“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
— The Crisis by Thomas Paine, Dec. 23, 1776
George Washington and his tiny band of remaining soldiers did not shrink nor shirk. On Christmas, it was Victory or Death. (OK, it is a Newt Gingrich turn out the vote commercial from 2011, but the message still.)
How many today are giving up on the concept of liberty and letting the forces of overweening socialism change this nation forever into something the Founders did not intend, but rather feared and warned repeatedly against.
The stakes were life or death in 1776.
Today it is taxation without representation, again, as Congress critters head home after voting for a $1.4 trillion budget that will add still more red to the deficit that our grandchildren will inherit.
“Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.”
Lest we forget.
A version was first posted in 2012.