We’re coming to the end of a long battle…
…..which we all know will start up again in just a more few weeks. That’s the nature of this war, so get used to it.
But we’ll address that aspect in due course. Today I only want to pause and reflect on the soldiers who have been fighting this war. On both sides.
I’m a lover of military history. I enjoy reading historians as they narrate how this general or that general directed soldiers, armor, air cover, here and there, to fight, then win the battle. In my day it was Monty at El Alamein, Patton racing to relieve Bastogne, Ike plotting to send a million men ashore in Normandy. And what kid from my generation didn’t also know of Hannibal crossing the Alps, Wellington at Waterloo, Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord, Washington at Yorktown, Lee at Chancellorsville. Grade schoolers knew all those names then. Hell, Andy Jackson at New Orleans was even a No 1 hit song in 1959.
However, as a cautionary note about History, Macauley wrote in 1828:
History in its state of ideal perfection is a compound of poetry and philosophy. It represents general truths on the mind by a vivid representation of particular characters and incidents. But the two hostile elements of which it is composed have never been known to form a perfect amalgamation. We have good historical romances and good historical essays.
History as we have come to know it, rarely delves into the hearts of men to determine what propels them, other than mission, or what buoys them, or what secret supplications of the heart that sustain them when they are alone. We know who died, how many died, what territory was taken or lost, but not why the fight was fought, except in the broadest sense, such as slavery drove this war, while Liebensraum, bigotry, or ideology, or religious hatred drove that.
So what drives this one?
Few historians write about what drives the individual soldiers. Of course, there’s duty, loyalty, the flag, yes, even a primal sense of survival, which both the draftee in Vietnam and Tea Partier today’s fight find in common. This is why “real-time historians” such as the press cannot understand Tea Parties, or the rise of citizen-candidates and soon-to-be legislators. They cannot see that what drives our war today is virtually identical with what sent all those men to North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific in 1942. Same cause, same fears, same sense of survival. The modern media can only frame what we do inside a landscape that is at best incomplete, at worst, false and misleading, for after all, who wants people to know the true dimensions of this war.
History never delves into what moves entire volunteer armies, such as we are.
As I’ve watched our soldiers right here on RedState these past several months, it dawned on me that those generals in the history books were mere mortals as well. They planned their battles and fought them, 24/7, but still had to have found time to pause and reflect what it was all about…for in the end, that often determines the outcome. The best generals don’t always win…the better cause does. Ask Rommel.
We often forget this element, i.e., the sense of purpose. War on the ground rarely provides a time or a place to just kick back and take in that big picture. Still true leaders know they must make that time. Washington did, so did Lee, and surely Eisenhower. Even PFC’s, hunkered down in a foxhole in Italy, had to pause from time to time to get their bearings. Why am I here?…and not home? Are these people crazy? And then in some quiet moment, they realize, yes, by God, they are crazy, and they are trying to kill me. So, better here than back home, they figure…then they get back to shivering, or swearing at the lousy chow, or the leaky boots.
It’s no different here at RedState, when we pause and reflect to see that we’re doing does make sense, for yes, they really are trying to destroy us. We realize we have so very many things we are for (no one can say this better than Lady Penguin and Jaded by Politics this week) which we stand to lose if we don’t meet this Enemy this day…to first grab him by the tail, then hold on and kick, and hold on and kick, until it is finally finished once and for all.
Our soldiers write here every day, detailing crime after crime, dirty tricks, outrages, (for which there will be a reckoning, on my oath, I promise you) what has struck me most about this battle this year is how so many citizens get it. Really get it. You know, that big picture. I couldn’t be more proud, or more optimistic for the future, because we have begun showing ourselves as a nation who does indeed, once again, know how to pause and reflect. We’ve rediscovered our core.
Like our Founders, and other great leaders, not a few have prayed as well.
George S Patton, yes, the “goddammer” in chief in Europe, prayed on his knees. Ike, cold analyst that he was, said
“If prayer did not produce results, it would soon be weeded out of the human race. In those times it is not prayer which has failed, but we have failed to pray.”
Ike later inserted the “Under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And of course, even today, what can be more humbling than those images of Washington praying at Valley Forge, the Arnold Friberg painting the most popular today, my favorite the 1977 Christmas stamp.
Indeed, somewhere along the way in America people lost their way. Sad. We had Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Armistice (Veterans Day) and Thanksgiving, but most of us, the last thing we did on those days was to pause and reflect, and stop to give thanks, or drop to one knee alone in our forest and ask for guidance and support. Instead, we headed to the beach to throw a three-day bender on the boat, celebrating how many beers we could balance on our bellies. (True, UAW workers at Chrysler can do this on company time, but I digress.)
As Ike said, it was we who turned off the pray line, not God.
When you come to RedState you come for war news…but also, here, you get that rest of the story, the why of it all, the Big Picture.
I found most instructive in Lady Penguin and Jaded’s pieces (got anything to match this, Moulitsas?, got anybody who can wax poetic about Marx and social justice?) is the chord they touched with average American people.
But understand, it’s that chord that every preacher and every politician wishes he could find, looking out over a congregation. This is why we fight. Ike knew this, Washington knew this. That fetid and festering swill pot called the Democrat Party does not.
We are just soldiers. We have a battle to fight this day, but we have to pause and reflect from time to time, so don’t forget this. There is a vision of peace and freedom we naturally recognize that naturally drives us.
This is not an ordinary war, which is why our historians miss it. It’s too big, It’s too ancient.
I’ve spoken with a lot of our soldiers here at RS in the short year I’ve been here, and most had an epiphany of sorts in the past 4-6 years. They aren’t professional soldiers, all volunteers, yet they are taking on one of the most professional and well-financed political armies in the world.
But we are winning.
And we are winning because what began as a lonely, quiet frightened, humbling moment around the dinner table with husband, wife, best friend, two years ago led eventually to getting up from that table, stepping outside to see hundreds, then thousands more, just like themselves, moving irresistibly toward one fixed star.
Tuesday will be the largest mass protest in human history. It will also be the largest mass affirmation of faith in human history. Finally, after so many years in the wilderness, we have reached down within ourselves to finally see what is at stake here. And how we know truly is as simple as dropping to one knee in the woods. America has found its “L” spot (Love) once again.
The Spiritual Base of Conservatism has been awakened, unleashing an ancient repository of virtue. This is why they hate us. This is why they fear us. This is why they try to destroy us.
And standing opposite us is an Enemy that has been years ahead of us in cultivating and developing its “H” spot (Hate). The Spiritual Base of the Left, as we’ve seen in the hateful sneers of Democrats and the arrogance of Baraq Obama, is to tear it all down. Nothing more.
It’s no more complex than that, a battle that began before Time, and will continue til the end of it. We are all but soldiers…on one side or the other. Sorry, no middle of the roaders this time, children.
The Good News: When Good stands up to Evil, Evil Blinks.
That is a law written on the stars.