Many times in our history we’ve been confronted with what seemed like impossible odds.
In 1776 thirteen sparsely populated colonies clinging for life to the Atlantic seaboard surrounded by a forest that ran unbroken to the Mississippi dared to stand up to our imperial masters and say, “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.”
No foreign king, no Prime Minister and no Parliament had the right to dictate to our ancestors what taxes to pay or how much they should be. Even though England at the time was the dominant superpower, the undersupplied and overmatched Americans refused to admit defeat. We lost New York. We lost battle after battle retreating more than we advanced, yet the prize of freedom overcame the penalty of failure, and against all odds victory was won.
When the pirates of Tripoli sought to extort tribute from us as they did from every other nation that passed through their waters our people rose up with a cry of, “Millions for defense but not a cent for tribute!” Gathering our miniscule navy and our brave marines the United States fought our way into the port of the pirates while a land force fought its way through the desert eventually claiming what the great powers of the day did not: the right to pass unmolested and the right to trade in freedom.
A generation later in our second war with England, the War of 1812, we once again went toe-to-toe with the third largest army in the world and the largest navy the world had ever seen. The British defeated our attempt to invade Canada as they invaded our territory almost at will. Their armed forces ranged up and down our coast at will. They chased President Madison out of Washington and burned the White House. The only major battle we won was fought after the peace treaty was signed, yet we emerged bloody but vindicated. We had challenged the greatest empire in the world. We held our own winning new respect around the world.
Next, when the nations of Central and South America found the courage to rise up against their own colonial masters declaring their freedom with the hope of establishing free and independent republics modeled after the United States, President Monroe threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the world when he boldly presented his Doctrine. Though our navy was miniscule and our army almost none existent he relied upon the inherent strength of our people when he proclaimed the western hemisphere off limits to any power seeking to establish or re-establish colonies. We did not have the authority, we did not have the power, but we had the courage to say leave freedom alone so our neighbors could develop their own lands for themselves.
In the Civil War America tore itself apart. For four long years war raged killing more Americans than all our other wars put together. The powers of Europe believed the experiment in freedom was proving itself to be a failure. France moved to establish a sphere of influence in Mexico as the other great powers waited expectantly to pick up the pieces. As the war picked up momentum the emerging industrial might and burgeoning manpower of the new nation was pressed into service until by 1864 the Union Army was the largest and best equipped on earth and the Confederate Army was the second. Setting a pattern for all future wars the newest technology and the latest inventions such as railroads, iron-clad steam powered ships, telegraphs, repeating rifles, and machine guns first made their appearance in the American military. Against all odds we re-united our nation, sent France packing, and reaffirmed the Monroe Doctrine.
In World War One the two contending sides in Europe had bled each other dry on the fields of Flanders and fought to a stalemate. Then America sent our troops over there and didn’t bring them back until it was over, over there. In World War Two fascist dictators thought the Western democracies were decadent and ready to collapse with a good kick. And their plan seemed to be working until one of them made the mistake of kicking on our door, and we rose up like a giant from slumber and led the way in bringing their roofs down upon their heads.
As the Communist Colossus rose from the ashes of World War II to include Eastern Europe, and China America built NATO, held them at bay in Europe, and then stood almost alone to battle them as they tried to expand in Korea, Asia, and Central America. American blood and treasure was expended in torrents for five decades until the Soviet Union collapsed as a Christmas present to the world in 1991. Against the uncounted hordes of the East and the fellow travelers in our midst we persevered and gained the victory.
Time and again when the odds were against us we, the American people have risen to the challenge. Whenever we have confronted a problem we have found some way to succeed. When President Kennedy challenged us to go to the moon we did. When President Ragan challenged us to believe in ourselves again after the shame of Watergate, the forfeiture of our victory in Vietnam, and the Iran Hostage crisis we did.
Today we face financial collapse and overwhelming debt. Today our adversaries aren’t foreign dictators but our own elected officials who want to continue spending no matter what the voters say. Today the challenge is a system that doesn’t work, a Congress that is bought and paid for, and a Progressive Movement that has managed to organize itself into power at every level in every branch.
No matter what the problems, we’re the American people. We’re exceptional, and we can do it! It’s time for every good citizen to come to the aid of our nation. We must stand for the solution or we’ll fall before the problem. As a President who knew the way to grow an economy was to cut taxes once said, “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” We’ve got to pick up the burden before Atlas shrugs. If we’ll admit we have a problem we will find a solution. After all, we’re the American people. Immovable Object Meet the Irresistible Force.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens [email protected] Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.