Recently, I sent my mom a video link depicting an encounter between a policeman and a protester. My mother’s response was a natural one for a sweet, Christian woman in her seventies. ‘Isn’t this just scary? Where is it going to end?” She’s right, you know. It IS scary. And to those of us who have never witnessed or experienced personally an out-of-order policeman or been face to face with an angry protester, we also wonder, “where or when will it end?”
What is the answer to that question? Perhaps we must define “it” before the question has an answer. When my mother asked the question, I believe she meant that “it” is the fighting, the bickering, and the belligerent exchanges between people of differing views. She also meant the demands placed on ordinary people who must state their views publicly at rallies, tea parties, and protests, behavior that is the antipathy of their normal workday lives usually filled with work, family, and more “peaceful” activities.
Since the mortgage and banking meltdown last Fall, Americans have been overwhelmed by the activity in Washington, D.C. We witnessed an unpleasant election process, and then a new administration putting forward an expensive agenda. Alarmed by a complex, costly, and wasteful stimulus bill and an omnibus budget bill that also appeared deceptive and wasteful, Americans jammed Congressional phones and flooded legislative email accounts with demands for “No” votes and clearer explanations.
Since the Tax-day tea parties, angry and worried citizens have taken to the streets, appeared on television, started groups, written blogs, and created video channels on the Internet. Media outlets and our own elected representatives (including the President!) have mocked and repudiated the demonstrations by patriots who wish merely for a return to Constitutional faithfulness. I know many people who continue to participate in a variety of activities. They have jobs and families, and sometimes they get tired. Like me, I bet these friends and acquaintances get frustrated sometimes because it doesn’t feel like anyone is really listening.
That question asked by my mother..... I think I have an answer, given what I know about the people with whom I “organize and demonstrate” and how they all feel about this great country of ours. If we citizens are faithful to the original tenets of this country’s founding, and if we can continue to stand strong and steadfast against this overwhelming tide of radical ideas and rationales, then we are in this for the long haul. This may never end… perhaps this should never stop.
So, Mom, this is not going to end. Some days it may seem easier, and others will be more difficult. Our freedom is worth fighting for, and it will always be under assault. Even if we see just one small fissure in our foundational freedoms, we must stand up and state the case for liberty and individual rights. Not only must we stand up for these rights, but we must educate others. These are important lessons to impart, so our work will never be finished.