Lingamfelter: Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving Day. This is a time when many of us are focused on family and food. But we should not let the day pass without contemplating our many blessings, including our family and friends. In our case we have five wonderful grandchildren who are all a delight. They are, as we like to say, the dessert of life.

Personally, I am thankful that I was raised by a loving family who taught me life lessons that were important in shaping my character. I was blessed with superb educational opportunities that fortunately led to a fulfilling career in the military and later in the Virginia General Assembly. Now I have turned to writing professionally. It has been most enjoyable. I am thankful for all of this.

But chiefly, I am thankful that I live in a nation whose Founders sought to snatch freedom from the talons of tyranny. They risked their lives and fortunes, indeed—as they put it—their “sacred honor” to win a revolution. They then went about ordering that revolution by developing a Constitution—the supreme law of our land—that would enshrine our fundamental rights, limit government, institute the rule of law (not the rule of man) and make clear to generations to come our obligation to sustain that republic. We have much to thank them for.

But today, there are those who would destroy the republic our Founders crafted and left to our care. Their design is to impose on us their vision for a nation that is completely alien to that of our Founders. They do not regard government as the protector of freedom. They see government as a mechanism to seize our freedom so that they can dictate how we live, what we do, and how we think. The talons of tyranny have not receded. They are outstretched. The question for us is: what shall we do about it?

Most would agree that we must resist those who are content to denigrate our founding and teach our children that it was conceived in an evil fashion that continues to this day. They, like the Communist revolutions the 20th Century, seek to twist our history beyond recognition so that they can impose revisionist lies and propaganda to shame America into becoming that which it was never designed to be; a socialist nation where people are increasingly subservient to the government and dependent on it for every aspect of life. There would be little to be thankful for in such a tyrannical utopia.

We are not there, not yet anyway. There is time for us to gird ourselves for the fight ahead that will surely come. No longer can we afford to stand by and accept the fate that occurs to a frog slowly boiled until it realizes it is cooked. Those who would destroy our nation seek first to browbeat us into thinking their way about things. No more. Wokeism—the progressive disease of our age—has met the Quickening. America’s eyes have been opened. Now we must, from this day forward, fight the lies, the distortions, the twisted logic, and confiscatory nature of politicians and governments who would take our freedom and refashion it into oppression.

How do we resist? Nothing is more inspiring to me than Patrick Henry’s oration to the Virginia House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775. He drew from Joseph Addison’s 1712 play Cato, in which a character in Act Two states: “It is not now a time to talk of aught, but chains or conquest, liberty or death.” Henry’s oration captivated his fellow burgesses.

“Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Twelve years later Thomas Jefferson put it similarly in a letter to James Madison on January 30, 1787. Jefferson begins in Latin, declaring that he would “prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”

“Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil [tumult] is productive of good [liberty]. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the spirit of our Founders. Shall we sally forth?

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