Guest Article By:
Tim Rivers, author of The American Gulag Chronicles
When we look around us at the economic and civil devolution happening in America, who is it that we imagine is coming to save us? Who is going to come charging the gates alone, rescue justice, heal the division, defend liberty, and restore the economy and prosperity; who will right the sinking ship of foreign state and restore security in the homeland? Is there any one person capable of all that? What of our own responsibilities to save ourselves and others if we can? Do we accept the growing division in our society or just pray that it will magically heal itself? Is this perhaps a sense of our desperation; this willingness to trust, to rely, that some other force or person will save us all from a calamity of our own apathetic devising?
I’ve tried to imagine what it was like to be that first true American in the mid-1700s. Faced with the enormity of resisting the greatest occupational military force on the planet, with little more than single-shot muskets, hand-forged blades, and naked bravery, what must it have felt like to be that first man to find the resolve to speak out, to resist? There must have been sure knowledge that at that moment, he was alone in that decision; whether there were others with similar feelings still was unknown. There was only your own personal resolve to carry you forward. Can you imagine the courage it must have taken, the sheer hope, to resist a gigantic tyranny of oppression and not bend a submissive knee to its abuses? What kind of human fortitude does it take to awaken that firm of a resolve; to go against what seems certain defeat, with only the fire of your anger, your faith, and commitment to hold that resolve firmly in place in the face of danger?
That’s a question I repeatedly ask myself as I watch the American dream I have cherished dissolve into the calamity of 2024; a floundering economy, avalanches of national debt, threats of a new viral tyranny, a multi-million person invasion of dangerous unknowns, an increasingly militant international stage and the naked persecution of those opposing these growing nightmares at home. Is it any wonder people wish for a superhero, a leader of heroic proportions to overcome the disasters blooming across so many fronts; someone to answer the nation’s prayers and supplications for deliverance from evil?
But harken back to that unknown colonial rebel for a moment..what faith of deliverance did he cling to as he debated his first blows for liberty? Perhaps it was belief in his role and his security as providence’s agent, an unshakable faith in an immortal soul’s purpose and ultimate indestructibility. Perhaps it was simple righteous anger at an injustice, or a genetic response to the nascent desire of all humans to be Free. Maybe it wasn’t hate for what he faced, but love for those that stood behind him. We can imagine it might have been one or even many of these things combined that could give a single man the courage and resolve to contend against giants. Such men often stand alone…at first.
But were it not for that one man, that first true American at heart, we, the people, would not have a land of freedom. Without his single unseen spark of courage there would be no “home of the brave.” In that momentous personal decision to resist, he helped to instigate the birth of the greatest nation on Earth. That one person, just one courageous person, has made such a huge difference to our lives and existences, still, hundreds of years later.
So what of us, now? There can be no denying that as a nation, we stand upon a brink. There is a righteous discontent, even a growing anger, at the visible injustices, the lack of decisive action, and the rot of corruption in high places. We are witness to the threats of encroaching tyranny and the looming losses of liberty for us and our posterity. We see the persecutions of those who were demanding a voice and hear their testimonies of Injustice. Are these outrages sufficient to create that moment of courage within each of us, to find that instinctual urge to resist the decline and growing evil in our society? Can we harness our discontent and outrage into bravery and be that one hopeful person whose singular act of resistance triggers a rebirth of similar spirit in others? If we seek salvation on Earth, we may imagine Providence’s hand guiding as we kneel in supplication, but ultimately it is through each person’s hard work and bravery that the changes that we pray for are to be realized. We may begin in supplication but we must rise to contend with evil ourselves if we wish to fulfill our prayers upon the earth.
In the end, this great nation is composed of individuals, each with that potential to invoke far-reaching change, as that first colonial rebel did. If each of us ceases to look for some Hero to save us, and realize that we are the Heroes we are searching for, we will once again unlock the power of that first American spirit of independence and defiance in the face of tyranny.
Each of us must be responsible stewards of the Liberty and Freedoms we have been bequeathed. Each of us must remember that without “me, the people,” there cannot be
“we, the people!”
Tim Rivers, author of The American Gulag Chronicles.