“These are times that try men’s souls,” are words that ring as true in 2020 as they did in 1776. With these words, Thomas Paine, whose writing tipped the scale towards a revolution, was desperately working to inspire George Washington’s demoralized and defeated army. The following lifted those freezing troops at a critical time:
The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
Though not facing a war with the greatest military power on earth, the U.S. today is in a battle over the destiny of the home of the free and the land of the brave! Beleaguered by a pandemic and all of its ramifications, battered by political bantering of epic proportions and bombarded by messages inciting civil unrest and rioting, America is at a crossroads. And some politicians use this commotion to advance agendas that undermine our freedoms.
This year for example in the midst of this chaos, the senate voted on a bill that would have put government in control of large portions of the private sector. Included in that bill was a provision that government would provide “economic security for those unwilling to work.” Read that again, it did not say unable to work, it said, “unwilling.” Fortunately, the bill was soundly defeated in response to an uprising of disapproval from responsible citizens who contacted their Senators through peaceful means. This is just one example of politicians trying to buy votes with your tax dollars through un-constitutional plans that will eventually bankrupt the nation. Beware, this legislation, called the “Green New Deal,” was stealthily hidden behind a title suggesting that it would clean up our environment, something nearly everyone wants. More than ever however, we have to pause and look beyond catchy titles and slogans and into the details.
2020 has been filled with events that are causing freedom-loving people to rise up, take notice and look for ways to shift the course this country is taking. They are restless and seeking effective ways to protect and reclaim their God-given rights. They believe expanding individual opportunity, rather than giving the government more power to force outcomes of their choosing, is the safest path to maintaining freedom. When provoked, they hear the stirring words of Thomas Pain and won’t “shrink from the crisis” we now find ourselves in.
The first step to doing so is recognizing that our form of government still has the structure in place to peacefully change things. While we still have it, people have to rise up with the same commitment of the founding generation to strengthen our voice. Here’s the thing, America started the conflict with words and powerful ideas and ended that same way after their physical conflict to secure the blessings of liberty had ended. They initiated a massive Freedom Shift. It’s time to learn from their example and initiate another today. Sunshine patriots will check out and leave it to someone else, but he or she who reads on will help conquer in our current conflict (or learn how FreedomSHIFT is helping people like you take effective action in as little time as possible by clicking on our membership page now).
It’s not possible to point to a single event that stirred American hearts to revolt in 1776. After all, fuel was provided by the enjoyment of wider religious and economic freedom, opportunity for self government, powerful preaching and broader discussion of ideas on sound governments. Then there was the spark provided by the “Intolerable Acts” imposed on the colonies by Great Britain. The colonies reacted with boycotts and protests and then formed their own Continental Congress where delegates from thirteen colonies met to decide on responses to Great Britain’s growing tyranny. Now mix in a healthy dose of editorials across the colonies, such as Thomas Paine’s pamphlet “Common Sense” and the powerful oratory in legislative bodies from the likes of John Adams in Massachusetts to Patrick Henry in Virginia and a recipe for a storm of independence resulted.
Thomas Paine, a latecomer to the party, provided perhaps the biggest spark at the right time. His story captures the essence of the American dream then, and reminds us why we must protect it today. Paine was born in England and had his life laid out for him when he became an apprentice to a corset maker. History proves that Paine’s energy of intellect did not allow him to be comfortable in this trade nor in that of a grocer, schoolteacher, or tobacco vendor. While searching for a vocation, it was none other than Benjamin Franklin, who was in England attempting to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Great Britain and the colonies, who turned Paine towards the printing business and helped him secure a job as a magazine editor and writer in Philadelphia.
Paine arrived in America in November 1774, not as a revolutionary, but as an immigrant seeking the opportunity to work in the career of his choosing. In fact upon arriving in America he wrote, “I found it very hard to have the country set on fire…almost the moment I got into it.” He wasn’t interested in American independence, he just want a bit of opportunity. It took him less than one year however to relinquish his loyalty to his homeland. Tasting a bit of personal freedom and seeing what America could become, he became one of the most outspoken advocates for independence. In January of 1776 he published his pamphlet, “Common Sense” urging the colonists and the Continental Congress to officially declare independence. His emotional appeals stirred national sentiment into a tipping point for independence:
The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth…Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest…; I am clearly, positively, and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be [independent]; that every thing short of that is mere patchwork, that it can afford no lasting felicity, — that it is leaving the sword to our children, and shrinking back at a time, when, a little more, a little farther, would have rendered this continent the glory of the earth.
Within three months of its release, over 100,000 official copies were sold, making it by proportion of population one of the best selling works of all time.
America is in crisis today, freedom is on the line and we call on you to unite behind the cause of liberty. The circumstances are different, we aren’t asked to tread barefoot in the snow trailing footprints of blood to fight an enemy with guns and bullets, but we will have to stay alert, learn about the principles of freedom and demand the attention of our elected officials. It means we’ll have to get informed, take effective action and inspire others to do the same and FreedomSHIFT is committed to helping you do it. Think about it, Paine just wanted to improve his situation, work and provide for himself, he wasn’t looking for an impossible fight. If you are like him, you are reluctantly being dragged into this conflict for liberty today, but if it stirs your heart like it did his, then its time to act.
But, “America is too divided today”, I hear as an excuse to getting involved. “I don’t know what will fix our many problems we face,” many say. They conclude with “what can I do and where would I even start?” Remember Paine didn’t have all the answers and he certainly didn’t have the experience, but an idea burned in him. That idea burns in you and we have the benefit of something that has stood the test of time and rallied a culturally diverse and politically divided country through many storms. It is called the U.S. Constitution. In fact, two Yale scholars recently pointed this out, “For all its flaws, the United States is uniquely equipped to unite a diverse and divided society… but the key is constitutional patriotism. We have to remain united by and through the Constitution, regardless of our ideological disagreements (Chua & Rubenfeld, The Threat of Tribalism).” In other words, freedom rests on being loyal the principles found in the Constitution, first, before blindly following politician’s promises.
At FreedomSHIFT, we believe its time for another tipping point. We call upon patriots who are loyal to the Constitution to become a relentless voice for freedom in the halls of government. We have the experience influencing government as well as the vision and the platform to assist you in standing in defense of liberty. We need your help to grow this movement. The crisis is real, its time to do something now! It’s time for a FreedomSHIFT! Learn how at freedomshift.com’s membership page and pay the gift of freedom forward just like America’s founding generation did for us almost 250 years ago!