In the Shadow of Giants

Thave always thought and have always stated that at the time of the formation of the United States of America that the group of men who formed this nation and decided upon its laws, its Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the documents, credos and rules that would govern this country were the greatest concentration of intellect, compassion, insight, common sense, and courage that ever existed in one place, at one time. The only challenge to this might come from the great thinkers of the golden age of ancient Greece.

There seems to be a feeling in a lot of people today that this country has lost its will, its resolve, its strength, even its honor. Even among our own citizens, it has become very “in style” to criticize the United States for all of its foibles in spite of the fact that there is no question that can be argued that this country has provided more wealth, more opportunity, more safety, freedom and liberty in a quantity that has ever existed in all the history of mankind. And his country has done more to fight for those same ideals and rights and to bring them to others who are oppressed than almost all the other countries on earth combined. I am not sure that our younger generations even know that throughout our history we have shed more blood and sacrificed more of our greatest sacred treasure, our young men and women, in the righteous struggle to protect others in need again and again and again.

Flag 2This country was founded in a struggle to throw off the yoke of oppression. A bitter war fought just 240 years ago by farmers, shopkeepers and ordinary men who believed with all their hearts in the ideals of liberty and freedom and the inspiration of the men who led them. Few realize that the American war of independence went on for over 8 1/2 years of long arduous struggle against what was then, the mightiest empire on earth.

And if you look back only 155 years to the time of the Civil War, a bloody conflict fought basically for two fundamental reasons, to preserve the Union and to abolish slavery.  New figures point to the deaths of 750,000 Americans in a war pitting state against state, brother against brother, right against wrong. In a country whose total population was only 31 million, America sacrificed 2.4% of her population for the cause of freedom, liberty and justice. Freedom for those who were enslaved and liberty and justice for all of its people insuring the rights of all men, equal protection under the Law. Name any other country, ever that would pay that terrible cost inside of her own borders, to give freedom to her people. What does that say about the United States of America?

The list goes on and on: World War I, World War II, The Korean War, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Many times we have heard the call for help and have gone willingly to the places even where they love to hate us. Yet these same countries and cultures always seem to depend on us in their time of need. The same countries so quick to propagate to their population the vile propaganda of hate for the United States. Is that fair? I don’t think so.  But we have never considered what was fair to us but instead, what was right for all. Where next will we once again send our children into harm’s way to protect others in need?

And now today I see countries whose populations are fleeing by the hundreds of thousands to escape the danger and peril, the genocide brought about by the current crop of dictators, despots, tyrants and religious fanaticism.

I would pose this simple question. If a country were to attempt to invade the United States of America, would our people flee before such an invader by the hundreds of thousands to Canada or Mexico? My feeling, no, my conviction, is that we would not. We would not flee. We would stand and fight to our last breath for every square inch of ground of our precious homeland that so many before us have died to preserve.

And now we face the reality of our current situation. Where once we were strong we are now weak. Where once we stood with resolve, we now turn our heads and look the other way. Is this America? We have all witnessed the seemingly deliberate breakdown of our greatness and we have seen it dismantled bit by bit, piece by piece. We have watched our debt running rampant, strapping us financially and causing us to cut the budgets of the military and defense infrastructure, severely limiting our ability to project power to places where there are those who truly need our strength to say alive. Our word is no longer held in the high esteem it once was. It would seem that there has been a conscious effort by those now in power to, “put America in its place” as if she deserved to be punished for her greatness prosperity and her might. Our enemies no longer fear us. Our allies no longer respect us. How could this possibly be? Tyrants, rogue regimes and fanatical jihadists now march with impunity and having no fear of retribution or consequence, crossing borders and walking over the backs of the dead and dying in their wake. What has happened to our pride and our stature in the world? Were we not once known as the beacon of hope against the worst of all times? And what are the consequences ahead not only for us but for the safety and integrity of the entire world? A very wise man once told me, “Ernest you and all people of the world would much rather live in a place where there is a strong America than in a world where there is a weak America.” I fear that we are now entering that world.

I could look for an easy scapegoat to blame for this decline. I could pick a person or any number of persons to lay this wilted wreath at their feet. But as easy and convenient as that might be.  I do not. Instead, I blame myself. I blame you. I blame us. We get what we deserve, right? Wrong! We, the Americans that I know, do not deserve this. My family does not deserve this. My sons, my daughters, my grandchildren do not deserve this. In the often used words of Sir Edmund Burke, “All evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” We have allowed this “nothing” to happen and evil has indeed seized its chance. The United States and its noble citizens have never shrunk from adversity, the hardship of a dauntless task or an endeavor that others have thought impossible. Yet we have slept as the gears of apathy, misguidance, political correctness and the re-writing of history have ground on slowly and methodically while we have paused.

HenThe true power of our people comes from our people not from the so-called intellectual elite, professors in lofty institutions of learning, or even our self-endowed ruling class that resides in Washington. America is not what the media decries in its hyper-critical, self-loathing portrayal of a country and a way of life that they feel we should feel guilty for creating. America is not that. America is us, the 250 million out of the 300 million that still feel a great unwavering pride in our heritage. The 250 million that are still willing to fight for freedom and liberty. The small minority of apologists for the “evil American values” are not what this country is. They are the ones who deserve what they get. Not us. There are many millions who still believe with all their hearts in “American exceptionalism” and that we alone are the reason so many live in freedom upon this earth today.  I feel no guilt or shame in that. Nor should you. And even those who hate us from within should feel no shame or guilt for such a righteous heritage. Shame on them.

And now I speak for the true silent majority of Americans. We are not weak. We have not lost our resolve and our word is still our bond. True Americans know this. Our enemies need to fear us and our allies need to respect us. We can never lose sight of that or, “our America, this grand experiment,” as it was called by Abraham Lincoln will indeed perish from this earth. Or in the words of Ronald Reagan, “If there is no America then who will there be to stand against the forces of evil?”

And now I would like you to listen to the words of a man, a man of great courage and conviction, one of those giants who now casts still his long shadow down from our past to fall again with relevance upon the doorsteps of all true and proud Americans. I leave you to the words of Patrick Henry. Click below to listen.


Copyright Ernest Emerson 2016

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