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Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing columns on important issues for today.

Time for Nation to
"Choose Wisely"

June 24, 2013

During the Revolution, the Continental Congress found itself almost powerless to fund and support its military.  Often, shortages left the army lacking of essential supplies.  Troops suffered, sometimes deeply. Pay was either late or never delivered.  By May of 1782, Colonial Colonel Nicola suggested that General Washington should accept the role of King.  Washington responded with an flat out rejection.   

Washington’s response merely delayed the enviable.  Unrest among the officers continued.  On May 10, 1783, Washington and all his officers received a fiery message requesting attendance at an unauthorized meeting to discuss forcibly seeking redress “from a long-delinquent Congress.”  Washington immediately forbid the meeting, asking for a delay until May 15.  His original intention was to let his officers meet without his presence believing they would honestly work it out.  After a sleepless night, Washington concluded he needed to attend.  At the appointed time he entered the meeting and without a formal introduction, addressed his troops. There was dissension in the ranks and for a dreadful moment the interests of the army and its General seemed to be in competition!  Washington spoke from prepared remarks, after which some were swayed while others were not convinced. 

In what seems an afterthought, Washington pulled from his pocket a letter received from a Virginia Congressman who expressed deep sympathy for the army and pledged his help.  The graying General fumbled badly while trying to read. Again reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a pair of spectacles, something only those closest to him had ever seen him wear.  Fumbling to put them on he remarked, “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself growing blind.”  A few simple words from an honest man entirely changed the direction of a Nation.  Harden faces softened and soldiers wept.  All but one vowed their support.  Of this event, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The moderation and virtue of a single character have probably prevented this revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish.”

Even today, we stand at a turning point.  If we continue down our current financial path, one driven by flattering words, the enticements of perks, promises and power, we will be swallowed up and brought into the tyranny of taxation – one not dissimilar to those which our forefathers fought and gave their lives to oppose.  If we choose to follow the current course the loss will be grave.  We will be trading in our freedom and the rights to enjoy the fruits of our own labors, and be left with the imposed values, whims, and tyrannies of others.  Without sound leadership and being willing to be led by the spirit of truth and returning to a firm foundation of self-reliance, self-responsibility and self-accountability, we risk speaking of freedom as if it were a thing of the past.  Washington set the example.  Will we follow our past or will we be left only talking of the past?  The choice is ours. Choose, but choose wisely!

Until next week,

Mark, Bill and John