat there, and I sat there.  Eating and drinking and repeating.  It was like the joke about why the blond never leaves the shower: because the shampoo bottle says lather, rinse, repeat.

Then a picture surfaced showing a man running while carrying what I can only assume is his daughter.  Neither of them are wearing shoes, yet there he goes, doing what he must in order to keep his child safe.  I saw this picture and in it found the impetus needed in my mind to finally kick the tires and light the fires.  I saw a man doing what I could not if I were in his shoes (no pun intended).  That one picture has done more to motivate and inspire me toward a healthier and fitter life than anything before it.

(Photo used without permission, borrowed from the New York Daily News)

I have spent the last several days reading and learning, watching and downloading.  Trying to figure out what my fitness and conditioning goal should be has taken me up one road and down another.  Those guys who are power lifters are incredible, but my wife saw a picture of one and said, “Yuck!”  The runners who excel at long distance running?  They look pretty frail, almost as if they could be blown over in a light breeze.  After spending entirely too much time thinking and planning I realized that I was actually failing to do anything.  And that was exactly what I had been doing all my life: nothing.  So, with that shift in thinking, today will be different.  Today, I will do something.  

My food today had fewer than 15 grams of carbohydrates in it and, as I have so many other times, I didn’t supplement it with any sugary snacks throughout the day.  Every time I had the urge or the craving to shove a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Snickers bar down my throat I thought: what is the cost?  Is it worth my life or the life of my child?  Even if I am never faced with the extraordinary challenge of saving another human by carrying them to safety, would the net effect be any different if I were to have a heart attack or stroke and die in my early 30′s?  I don’t fear dying, but I do fear leaving my children before they are equipped to deal with the world.  How selfish is it of me to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, without regard for anyone else.  This is not just my life and I am not the only one with an interest in it.

This morning, as my shift ends, I will set out on a new endeavor: for the first time in my life I will be attending a fitness class in which I will be an active participant.  I will listen, I will learn, and I will slowly but surely burn off every single calorie and ounce of fat and illness that I carry with me.  I have no particular fitness goal in mind, other than being healthier and more capable of helping others.  At 5’11″ tall and weighing 285lbs I am a prime candidate for all manner of horrible illnesses.  Where will I be a year from now?  I don’t know, but what I do know is this: tomorrow I will be healthier and more capable than I am today.

I will be using using a several mobile apps to help me in my quest for a healthier life and will post updates here and on Twitter routinely.  Making this public is more for me than for anyone else.  Public knowledge and accountability are great motivating factors for me and by sharing updates with whoever decides to drop by, I hope to keep moving forward.  I will neither flag nor fail, for if I do, it may not be just me who suffers.

 

Today’s acts of manliness:

1) Show up fit, for you may have to fight

2) Running away is always a good skill to have

 

I will never hear my little boy say, “I love you, daddy.”

I was speechless and I was devastated.  I was broken inside when that thought first came into my mind and echoed there for what felt like an eternity.  Yet it wasn’t I who was speechless.  It was my son.  My little boy.

As I drove home from work a little over a year ago my wife, Jennifer, called and delivered to me news that would break any parent’s heart: our son probably had what we would later learn was called Childhood Apraxia of Speech, or CAS.  CAS is a motor speech disorder in which the developing brain is unable to create a pathway to communicate with the jaw, tongue and lips.  In essence, while a child knows what they want to say, the ability to deliver that message from the brain to the mouth is interrupted.

Will we ever talk about cars, or space, or God?

Little is known about why CAS occurs or who it chooses to affect.  However, what is known is that on occasion, some children never develop the ability to speak clearly or articulately.  They live with speech impediments and, in extreme cases, never speak at all.

When Jackson was only a couple months old my wife and I noticed that he wasn’t babbling or jabbering the way we thought he should.  His “baby talk” was missing certain sounds and he never really developed the ability to create certain combinations of consonants and vowels.  Frequently he would substitute one sound for another, using the language development that he did have in place of the proper and correct sounds.  Silently we both wondered, what was wrong with our precious little boy?  Why wasn’t he talking and babbling the way other children his age were?

I will never hear my little boy say, “I love you, daddy.”

These silent fears were easily explained away as, in our joy as parents, we simply overlooked any issues.  I would say to myself, “Oh, he’s just taking a little longer to develop than other kids.” Or, “It’s not a big deal; his older brother was a late talker, too!”  In my desire to be the father of “just another normal boy”, it became easy to justify and rationalize to myself why he wasn’t talking and developing speech at the rate that he should.

At his two year annual physical, Jackson’s pediatrician recommended that we explore speech therapy as a way to develop and nurture his speaking ability.  At that time we weren’t sure what was causing his delay in speech and neither was his doctor.  The pediatrician mentioned that there were any number of causes for a delay in speech development and Jackson could likely benefit a great deal from it.  In every other way he was developing perfectly: he was right where he was supposed to be on every chart from height and weight to physical motor skills to his cognitive abilities.  Jackson clearly understood things that were being said to him and was able to do all the things other children his age could do: he could follow directions, he could pick out objects that were spoken about in books, he could feed himself, he could run and jump and play with the best of them and he could throw some tantrums to make any other toddler jealous!  What he was lacking however, was the ability to articulate what he so clearly wanted to say.

When, oh when, will you tell me that you don’t like eating broccoli?*

As Jackson was growing older and he was exposed to other children his age we noticed that often times he would play alone and not join in with the larger groups.  At the mall play areas and on the playground, he was always on the other side of the jungle gym from the crowd and if the group would move in his direction, he would deftly and quietly move away from them.  He never cried or whined about it, he just nonchalantly drifted the other direction.  As we would watch from a distance my wife and I would reason to ourselves and one another: “Oh, we’re both introverted people and always the wall flowers in crowds, Jack is just uncomfortable in large groups, too.”  It became easier and easier to explain away why it was that he never seemed comfortable around other children.  Even as they laughed, played and hollered in glee, Jackson would quietly climb and jump and slide, never joining in the group as a whole.

In a one on one environment or in a group of people that Jackson was familiar with, he would communicate by pointing and grunting.  We, the adults in his life, would then begin a grand guessing game, trying to figure out what it was that he wanted.  “Do you want juice? Do you want to read?  Do you want to get another toy?”  and so on until he nodded his approval after we finally guessed correctly at what it was that he was wanting.

I will never hear my little boy say, “I love you, daddy.”

We began to introduce sign language to Jackson and he readily learned, picking signs up quickly and using them to great success.  It was clear to us and to the doctor that his understanding and reasoning was excellent.  Why then, would he not talk to us?  Didn’t he know how much I longed to hear him tell me that he loved me?  Why, oh why, oh why, won’t you talk to me, Jackson?  My son, I want so badly to hear your voice!  Just once, I would pray, just once to hear him say, “good night, daddy” or “more juice, please, mommy!”

Instead, the only words that we heard were those that easily indicate frustration or anger.  Those words that, as my wife and I learned, came from a different place in the brain.  Jackson could say “no” very easily.  He could also yell and cut loose on us with a tantrum of all sorts of consonant and vowel combinations in his frustration and anger.  Why then, we would wonder, can he not use those combinations to form words and complete sentences?

Are you ever going to be able to ask to watch Toy Story for the sixteenth time this week?

As we began to look for a speech therapist for Jackson we also began to learn about how speech and language development worked in the human brain.  While I silently fumed at the world about how unfair it was that my son couldn’t speak, my wife began to read about language and to educate herself on early childhood development.  Her innumerable hours combing the internet and speaking with speech language pathologists found her some of the answers, which she patiently and lovingly relayed to me.  She told me that when a person or child is upset or frustrated, the communication that is able to be channeled outward in loud outbursts or yelling comes from a different place in our brain than does the language that we use for effective communication.  When we yell or scream in anger, rage, sadness or frustration, those words take a different path to exit our mouths than the language that we use to speak to one another in normal conversation.

During Jen’s quest to find the best speech and language development training for Jackson, she found Birth to Three.  Birth to Three is an organization in King County, Washington that specializes in children who have developmental delays from, as the name says, birth to the age of three.  After an initial consultation with several speech language pathologists (SLP) which involved them talking to and with both Jackson and us (which he saw as lots and lots of playing) a learning plan was developed.  Jackson would meet with an SLP twice a week and she would begin to work with him, coaching him and teaching those parts of speech that he was struggling with.

Just say train!!!!  Why won’t you say train?  Why do you say choooo chooooo?

His SLP began coming to our home routinely and would work with him in all manner of ways.  Primarily by playing with toys she began to coach Jackson in how to formulate sounds and words.  It was incredible to watch, and in turn, learn how the development of speech happens.  Those words and sounds that we both use and misuse so many hundreds and thousands of times per day all must begin somewhere and some place.  Jackson, after nearly two years, had not developed many of the tools of speech that we take for granted every waking hour.  Most of us grow, and in the earliest and most formative of months of our lives we watch those around us speak and watch how their mouths and lips move in order to formulate sounds and words.  Jackson, however, had watched all of this, seeing his mom and I talk, listening to his grandparents speak, his brother telling him how much he loved him and yet, he had not been able to make his mouth work the same way.

Imagine how immensely frustrating a process that must have been!  To know and to understand so clearly what it was that you wanted to say yet to be so utterly helpless to communicate back to those who are around you.  Jackson knew what it was that he wanted to say, but was helpless to say it.  He knew by sight what everything was but couldn’t speak the word itself.  As he tried to adapt and make do in the world around him he began to substitute sounds for words: when he saw a dog, he would say, “Woof woof!” or when he saw a car or truck he would say, “Vrooooom!”

Will we ever be able to talk about why the designated hitter is a bad idea?

As he worked with his SLP he began to develop the building blocks of our English language and began to use them.  Jen and I were delighted to see him learn and grow and to use his sounds more and more proficiently.  Yet the process was agonizingly slow.

Then came the news.  While at our home on her routine visit, Jack’s SLP shared with Jen her concern.  She tried in every way to let us know that it was something that could be dealt with via sufficient intensive therapy sessions, but she was concerned that Jackson’s speech delay was something greater than the normal slow-to-speak issue common with young children.  Her thoughts were that he could possibly have Childhood Apraxia of Speech, which differs from normal speech delays in that it will not go away on its own.  CAS is a condition that he will carry with him forever and will, likely, always have some effect on his life.  Jen asked, as every parent would, what this meant.  She shared with Jen that in some cases children have never developed the ability to speak normally.

The meeting ended at the normal time and Jen promptly called me, nearly in tears.  I could tell instantly that something was bothering her a great deal, and she relayed to me what she had been told.  I asked what the end result could be.  When she told me, my first, and only, thought was:

I will never hear my little boy say, “I love you, daddy.”

What kind of unfair world was this, I asked myself.  Inside I raged and seethed, not knowing what to say to my wife.  I don’t recall what, if anything at all, I said.  I simply remember arriving home and hugging both my wife and son as I had never hugged them before.

After spending a few selfish hours wondering why me, why us and how are we going to deal with this situation, reality began to dawn on me.  Why was I feeling like this was the end of the world?  It’s not like my son had been taken from us.  No, he was the same little boy that he had been earlier in the day and he was the same little boy that he was always going to be.  And my wife and I now had a quest.  We had a mission and we now knew what the enemy was.  All that remained was a strategy of how to defeat this dragon that had arisen.

When will he be able to talk with me?

Now armed with a preliminary set of information, we set about learning everything we could about CAS.  We read and read and read, we asked questions and we scheduled appointments.  We took Jackson in to his pediatrician who spoke with us openly and frankly and gave us some great peace of mind when he told us that he had never had a CAS patient who never spoke.  Every single one of them developed speech and language skills through vigorous therapy and practice.

So practice we did.  At home, at grandma and grandpa’s house, at Target, in the car, and in line at the super market, we would work with Jackson, coaching him in his language development.  No longer would pointing and grunting be sufficient, we were now on a mission to help him develop beyond the CAS limitations.  Our overall goal was to help him learn the skills he would need later in life to function fluidly in this bitter world.  The last thing that the world needed was a gap in his armor in which vulnerabilities could be exploited.  Life can be hard enough without giving some ignorant fool the ammunition with which they could hurt him.

I will never hear my little boy say, “I love you, daddy.”

We increased Jackson’s speech therapy sessions to three times a week, extending the sessions from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and at home we worked and worked and worked.  Some days went better than others.  There were days where he was either too tired to really work hard pronouncing things and his frustration would show.  On “school days”, as we referred to the days when he had speech therapy, we would bring him home and he would be exhausted; sometimes so much that he was asleep before we had buckled him into his car seat.  But the progress he was making was incredible!

By this time Jackson was attending group speech therapy classes at Holly Ridge Center in Bremerton, Washington.  How they changed his life!  Through patient and exhausting classroom sessions, the teachers and instructors worked with Jackson and other children his age at mastering the basics and fundamentals of speech.

Will I ever hear you read me a story, son?

Slowly his vocabulary grew.  From five words to ten words, and then to twenty, and then to forty, and then fifty!  As Jackson learned to speak new words, one at a time, he would first form them slowly, hesitantly.  There were some words that he would speak aloud just once, then it would disappear into the recesses of his mind for a day or two, sometimes a week.  Then, suddenly, BLAM!  There it was, in regular, every day usage.  It was as if he had to try it out once or twice, then internalize and study it and figure out the right time to surprise me or Jen or his grandparents.  And surprise us he did!  Over and over he brought out new words, adding to his repertoire words that were slowly increasing in difficulty.  Multiple syllable words, of course, being more difficult for him to master than one or two syllable words, they were few and far between in the beginning.  Now though…..

Now, he just won’t stop.  He’s a diesel engine: slow to warm up and get running, but once that fire was lit, it never died.  Jackson is now speaking in near full sentences and can make himself understood by complete strangers, some of whom will never know that they encountered a child with a speech delay.  His hard work pays dividends every single day and it is amazing to watch him smile as he knows he is able to communicate better and better with every speech therapy session and every new word he learns to say.

I will never hear my little boy say, “I love you, daddy.”

There are words and sounds that Jackson still struggles with, but he doesn’t back down or shy away from any challenges.  He tries and tries and tries again to find just the right placement for his tongue, how to align his lips in order to make that oh so small change necessary for the right sounds to come out in the right order.  He’s always surprising us with his ability to learn and master new things, and when Jen or I worry about something, he’s quick to use his new favorite phrase, “No worries mom, no worries!”

So, in the end, it really is about no worries.  Jackson is going to be just fine.  He’s going to learn to adapt and overcome whatever it is that life sees fit to throw his way.  This dragon that he has stared right in the eye and still fights against will lose to him.  His tenacity and work ethic are being formed and refined even now, just as his speech is developing.  As he learns and grows, he teaches me every day to never under estimate what a three year can do.  If he can overcome this at such a young age, what will he overcome next year or ten years from now?  How about twenty?

Son, why won’t you tell me “Good night!”?

Three days ago as I prepared to leave for work, Jackson came up to me, as he often does, and smiled.  I paused for a moment and looked him in the eye and asked him, “What do you need, bud?”  I was expecting him, as he does most times, to ask me for juice or to watch Mickey Mouse or for some popcorn.  I was perplexed as he didn’t say anything at all.  He just stood there, looking up at me, smiling.  I knelt down and looked into his eyes and, as he maintained the biggest grin I’ve ever seen, he said to me, “I love you, daddy.”

I have heard my little boy say, “I love you, daddy!”

 

 

*Jackson loves broccoli

Today’s act of manliness: Persevere, no matter how hard those days are.  And always remember, “No worries!”

 

To My Daughter

Oh how I love you, little one.

I fear for you.

I worry, I cry,

and I wonder: why?

Why was I the one

who God so richly blessed?

Why am I the one

to whom you give such blind trust?

If you only knew, my dear

how every day I fear.

How will I protect you?

How will I guide you?

How will I teach you?

When I have yet to find my own way.

Your laugh, your smile,

your blond curly hair.

Your big blue eyes

and that freckle on our left feet that we both share!

So alike,

yet still so unique.

When first I held you in my arms

one June day not so long ago,

you looked into my eyes

and were the greatest gift

that any man could hope to receive.

Your laughs, your giggles and your squirmy little squeals.

These are the sounds

that I love to hear.

You are a miracle, my precious little girl.

Your smile shines brighter than this whole world.

I take this pledge, this vow, this solemn promise.

To do my best to earn your love,

each and every day.

To tell you how much you mean to me,

in everything I say.

Always remember, my sweet little girl:

When you are sad, and when you are lonely,

I was there from the beginning,

and I will never leave your side.

When your heart is broken

and people are at their worst,

You are my little girl and I loved you first.

Today’s acts of manliness: love your children unconditionally, for it is how they love you.

To My Congressman and Senators:

Senators Murray and Cantwell and Congressman Kilmer,

In the hours to follow my penning this letter to you, it is possible that the landscape of America may be changed forever.  And not for the better.

President Obama has made it clear that unilateral action in the form of an Executive Order is, to him, an acceptable course of action regarding the disarmament of the Citizens of the United States of America. 

This idea cannot be entertained, tolerated or allowed in any way, shape or form.  You, Senator Murray, are our elected voice in the government of the United States.  Mr. Obama represents a separate yet equal branch of the government.  It’s all about checks and balances and this type of misguided attempt at singlehandedly usurping the natural rights of all people is exactly why the Founders framed this nation as a Republic, not as a monarchy.  Consequently, they laid out the Bill of Rights which made quite clear those Rights that they feared would be trampled first and, by name, enumerated them for all to see and hear.  There can be no mistaking why they saw fit to provide us with the text of the Second Amendment: it is not about target shooting or hunting, it was expressly articulated to protect the people from an oppressive government.

Senator Murray, I urge you to stand with the citizens of the United States and make your voice heard loudly in the halls of the Capitol: there will be no disarmament of the American people.  To this end, there should be no further restrictions placed upon magazine capacity, cosmetic features, or types of arms allowed to be built, sold or imported.

Gun control, as it is incorrectly called, is yet another step down the road toward tyranny.  When governments forget where their power is derived (from the consent of the governed ie, the Citizens) and begin to pass laws and decrees depriving their citizens of their natural rights, they begin to tread dangerously. 

I do not want any sort of rebellion or revolt to occur in this great land of ours.  Unfortunately, with the recent declarations and usurpations that have been handed down from on high (read: Washington, DC) I fear that there are those in this country moving toward that end.  People will not stand idly by as the Republic is systematically looted and turned into yet another Marxist and socialist state.  The Declaration of Independence makes it quite clear that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.  Ma’am, I fear that we are dangerously close to crossing the line in the sand that delineates light and transient causes from absolute Despotism and tyranny. 

The history of the present President of the United States of America is building a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

You were elected to be the voice of the people in Washington.  Please be that voice and make yourself heard.  Do not allow yourself to be overridden by another branch of the government.  Be the check and balance that offsets the current holder of the office of the President.

I will continue to make my voice known to you and to the other representatives of our great state of Washington, for it is my earnest belief that change is best accomplished through a polite and proper discourse and dialogue.  Hopefully, with luck and God on our side, we can effect a positive change in the halls of our government and correct the wayward course this country seems to be spiraling toward.  Maybe, in the course of a generation or so, we can restore this country to the greatness that it once held and restore the liberty and freedom the citizens are owed by their natural and unalienable rights.

Respectfully,

Matthew Brooks

 

Today’s acts of manliness: when fighting for a righteous and just cause, don’t back down

Enemy of the State

Distressed Tattered-flag

Bill Keller in his blog at Eastern Iowa Firearms Training expounds upon his view of things.  It is well worth your time to read his words, as I believe there is a large number of United States citizens who concur with him, and that number grows larger everyday with every usurpation and incursion suffered by We the People.

A short excerpt:

And . . . . again . . . . I seem to be but a couple of votes and a signature away from being an official “enemy of the state”.

I’ve done what I could – called my Senators, called my Representative, talked to my state Senator and Representative, supported the NRA and state groups, written articles, posted on my blog . . . . . simply one small part of those that support the 2nd Amendment’s God given right for all people . . . .

I have fought true enemies . . . . . I remember the fear, the sounds, the chaos . . . . I remember the basics – good or evil, right or wrong . . . . I remember what it is like to commit 100% in an instant to defeat evil.

There are millions that share my views, that share my commitment . . . . .

I pray the reason and good sense prevail in this debate . . . .

. . . . you do not want me as your enemy.

How else can it be said?  Well, here’s one way:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

When was the last time you read the Declaration of Independence?  I mean really read it?  I’ll bet it was a long time ago.  Please, take the time to re-read it and then ponder what it meant then and what it means now.  With only a few changes here and there in a document written well over two-hundred years ago one could easily apply this exact same document to the situation that we presently find ourselves in as a nation.

One thing is certain about the intent and understanding of our Founders: they knew that the basic human condition was one of depravity.  They knew that without a moral baseline and divine influence, it was inevitable that corruption and despotism would begin to rear their ugly heads.

Like Benjamin Franklin said in response to Dr. James Mchenry’s question:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Someday, maybe even in the relatively near future, people with certain beliefs may find themselves declared “enemies of the state”.  When this day comes, they would do well to remember that sometimes it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.

If we can keep it indeed.

Today’s acts of manliness: Keep the Republic

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