Lest we forget during this holiday season what the stakes were one Christmas that changed history

“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 commercial from 2011, but 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.

Paine concluded:

“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.

First posted in 2012.

Washington crossing the Delaware.

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Contrasting behavior today with this day in history

Washington at the Battle of Trenton

On this day in 1776 in freezing weather the Continental Army overwhelmed Hessian forces — still groggy from their Christmas imbibing — and captured the town Of Trenton, New Jersey.

The This Day in History website recounts:

Although the victory was minor from a strategic perspective, it bore tremendous significance for the future of the Continental Army. Washington needed a success before his solders’ enlistments expired on December 31 — without a dramatic upswing in morale, he was likely to lose the soldiers under his command and be unable to recruit new men to replace them. The victories at Trenton and a few days later at Princeton proved to the American public that their army was indeed capable of victory and worthy of support.

The image of ragged farm-boy Patriots defeating drunken foreign mercenaries has become ingrained in the American imagination. Then as now, Washington’s crossing and the Battle of Trenton were emblematic of the American Patriots’ surprising ability to overcome the tremendous odds they faced in challenging the wealthy and powerful British empire.

Today we celebrate the bravery of Mesquite theater goers who faced down the threat of having their iPhones hacked by a North Korean dictator in order to view a slapstick, l0w-brow comic movie, while million-dollar jet fighters bomb 13th century lunatics from 30,000 feet in the Middle East and our economic sanctions drive up the cost of bread in Moscow and our president unilaterally normalizes relations with a totalitarian regime in the Caribbean.

 

On this Presidents’ Day: A stark contrast

Obama spent Sunday golfing with Tiger Woods

Today, Feb. 18, Presidents’ Day, Barack Obama writes in the local newspaper about the need to create jobs and open manufacturing hubs, immigration reform and affordable higher education, the need to reduce the deficit and raise taxes on the rich, and:

“Finally, while all these steps are important, our first priority must be to protect our children and our communities from harm. Overwhelming majorities of Americans — Americans who believe in the Second Amendment — have come together around common-sense proposals like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. And these proposals deserve a vote in Congress.”

On Feb. 18, 1776, a future president, George Washington, wrote to the president of Congress from an encampment at Cambridge outside of Boston:

“True it is, and I cannot help acknowledging, that I have many disagreeable sensations on account of my situation; for, to have the eyes of the whole Continent fixed, with anxious expectation of hearing of some great event, and to be restrained in every military operation for want of the necessary means of carrying it on, is not very pleasing, especially as the means used to conceal my weakness, from the enemy, conceals it also from our friends, and adds to their wonder. I do not utter this by way of complaint. I am sensible that all that the Congress could do, they have done; and I should feel most powerfully the weight of conscious ingratitude, were I not to acknowledge this; but as we have accounts of the arrival of powder in Captain Mason, I would beg to have it sent on in the most expeditious manner, otherwise we not only lose all chance of the benefits resulting from the season, but of the Militia, which are brought in at a most enormous expense, upon a presumption that we should, long ere this, have been amply supplied with powder under the contracts entered into with the Committee of Congress. The Militia, contrary to an express requisition, are come, and coming in, without ammunition; to supply them alone with twenty-four rounds, which is less by three-fifths than the Regulars are served with, will take between fifty and sixty barrels of powder; and to complete the other troops, to the like quantity, will take near as much more, and leave in store not more than about sixty barrels, besides a few rounds of cannon-cartridges, ready filled, for use. This, sir, Congress may be assured is a true state of powder, and will, I hope, bear some testimony of my incapacity for action in such a way as may do any essential service.”